When most people think of March, they may think of St. Patrick’s Day, the beginning of Spring or even March Madness basketball. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I automatically think National Nutrition Month®! This month’s theme happens to be “Go Further with Food,” which ties in well to another March occasion, National Frozen Foods Month.
Now I don’t know about you, but frozen foods are a staple in my household. And honestly, they do help me go further with food. Let me explain. I keep my freezer packed with a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as its fresh counterparts. It is picked at its peak ripeness and quickly frozen to seal in maximum nutrition and flavor. With frozen fruits and vegetables on hand, I can get quick meals and snacks on the table in a hurry, not to mention affordably.
While I primarily use frozen fruit for making smoothies, my children like to top oatmeal with it, add it to their cereal and milk or even eat it as a cold treat in summer. Smoothies are a favorite breakfast or snack at my house. While you can generally find yogurt and milk as my smoothie base with whatever frozen fruits I have on hand, I’ve also been known to add cottage cheese to pump up the protein. Here are a few smoothie recipes to get you started:
Wild Blueberry Tropical Smoothie
Blues Buster Blueberry Peach Smoothie
I keep all kinds of frozen vegetables in my freezer like broccoli, spinach, lima beans, corn, peas, and carrots. I also like to look for fun mixes of our favorite vegetables. While the steamer bags are a quick and convenient option for a fast veggie side dish, I use frozen vegetables in many of my recipes. There are several time-saving options, too, like pre-chopped onions (I may never chop an onion again!), soup base mixes and mirepoix (mixture of onions, carrots, and celery). Soups are a household favorite, particularly the creamy variety that have a milk base or incorporate cheese or frozen ravioli. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Corn, Peas and Chicken Chowder
Chicken Sausage and Kale Ravioli Soup
Using frozen fruits and vegetables not only helps keep my food budget in check, but also helps me have more nutritious meals in a hurry. Therefore, I really can go further with food.
Ann Dunaway Teh is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She is passionate about menu planning and helping families eat better together through her website My Menu Pal. Ann’s philosophy on nutrition is “eat to nourish, energize and flourish.™” Ann loves to cook, work out with friends, spend time with her family and watch her two children play sports in Atlanta, GA.