Save Money On Groceries: Go Frozen!

Save Money On Groceries: Go Frozen!

There’s no grocery store aisle I love more… than the frozen foods aisle.

No, really.

Only thing more beautiful than all those veggies... is all those cheap prices. *drool*

Not because of the TV dinners… or the biscuits… or the… whatevers. But because of the frozen veggies. I’m serious!

I’m not even talking brand name frozen veggies, either. I’m talking the private label stuff. Pick up those store brand Kroger veggies… or Publix veggies… or Albertson’s veggies… whatever, y’all.

A giant bag of fresh spinach? On this date, could run me upwards of $2.50. I can get a container of frozen spinach for $0.87 right now. I’d simply have to forego the spinach salads if my money was tight.

Fresh mushrooms? Cost me approximately $2.79 right now. Frozen? $1.29.

Brussel sprouts? (Yes, Brussel sprouts.) $2.89 fresh. Frozen? $1.49.

Need I go on? Seriously. I’ve already saved about $4 thus far… and y’all know I’m cheap.

My secret go-to dish is always a stir-fry… especially if I can buy a bag of “Japanese stir fry vegetables” with mushrooms, green beans and onions… and all I’ve got to do is make my sauce and add a little sesame oil. C’mon. That’s just too easy.

On the question of whether or not frozen veggies stack up:

…as winter approaches, fresh produce is limited—or expensive—in much of the country, which forces many of us to turn to canned or frozen options. While canned vegetables tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the preservation process (notable exceptions include tomatoes and pumpkin), frozen vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets, says Gene Lester, Ph.D., a plant physiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas. Why? Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most nutrient-packed.

While the first step of freezing vegetables—blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes—causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out, the subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state.

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce aisles around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Outward signs of ripening may still occur, but these vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine. In addition, during the long haul from farm to fork, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which degrade some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.

Bottom line: When vegetables are in-season, buy them fresh and ripe. “Off-season,” frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients.

[…] Eat them soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Finally, steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

For those of us in areas where there is no winter farmer’s market nearby, or no reasonable supply of winter vegetables on sale at inexpensive prices? This is absolutely the next best thing!

Other posts in the series:

By | 2017-06-10T11:24:05+00:00 June 23rd, 2014|The Recessionista|18 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.

18 Comments

  1. Curlytrini87 January 18, 2011 at 6:45 PM - Reply

    Ummm I was debating on buyind frozen veggies. For this whole year i wanted to eat fresh veggie and meat. I am taking your advice at heart and trying to eliminate processed food from my diet.

    I will try this.

  2. Sarah January 18, 2011 at 9:32 PM - Reply

    @Erika:

    Co-sign! As someone who is fighting high blood pressure and cholesterol, I need to be on a low-sodium diet. Buying frozen veggies has been a great way to get sodium-free corn, peas, beans, and other vegetables when I can’t find “no salt added” canned varieties (particularly with beans!).

  3. maria January 18, 2011 at 11:26 PM - Reply

    So true. I was about to purchase a bunch of fruit for a 6 day detox. I needed 9 cups of blueberries to last for the 6 days. thy were on sale for $2.99.. when I got to the frozen section they had a huge bag of 11 cups for $7.99. And here I was getting ready to spend $12.00 ..

  4. Hey Erika. I’ve been a “silent reader” of your blog for a little while now and I absolutely LOVE it! I actually just gave you a “Stylish Blogger” Award on my blog! Definitely don’t feel obligated to repost it if you don’t want to. I was just happy to link my readers to several blogs I think are great; yours being one of them! 🙂

    P.S. I am ALL about off-brand frozen veggies! My freezer looks exactly like that aisle in the picture above! Lol!

  5. Rita January 19, 2011 at 9:33 AM - Reply

    I live and prosper in the frozen foods aisle! I stay on that aisle more then anything else and have learned to buy the fresh veggies only when they’re in season. Its my main secret to eating clean. A bag of frozen a big stir fry veggies and some brown rice is 3 meals and it takes maybe 10 minutes to cook. Gotta love it! My new new has been frozen fruit cause I can make morning smoothies out of them. Omg don’t let Kroger or Publix have a sale…man you save so much money!

    People come over thinking I have no food cause I dont have a cabinet full of processed items but I always tell them check the freezer, I have enough frozen veggies to last a month! I have more food in my house then they have in theirs. Lol.

  6. Eva January 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM - Reply

    Frozen veggies are a lot better than canned. Canned veggies have too much salt in them for me.

  7. Amber January 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM - Reply

    Oh dear gosh how I miss living near a Kroger’s or a Publix! Everything is so much more expensive in NYC, but I’m still ride or die for the frozen veggie aisle! My fav thing to buy? Frozen bell pepper blends. For some odd reason, bell peppers are so expensive here ( even the green ones are at least 99 cents a pound). If it wasn’t for the frozen blend, I would never have the other colors of peppers.

    Frozen veggies rock!

    • Lisa July 9, 2011 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      This is in reply to Amber,
      I never thought to purchase frozen bell pepper blend. I buy everything else in frozen and alway buy bell peppers fresh and freeze them when I get home. While I am preparing them to frozen I complain again about the purchase price. I totally agree with you on the price of them fresh being high.

  8. R February 13, 2011 at 11:27 AM - Reply

    I really love your blog. Very well written. And I love how it’s not all just your opinion, but you use sources to back them up. You give great practical advice. Keep up the good work. You’re inspiring a lot of us.

  9. Shannon March 11, 2011 at 7:01 PM - Reply

    Lately frozen veggies is all I’ve been buying! IMO (in my opinion) you get more for your money without all the extra salt. Recently, I’ve also been buying frozen fruits for smoothies as well. I still buy fresh produce and have freezed some as well (bananas, mangoes, pineapples). Don’t have a Krogers close by, but I do have a Lowes food. Whenever they have a sale on frozen veggies I usually try to stock up!

  10. Dvalosesit July 8, 2011 at 5:33 PM - Reply

    This article is right on time. I buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and my grocery bill is so high. Now I will turn more to frozen to save some $$ and get more bang for my bucks…lol. I will be able to buy more too.

    Frozen will also curb waste, which I hate trying to be more green and environmentally conscious, because I won’t be throwing away fresh items that have gone bad because I did not use them in time.

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