Healthy Shopping Tips
Vegetables are just as healthy as fresh! That is the buzz that we have all read
about! They are picked ripe for the best taste and highest nutrient content,
flash frozen which seals in the nutrients, and then transported all over the
world, to those that long for the fresh taste of veggies out of season! Sounds
like a good substitution when fresh produce is out of season! If you are like
me, your freezer is full of these! The burning questions are:
- Where do they come from? Are they local or from all over the
world? Where in the world?
- Are they heavily laden with pesticides?
- Are they labeled organic?
- What kind of labeling is actually on the packaging?
Facts About Frozen Vegetables
- Since 2008, Country of Origin Labeling is required for red
meat, chicken, goat, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, peanuts, pecans,
macadamia nuts and ginseng! Food processors do not want us to know that our
tomatoes, peppers and other produce are imported from Mexico and Chile, or that
garlic and apples are coming from China. They have fought this law!
- The country of origin stamp gives you a way to buy foods that
are grown here, rather than imported.
- Our food can be coming from countries with less strict safety
standards, pesticide standards, labor standards, and water quality standards
than the US.
- 7% of the frozen fruits and vegetables sold in the US are
imported from China, which is our 4th largest foreign supplier.
Mexico, Canada, and Chile are the top 3!
- The US government only
inspects a small amount of imported food (1%). Many times meats with the USDA
stamp could have been produced overseas in plants that were not visited by the
USDA meat inspectors. I would assume that the stats are similar for other products,
although I could not find information on this!
- Frozen produce that are not organic could be coated with
pesticide residues, just like non-organic fresh produce. Freezing does not
miraculously get rid of pesticides, but we just throw those bags of veggies in
our carts with less thought!
- Trader Joe’s does not buy produce from China, but other
healthy markets do.
Healthy Shopping Tips for Frozen Vegetables
- Buy organic frozen produce for at least the dirty dozen!
- Make sure you look for the country of origin on each package.
It is usually on the back of the package and says “Product of USA” or “Product
- Avoid frozen veggies labeled “Product of China.”
- Purchase organic produce in season and freeze them yourself
for later in the year. (check out my Produce page, for a list of seasonal Produce) This might involve purchasing a large freezer, but the
health and taste benefits will be worth the cost!
- Learn the art of canning! It is making a huge comeback! It’s
awesome, because you can buy reusable glass canning jars that are free of the chemicals
in plastics too! Many people are afraid of canning, or feel it is too difficult.
It is actually fairly easy. Time consuming, but easy! A great standard book is
the “The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.” It has been around for years and
little has changed.
- Buy local fresh organic produce from your local farmer’s
market or CSA! You can talk to the farmer and learn their practices!
- Get rid of your grass in your yard, and plant a giant veggie garden! I am
pressuring the home-front for this one! Then eat fresh organic produce all
summer, and freeze, or can for the rest of the year! No worries as healthy foods are in your backyard!
can be a great lifestyle solution when fresh produce is out of season! Take
your time when making your product choices. Know your most pesticide laden
produce, look for the country of origin, buy local fresh organic produce when
possible, and learn to freeze and can it! All of these are healthy diet habits
that will enable you to fill your plate half full of veggies each day!