We all know that veggies are good for us, but most of us don’t come close to the recommended 5 to 9 servings a day. And even those who love vegetables often don’t take the time to shop for and prepare fresh veggies daily.
Fortunately, heat-and-eat vegetables can be just as good as fresh – but many are loaded with sodium and sugar. In today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on the best & worst options when it come to ready-made veggies.
- Frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh since they’re frozen immediately after harvest.
- For maximum nutritional benefit, rotate veggies to get a variety of colors (e.g. leafy greens, carrots, red peppers), and keep in mind that corn & green beans are among the least nutritious veggies, with a lower content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Check ingredient list, sticking with just basics of vegetables, herbs, & spices when possible.
Steam-in-the-bag refrigerated or frozen vegetables, no sauce/seasoning
- e.g. Birds Eye Steamfresh Pure & Simple; Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
- No salt added, all-natural, just veggies and nothing more.
Frozen vegetables with seasoning, light butter sauce, or light garlic butter sauce
- e.g. Birds Eye Steamfresh Garlic Seasoned Cauliflower; Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Market Blend, Farmer’s Blend, Basil Vegetable Medley, etc.
- Moderate sodium content, fewer additives/preservatives, little/no added sugar
Canned vegetables, no salt added
- Some of the nutrients are lost (pulled out into the liquid that’s drained off of canned veggies), but for many, the convenience of canned vegetables at least means they’ll eat more veggies.
Frozen veggies made with rice, potato, or pasta blends
- Nearly always contain more white carbs than vegetables
Frozen veggies with cheese/cream/sugary sauces
- Higher in sodium; often contain corn starch, partially hydrogenated oils, & corn syrup solids
- High in sodium, lower nutritional value because nutrients are lost in the liquid that’s drained off.