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Healthy Bites: Tips for using frozen foods in the kitchen

By LAUREN VERSWEYVELD, Hy-Vee dietitian | Feb 28, 2013

MyPlate, the new food guidance system, recommends half of your plate be fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are budget-friendly, nutritious and can always be available in the freezer for meals and snacks. Below are some great ways to use frozen foods in the kitchen.

1. Keep a bag of your favorite frozen mixed vegetables on hand. Add to soups, stir-fries, pasta salads and more. Increase the nutritional value of your meal by adding vegetables.

2. Put frozen fruits such as mangoes, peaches or strawberries into food feeders and give to babies for a nutritious snack.

3. Keep a stock of steamer vegetables in the freezer. This is a convenient way to add veggies to your meals and the best part - no dishes to wash!

4. Look for frozen chicken breast when it goes on sale. Boil the chicken breasts and cut them into chunks. Refrigerate to use during the week or freeze until ready to use. Chicken breast can be added to soups, casseroles, fajitas, tacos or your favorite recipe.

5. Consider making your own frozen meals with leftovers. These are budget-friendly and nutritious meals down the road.

6. Frozen vegetables can be oven-roasted which adds a rich flavor to your dish. Check out the recipe below using frozen corn. Oven-roasted corn could also be added cold to salads or wraps.

7. Add more vegetables to the meal kits found in the frozen aisle. This is a convenient way to add more vegetables to your diet.

8. Keep MyPlate in mind when stocking your freezer. A plethora of fruits and vegetables on hand eliminates excuses.

9. Store extras of your favorite whole wheat or corn tortillas in the freezer to keep them fresh for last-minute meals.

10. Besides recommending frozen fruits and vegetables, your Hy-Vee dietitian also recommends the following frozen foods: seafood, whole grain breads and waffles, light ice cream and entrees with higher NuVal scores. NuVal is a nutritional scoring system which scores products on a scale of one to 100. The higher the score, the better the nutrition. Look for NuVal scores on shelf tags.

Roasted Corn Guacamole

Yields: up to 6 servings

All you need:

Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted

1 Tbsp.(s) olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. finely-chopped red onion

2 Tbsp. finely-chopped fresh cilantro

Juice and finely-grated zest from 1 lime

1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped

1 avocado, pitted and chopped

Salt and black pepper, to taste


All you do:

Roast the corn: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. (It may seem that you have left the corn in the oven for too long, but you want it to caramelize and get a little crunchy.) Remove the corn from the oven.

In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice and jalapeño pepper. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and black pepper.


This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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