Why the Freezer Aisle Is Your Breakfast Best Friend
We get it: You don't always have time to whip up a nutritious breakfast. Most days, in fact, if your breakfast doesn't have a grab-and-go appeal, you may (gasp!) skip it altogether. That's where the freezer aisle can come in handy. By making the right choices, you can find convenient and flavorful meals to kickstart your day. We've perused the aisles for you and selected the best breakfast choices.
Banish the notion that fresh fruit is more nutritious than frozen. "Frozen fruit has equal nutrition to fresh fruit, and could actually even be more nutritious sometimes," says Margie Saidel, RD, vice president of nutrition, culinary and sustainability for Chartwells K12 in New York. She explains that because fruit is frozen at peak ripeness, it retains its nutrient profile. Fresh fruit, on the other hand, when not in season or available in your area, can sometimes travel across state lines before it even reaches your grocery store. "That means there's more time between when it's being picked and when people are eating them, and the nutrients decline as they travel," she says. "If you choose frozen, you'll also find a larger variety no matter what's in season, so it gives you more options." Pop some frozen fruit into a smoothie - no need to add ice! - for an easy morning hit of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Waffles and Pancakes
But not just any, says Saidel. "Make sure they are whole grain versus refined carbohydrates," she says, and look for three to five grams of fiber. "The good thing about frozen foods is that you can see on the label what's in it, which helps you make healthy choices," she adds. Top your waffle or pancake with defrosted frozen fruit for an extra nutritional kick, and keep the syrup to a minimum for a lower-sugar breakfast.
Just like with fruit, frozen vegetables retain the nutrients oftentimes better than fresh, and it's super-cinchy to quickly add to an egg dish. One caveat to keep in mind with frozen veggies, though: "Just stick to those that don't have added sauce on them, because that adds unnecessary fat and sodium," says Saidel.
Breakfast Burritos and Sandwiches
There are a wide variety of prepared burritos and sandwiches out there. Many have far too many calories to be worthy of your attention, but there's no need to bypass this category altogether, says Saidel. A quick label check can help you winnow down the healthiest choices.
Chalk up another advantage to the freezer aisle: It has the ability to expand your cooking horizons. Take tofu, for example. "Many people might be afraid to cook something with tofu in it so they could try something that's frozen, because it's easy to prepare and not as intimidating, and it's much healthier for you than a meat-based protein," Saidel says. Add some to your morning egg dish instead of meat to give your breakfast an instant health makeover.