Fresh, Frozen, Canned

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What foods do you buy fresh?  Frozen?  Canned?  This meal includes all three!


Canned corn and canned black beans stir-fried with fresh carrots and frozen spinach.  Topped with fresh tomatoes.  With a side of (super small, super cute) organic slow-cooked sweet potatoes.




Spinach (this is a new thing for us and a HUGE obsession now – frozen spinach is WAYYY better for stir-fries and smoothies than fresh)

Berries (for smoothies)

Brussel sprouts (because the frozen one taste better to me and the fresh ones are a pain in the rear to cut up)




Beans (usually – sometimes I get adventurous, though, and make them in the crock pot from dried beans)

Corn (occasionally I buy this frozen, too)

Artichokes (because the one time I tried to cook fresh artichokes, it was a serious disaster)




Everything else!


I’ve heard before that frozen can actually be healthier (i.e. more nutrient dense) than fresh, as frozen foods are prepared at the peak of their season, and they don’t lose nutrients while they sit on a truck, in the grocery store, or in your fridge the way that fresh veggies/fruits do.  But as this Real Simple article states, if you’re going to buy frozen veggies/fruits, the #1 thing to look for is SIMPLE.  100% natural – the only thing on the ingredient list. 


What do you buy fresh, frozen, and canned?



  • Ashley July 1, 2014, 2:57 pm

    I’m a dietitian, and when I tell people how to pick frozen veggies I always tell them to look for naked veggies 🙂 It’s memorable and usually gets a giggle out of them!

  • emily July 1, 2014, 3:01 pm

    Yep, as long as there is no added sugar or sodium, frozen fruits and veggies can be as healthy or healthier than their fresh counterparts. I always encourage my clients to embrace the frozen produce because they keep for longer (and don’t have to be thrown out if you get off plan and don’t use them immediately) and are so quick and easy to prepare.

  • Racheal @ Running with Racheal July 1, 2014, 3:02 pm

    I do a mix of all 3, but my new favorite thing to do is buy fresh spinach and stick in directly in the freezer. Then it crumbles perfectly for smoothies or scrambled eggs. For some reason I like it better than the store bought kind. It is also a really good trick if you have spinach that is going bad.


    • Elaine July 2, 2014, 9:59 am

      I just did that for some fresh spinach that was going bad and I loved it! I think that’s how I’m going to continue to store it from now on. I’m not a fan of store bought frozen spinach, it has a weird, kind of metallic taste to me. I buy frozen corn, but the rest of my veggies I tend to buy fresh.

  • Ali July 1, 2014, 3:11 pm

    I buy a variety of each too… I usually buy beans canned. I do worry about the BPA in the cans and how horrible everyone says that canned food is for you.

    • Bonnie July 1, 2014, 5:58 pm

      Certain brands of canned beans use a BPA free lining- Westbrae definitely is BPA free

  • Lyndsey July 1, 2014, 3:49 pm

    Hmm, favorite frozen veggies also come in a steamable bag. I am all over this trend. You can find many varieties with a one ingredient list (just the veggie!) that steam up in minutes. Love broccoli florets, cauliflower, and corn this way.

    Trader Joes has fresh brussels that come in a steamable bag as well! I just throw those bad boys in the microwave, wait for them to cool a bit and then cut in half and stir up with shallots and a bit if butter.

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles July 1, 2014, 4:14 pm

    I buy the canned beans, sometimes canned corn or frozen and always fresh produce but also, at the same time, keep the freezer stock with fresh vegetables as well which work in a moment’s notice.

  • Elise @ Expeditions of Elise July 1, 2014, 5:20 pm

    This is a great question!
    Canned: I buy canned beans often, but I occasionally buy them dried, so I guess that counts as fresh?
    -I LOVE Trader Joe’s frozen green beans. They are even better than the fresh ones you get in the grocery store, and I love that they keep them whole instead of the cut green beans you guy at the regular grocery store.
    -Fruit for smoothies
    -Coconut (like the kind that makes a delicious coconut cake!)
    -I don’t like to buy corn unless its fresh in the summertime. It’s just not as good to me otherwise! Same goes for tomatoes when I plan to eat them raw.
    -Fruit for snacking. I like to buy with the seasons.

  • Laura @ She Eats Well July 1, 2014, 5:36 pm

    I too buy frozen mixed berries, blueberries, and spinach – all for smoothies. Everything else I buy fresh though, but it can get pricey. And, in the Summer when there are so many great fruits out, I tend to freeze them (like nectarines) to add into smoothies in a different season!

  • Tory @ tory of my life July 1, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Heck yeah frozen veggies! So convenient and you never have to worry about them going bad! (unless they get pushed to the back and get freezer burnt). I’m all about canned beans, and also have a weird obsession with canned green beans; I think they remind me of my childhood. Canned corn and peas on the other hand make me gag.
    Many of my patients have very limited incomes, so I always push frozen and canned veggies. Pouring canned veggies in a strainer and rinsing them off actually removes a large amount of the salt, so I always encourage that as well.

  • Bonnie July 1, 2014, 5:55 pm

    Just a thought- the idea of using smoothies as a vehicle to get more veggies in your diet is so that you get the raw nutrition of the vegetables. The vitamix has operates at such a high speed that the vitamins don’t get denatured and at the same time, increases the absorption by increasing the surface area. (I.E. people don’t chew as well as a vitamix) Frozen spinach is cooked beforehand, so while it’s still good for you, it’ll have less vitamins than the fresh stuff. Basically, if you use all raw or uncooked ingredients in your smoothies, you’re likely getting a bigger vitamin boost than if you use precooked. (note: not including things like frozen berries, which are just washed before they’re flash frozen)

    • Bonnie July 1, 2014, 6:05 pm

      Also, fresh artichokes! They’re amazing but scary if you don’t know what you’re doing/looking for. Here’s a video:

      They’re great dipped in melted butter 🙂

  • Amelia @i_heart_kale July 1, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Those are some cutie sweet potatoes. My TJ’s had a huge bag of organic sweet potatoes this week with all super tiny potatoes. Probably about a dozen in the bag!
    It really depends on the type of produce whether I like fresh, canned, or frozen. For the most part we purchase fresh and frozen. I typically buy everything in season fresh, then things like frozen broccoli/ cauliflower/ spinach/ fruits for smoothies. Frozen organic spinach at TJs= SUPER cheap for smoothies!

  • Robin July 1, 2014, 6:34 pm

    I’m with you on all of them.

  • Robin July 1, 2014, 6:35 pm

    I’m with you on all of them. I also love peas, and I love them canned, fresh and frozen.

  • Sarah July 1, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Fresh – all the things in season!
    Frozen – peas, edemame, green beans, occasionally corn
    Canned – pretty much just tomatoes, I do keep some beans on hand but boiling them is so easy, it’s cheaper and I think it tastes monumentally better than canned (and I don’t have to worry about BPA)

  • Runner Girl Eats July 1, 2014, 9:24 pm

    Fresh or frozen is definitely the way to go nutrient wise. I think the only thing I buy in a can is the occasional bean or tomato for pasta sauce.

  • lynne July 2, 2014, 7:34 am

    I would love to know exactly what you do with your frozen spinach! Do you break off a chunk and thaw it, then use it? I find it harder to prepare than fresh since you have to thaw it and squeeze it out. If you thaw the whole block out does it keep in the fridge? Doesn’t it get soggy?

    The only thing I consistently buy frozen are peas, everything else I prefer fresh and even better when it comes from the farmer’s market!

    • Caitlin July 2, 2014, 8:28 am

      The type I buy is a loose bag so it’s already in smaller bites. Someone else in the comments section said they have a familiar result from just freezing raw bags of spinach, but I’ve never tried that.

  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas July 2, 2014, 8:24 am

    I had no idea you could buy frozen brusell sprouts, will have to give those a try! I buy frozen berries for my smoothies and frozen corn/peas to ice my ankles/knees. I do buy meat in bulk or when it’s on sale and freeze it myself at home. I was super pumped to see whole organic roasting chickens on sale at HT last week, I bought all they had left. I don’t think I buy anything else frozen on a consistent basis. It’s mostly fresh or canned (beans, corn, tomato sauces, etc.).

  • Reenie July 2, 2014, 12:31 pm

    The majority of the time fresh. Some things frozen. Very rarely do I use canned food.

  • Kellie July 2, 2014, 2:10 pm

    How are you prepping your frozen spinach for your smoothies & meals?

    • Caitlin July 2, 2014, 5:07 pm

      It’s in a bag. I just toss it in all frozen!

  • Lori July 2, 2014, 3:00 pm

    I gotta disagree on the frozen Brussels sprouts! A co-worker just gave me some because she bought them thinking she grabbed broccoli. I thought they were horrible! I don’t like most frozen veg though. It always seems water logged to me; I don’t like the texture.
    Frozen – only peas, edamame, and the occasional bag of fruit
    Canned – only beans, tomatoes, black eyed peas, and very rarely, corn
    Fresh – everything (except peas, black eyed peas, and the like)
    I need to get back into cooking my own beans and freezing in portions. Scared of BPA but block it out of my mind. Yikes

  • Allie July 11, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Just a side note, Birds Eye sells frozen artichok hearts! I always get ’em at Publix.

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