The very best option for getting the most nutrient dense produce is to grow it yourself. With products like the JuicePlus Tower Garden, it’s much easier to have a garden in your apartment, condo, or townhome when it wasn’t an option before. Still, when growing your own produce is not feasible, there are three distinct ways to buy your produce; fresh, frozen, or canned. And though all three forms retain nutritive value some forms are more nutritionally dense than others. Let’s take a look.
Familiarizing yourself with what fruits 🍉 and veggies 🍠 are in season will help you pick nutrient dense produce at the grocery store. When produce is not in season locally, it is being shipped from another region, potentially overseas, which can take weeks. As soon as fruits and vegetables are picked (or harvested), they start to break down and lose nutrients.
Keeping produce refrigerated while in transit helps slow that process but often, fruits and veggies that have to be shipped are harvested prior to their peak ripeness so they won’t “go bad” before they get to the store.
Therefore, it’s wise to buy produce from local farmers markets. The produce will have been picked recently and still hold its nutritive value.
Frozen produce is picked at its peak ripeness and quickly frozen. This allows the fruits and veggies to retain their nutritive value for about a year. This is a great option for people who are on-the-go and may leave their homes for days at a time.
Having frozen options means you can stock up without worrying about the food spoiling. Having frozen fruit and veggies on hand is also great for quick smoothies – a no-brainer food prep option.
For frozen veggies, a small amount of nutrients is lost in the cleaning and blanching process but other than that, frozen is fresh and nutritious.
Canned fruits and veggies are picked at peak ripeness as well. However, for fruits, additional sugars, syrups, and artificial sweeteners may be added to the juice. If you’re buying canned fruit, pick fruit in its own natural juice without added sugar or artificial ingredients.
Canned veggies undergo additional heat from blanching. Additionally, salt 🧂 (listed as sodium) is added to preserve flavor and color. Check for low sodium canned options.
Ranked Best to Worst
None of the options are BAD because eating any fruits and vegetables at all compared to none is better. But when you have the option…
- The best option is to grow your own
- Buy fresh from local farmers markets
- Buy what’s in season from the grocery store
- Frozen is fresh and doesn’t need preservatives. Still, check labels to be sure.
- Canned is still nutritious but watch for and avoid additives when possible.