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Frozen or Canned vs. Fresh Produce


I've always thought that fresh fruit and vegetables were the way to go, but I miss having my favorite choices when they're not in season. How do frozen or canned fruits and vegetables compare to fresh produce?


Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables have similar nutrient content to fresh produce. In fact, sometimes they can even be more nutritious because nutrients in fresh produce can be lost during storage, shipment and as they sit on the produce stand; however, the nutrient content is maintained when produce is frozen or canned immediately after peak harvest. One key strategy is to always read the food label and avoid items that have added sugar, such as canned fruit packed in syrup. When possible, choose items that have been processed with the skin of the produce intact to maintain the fiber content.

Although canned and frozen fruit and vegetables are a convenient and practical way to up your intake, try to include some fresh produce as well. Expand your repertoire and enjoy the variety of in-season fruits and vegetables! To maximize the nutrient content of fresh produce, buy from local sources and don't buy more than you can use within a few days. Avoid produce that is bruised or wilted as nutrient loss has likely occurred. The United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with State resources, offers the following website to help you find local farms and produce markets in your area.

Whether frozen or fresh, increasing your dietary intake of fruits and vegetables is a smart choice.

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Our expert, Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in the areas of exercise science/physiology.  She also holds a second M.S. degree in Nutrition and is a licensed nutritionist and an ACSM certified health and fitness instructor.

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