Usually on holidays I try to focus on having fun with my family and not to think about the house workload… but also continue to prepare meals that are as healthy as possible for the developing bodies of the little ones and supporting the health for the big ones!
In Greece we now have ready to cook frozen foods – they have been arriving over the last ten years. I don’t mean the ones you pop in the microwave, but healthy choices of meals, ready for real cooking.
For example, there are frozen mixes of veggies – ‘ladera’. You heat the olive oil, ‘tsigarizeis’ the mixture, add water and cook in low heat. How easy is that? Is it as healthy as fresh? Should you be mindful about something in this meal? Actually, one of my colleagues, who was working in the research department of a big well-known company that makes these kinds of frozen meals, addressed these issues. How healthy are be? What about vitamins which are sensitive to temperature, like vitamin C?
Apparently – in simple terms – if you keep the veggies and fruits that you buy fresh too many days in your refrigerator, some vitamins, like C, ‘disappear’, to the degree or more, as with frozen ones. So, if you happen to have extra veggies or fruits in your refrigerator, cut them into pieces and freeze them. But use them in a timely fashion – don’t’ keep them too long in the fridge. You can add them directly to your meals and smoothies anytime. No food – and money – waste from now on!
But being on the lookout for quality and reading labels of these items is of the highest importance.
Investing in a more expensive choice, with more certifications, has an impact on the taste and nutritional experience. Also, it is important to purchase locally produced produce. The bigger the food chain is, the more mistakes can happen. If your product traveled from far way, and has to be kept in a deep freeze, that is not so easy, but this impacts the quality also.
So, do not be afraid to use frozen items, just read the packaging carefully for more info. Additional salt, saturated fats, preservatives, and other substances are a big ‘no no’ if you want to choose something healthy and cook it on your terms. Do not forget to add a pinch of your herb mix of choice, although that is a matter of personal taste! My closing message is: Enjoy!
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.