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Don’t get me wrong – I love finding shortcuts for cooking, and that means I absolutely use frozen veggies in plenty of dishes. In fact, according to ABC, lots of vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness, which seals in a lot of the nutrients. However, it all depends on what veggies you’re perusing the frozen food aisle for. While some are healthy and cheap, others can impact the quality of your meal. Let’s take a look at a few veggies to try and buy fresh instead of frozen.

Broccoli

Frozen broccoli in a silver pan on the stovetop.
Flickr/Lizzardo

Broccoli is such a nutritious choice for a side or to incorporate into other dishes. It’s high in fiber and protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals. According to Healthline, “Broccoli’s isothiocyanates may improve many risk factors for disease and reduce your risk of cancer. What’s more, this vegetable may help lower cholesterol and boost eye health.”

However, buying frozen may not be the best choice. Sure, it’s quick and easy and saves time, but the texture ends up being mushy and not all that appetizing. If you want that nice snap and firm texture, you’ll need to buy fresh, not frozen!

Cauliflower

Close up of cauliflower florets.
Flicker/Word Ridden

Cauliflower has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. With so many cauliflower products like cauliflower tots, cauliflower pizza crust, and cauliflower rice, you’ve probably seen an explosion of frozen cauliflower options. Depending on what you’re using your cauliflower for, you might want to stick to the fresh stuff, even if it’s more of a hassle.

Like broccoli, the freezing and thawing process changes the texture. While broccoli ends up mushy, cauliflower tends to get rubbery. Even worse, sometimes the florets break down and crumble into little pieces. Your best bet is to buy fresh!

Carrots

Top down of serving dish with steamed baby carrots
Flickr/Kelly

A lot of the veggies on here come down to taste and texture, but with carrots, there’s a potential loss of nutrients during the freezing process.

According to Bicycling, scientists have observed that iron levels were lower in frozen carrots than they were in fresh ones. Iron is important because it carries oxygen to your muscles. The CHS Perspective reports that iron deficiency is all too common, especially in athletes and active people.

Brussels Sprouts

Bowl of chopped Brussels sprouts, lightly toasted
Flickr/Meal Makeover Moms

Sprouts are another veggie that’s all about texture. While buying frozen is best for steamed Brussels sprouts, I think we can all agree roasting or baking them is so much better! Unfortunately, there’s no real way to get that same seared texture from frozen sprouts.

If you must get frozen, make sure not to thaw them before cooking! Put them directly on the pan and use plenty of oil.

Pre-Diced Onions

Cutting board with half an onion in the background and a pile of diced onions in the middle.
Flickr/Evan Bench

Onions are definitely a pantry staple around my house. They are so good and add that little extra kick of flavor to pretty much any savory dish I’m making. That being said, I’ll only ever use the fresh stuff! Sure, buying frozen and/or pre-diced onions might be tempting to save a little time, but trust me, they won’t be the same.

Not only will the onions turn out rubbery, but they lose a lot of flavor during the freezing process. If you like tasty onions in your recipes, stick to the fresh stuff! Pro tip: to save time chopping, place your peeled onion in the food processor!

Want more grocery shopping tips? Check out this article on choosing the right meat!

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