When it comes to frozen baby food or frozen food in general, convenience might be the first thing you think of. It shouldn’t be! Flash-frozen superfoods are as good or better for your body than the fruits and vegetables in the produce section of your grocery store. Organic and sustainable foods that have been flash-frozen have some interesting advantages for both you and your baby’s health.
WHAT IS FLASH FROZEN?
“Flash-freezing is a 100% natural way of preserving food,” says Steve Kontz, Supply Chain Manager at Raised Real. “With flash freezing, our produce is frozen quickly at an extremely low temperature with cold, circulating air, usually within the first few hours of harvesting.”
And no, your freezer at home cannot flash-freeze foods- it’s only designed to keep frozen foods cold. “The cool thing about this method,” Kelsey says, “is that you’re locking in the freshness and the nutrition.”
Of course, not all frozen foods are created equal. Flash-frozen superfoods are generally the best option to look for in the frozen aisle.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF FEEDING YOUR BABY FLASH-FROZEN FOOD?
The most salient “feature” of the flash-freezing method is that it keeps baby food fresh without unwanted preservatives. But that’s not all. A fruit or veggie is at its optimal nutrient level as soon as it is picked. Flash-freezing locks in its peak nutrition before it’s lost. “Fruit that is in the grocery store is picked before it’s ready, ripens on the shelf and can be months old,” explains Kelsey. Fresh apples can be 6-12 months old, lettuce 28 days old, bananas 14 days old, and carrots 7-9 months old. Baby food jars or pouches can even be years old!
The main takeaway? With flash-frozen foods, you get convenience and optimal nutritional benefits with no added chemicals or preservatives.
WHAT FROZEN FOODS ARE BEST FOR MY BABY AND HOW DO I PREPARE THEM?
Nutritionists recommend looking for flash-frozen veggies that are high in iron (good for your baby’s brain development), like spinach and broccoli. Fruits high in potassium (good for your baby’s heart function), such as bananas, are also good to have in your freezer. Chickpeas and navy beans are great sources of plant-based protein (good for your baby’s bone development).
Flash-frozen foods are generally easy to prepare. The best way to feed frozen fruits and veggies to your baby is to mix them with healthy fats, spices, and oils for a balanced diet. For example, you can add turmeric into a meal of fruits and veggies for anti-inflammatory properties.
Like with any fresh produce, especially with leafy greens, make sure to steam your frozen produce and reach 165F for safety purposes. You can also heat up frozen baby food in a microwavable safe dish.
For food safety reasons, do not refreeze frozen baby food after it has been cooked.
FLASH-FROZEN = LESS FOOD WASTE AND BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Another great advantage of frozen foods is that they can often last in your freezer for a long time. That means less wasted ingredients being thrown out because they spoiled before you could eat them. Let’s hear it for frozen!