9 Healthy Desserts for Thanksgiving with Frozen Food

thanksgiving healthy desserts

 

Blueberries

Research from South Dakota State University suggests that frozen blueberries offer a bigger dose of powerful antioxidants than fresh, known to prevent heart disease and cancer. Frozen blueberries are certainly less likely to spoil. You can enjoy their powerful health benefits adding frozen berries to cereal, oatmeal, muffins, pies or pancakes. They are a healthy addition to your diet, especially unsweetened versions. However, the best is to freeze blueberries yourself.

A cup of unsweetened frozen blueberries, weighing 155 g, contains just 79 calories per cup and 1 g of fat. The cup provides  more than 30 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin K, 6 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 5 percent for vitamin B6 and 11 percent for the trace mineral manganese. A serving also provides 2 percent of the RDA for iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Remember: blueberries are on the dirty dozen list of food that tends to show the highest pesticide residues.

Check out these amazing blueberry recipes on Pinterest.

 

Pomegranate

One cup of pomegranate seeds contains 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, vitamin C (30% of the RDA), vitamin K (36% of the RDA) and potassium (12% of the RDA). Seeds are very sweet, with 2 grams of sugar in one cup. One of the substances that are responsible for pomegranate’s health benefits is punicalagins, powerful antioxidants found in the juice and the peel.

Remember: pomegranate juice can be frozen for over six months without the worry of getting bad.

You can add frozen pomegranate seed to oatmeal, nonfat Greek yogurt or sprinkle on salads for lunch or dinner. Try this delicious frozen pomegranate and cashew cake and frozen greek yogurt bark with dark chocolate and pomegranate.

 

Raspberries

Raspberries are low in sugar (fructose) and a good source of vitamin C. Like all berries, raspberries are packed with antioxidants, thus great for the immune system. They are a rich source of flavonoid and phenolic compounds, and an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber (32% of RDA of 25 grams).

You can eat frozen raspberries in all kinds of ways—added to hot or cold cereal, stirred into yogurt, or scattered over salad. They are excellent for smoothies, and because they contain less water than fresh, they are a great choice for baked goods – think: pancakes and delicious muffins.

Try this frozen berries with hot chocolate!

 

Mango

A cup of frozen mangoes can provide 60 mg of vitamin C, which is 80 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 67 percent for men. The fruit is also rich in vitamin A (approximately 60 percent of the recommended daily intake) and B6, and provide healthy natural sugars. boost your intake of beneficial dietary fiber. A cup of frozen mango contains 183 micrograms of copper or approximately one-fifth of the daily copper requirements and 277 milligrams of potassium.

You can freeze mango either entirely or in the form of chopped up pieces.

Try this no bake mango cheesecake!

 

Peaches

Adding peaches to our smoothie can bring back the memories of summer.  A cup of frozen peaches has 60 calories and 13 grams of sugar, but provide 17 percent of RDA of vitamin C.  Peaches are great for skin protection and wrinkles. It’s interesting to remember that peaches contain 10 different vitamins. Besides vitamin C, a large peach can provide 570 international units of vitamin A, lower levels of vitamin K and E, and thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Peaches contain a certain amount of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and calcium. So when you think about peaches, think about heart and eye health.

Try this peach pie!

 

Pineapple

Pineapples are packed with vitamin C and provide a great source of enzyme bromelain, that helps with digestion. A cup of frozen pineapple contains 40 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, 10 percent for thiamin, 8 percent for vitamin B6, 6 percent for magnesium and 4 percent for folate, iron, riboflavin and niacin, 2  grams of fiber. Pineapple is fat-free and contains only 80 calories.

Oftentimes frozen pineapple is preferable to fresh, because fresh pineapples may not be picked at their peak.

Try this frozen chocolate dipped pineapple pops!

Cherries

Cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep cycle and improve sleep. If you don’t like bananas, you can get your daily dose of potassium if you include cherries in your diet. A cup of frozen cherries contains 27 percent RDA of vitamin A and 2 grams of fiber. Moreover, frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their nutritional value.

A growing body of research links cherries’ red color to heart health and to reducing inflammation, belly fat and total cholesterol.

Try this frozen cherries with white chocolate!
dessert with cherries for thanksgiving

 

How to freeze food at home?

The best frozen food is food with high amounts of fat-soluble nutrients: vitamin A, carotenoids, and vitamin E. These nutrients are stable during food processing and blanching and freezing. You can freeze food high in vitamins B and C, however, as these vitamins are water-soluble, they are usually dissolved in water, so it’s best to eat them fresh.

All you need to know about freezing fruits and vegetables is available at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. You will find detailed information about blanching, food containers, packaging and labeling, food that do not freeze well, and more.

The most important thing to learn is how to store frozen food properly, because although you can freeze perishable food to preserve their  nutritional value and flavor, the food does not stay fresh forever. When you store it properly, the food can remain fresh for no more than six months.

 

How can you choose the right frozen produce?

The best is to follow the same rules you apply when shopping for fresh produce.

Read the label.  Although most frozen produce are salt- and sugar-free, it’s still important to read the labels. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be packed with unnecessary added sugars and sodium, so check a package’s Nutrition Facts Panel and read the ingredient lists for unsuspecting ingredients.

“Fresh frozen” and “frozen fresh” are terms you should look for on the package. It is used for foods that are quickly frozen while fresh, where blanching is allowed. “Quickly frozen” usually means that  the food is frozen via a system such as blast-freezing.

Look for organic. Another important thing when choosing frozen food is to look for organic food, which is pesticide-free. Most supermarkets carry a variety of frozen produce, but the best is to choose organic over conventional.

The truth is that frozen fruits are convenient; the food is pre-washed and often pre-chopped, and cheaper. Most of all, they are no different in nutritional value to their fresh counterparts.

You can also be very creative with frozen produce! Besides smoothies, you can enjoy them in desserts and cakes.

 

What’s your favorite dessert with frozen fruits?

 

References:
Lohachoompol V, Srzednicki G, Craske J. The Change of Total Anthocyanins in Blueberries and Their Antioxidant Effect After Drying and Freezing.
Nursal B, Yucecan S. Vitamin C losses in some frozen vegetables due to various cooking methods.
Severi S, Bedogni G, Manzieri AM, et al. Effects of cooking and storage methods on the micronutrient content of foods.