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Let’s Talk about Food

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 8:05 AM by Iowa Corn

Food is such a big part of our lives. We use it for health, for entertainment and sometimes to fill the void when we’re just plain ol’ bored. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself staring at an open fridge only to realize I’m not even hungry!)

We’re bombarded with information about food. Everywhere we turn, someone is telling us what we should and shouldn’t feed our kids. It’s all over Facebook, Twitter, newspapers, magazines, TV, you name it. It’s information overload!

One of my goals with this blog is to cut through the clutter and have real conversations with moms like me about food. As a farmer, I want to know what questions and concerns people have about the food we’re growing. The only way I’m going to figure that out is to ask – and to genuinely listen. Ultimately, I want all of us to feel good about what we’re putting on our kids’ plates each night.
I’m not a nutritionist or a food scientist, but I am a farmer and can share my perspective on that piece of the puzzle. For the rest, I’ll do my best to find trustworthy sources to get the answers we’re looking for.

Are Fresh Fruits and Veggies Better than Frozen?
brocolli-editedI had my first conversation like this by accident on the phone with my sister-in-law yesterday afternoon as she waited in the school pick up line. I didn’t call her to talk about food, but somehow it turned to that. We both love to cook and we’ve got little mouths to feed.

We talked about the nasty cold weather in Iowa that never seems to end and some of the fresh fruits and veggies in the grocery store aren’t looking so hot. The prices are a bit steep, too. Frozen fruits and veggies are an option, but they can sometimes be thrown in the category of “processed foods” and get a bad rap. We wondered: are frozen fruits and veggies as good as fresh ones?

Here’s what I found: A quick Google search yielded article after article quoting reputable registered dieticians saying frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious – and sometimes even more nutritious – than fresh ones. That makes sense given that most of these veggies are flash frozen within hours of being harvested. On the flip side, much of the fresh produce in the grocery stores during the winter months is harvested hundreds of miles away and then trucked to our local stores. As a result, it may have lost some of its nutritional benefits.

That’s an overly simplistic way of looking at it, but the end result is clear to me: frozen fruits and veggies (as long as they aren’t coated in cheese, syrups or other sauces) are just as good as fresh ones. That doesn’t mean I’ll pass up the opportunity to pick up some fresh produce at our local farmers markets and grocery stores during the summer months. But, when I look out my window and see endless drifts of snow, I won’t think twice about grabbing a bag of frozen broccoli from the freezer for dinner.

The best veggies in our house are the ones we’ll actually eat! None of us are huge vegetable fans (especially me). I have tried tons of recipes to dress them up without totally dousing them in butter or cheese sauce. Some of the recipes are better than others. Check out the blog in the coming days for one of my favorite recipes using – you guess it – frozen veggies!

Want More Information?
BestFoodFacts.org has some good information (including a video) on this topic. This is content from the Center for Food Integrity. Some of their members are food companies, but that doesn’t seem to bias the information they provide. I have found that most of their sources are third
party university-based experts, including dieticians and PhD’s.

My name is Julie and I am a farmer who lives in the suburbs and a CommonGround volunteer. I am the proud mom of 2 little balls of energy. After 10 years in the corporate world, I traded PowerPoint presentations and business meetings for soccer games and a consulting gig. I write about some of my favorite things: family, food and our farm.

Follow my blog: farmeatscitystreets.com

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