mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

shut up and eat your frozen broccoli!

A while back, I was watching Food Inc with a couple friends (as you can tell, we're a wild bunch). At one point, a guy is lamenting that he can get a pound of cheap beef for $1, but not a pound of fresh broccoli. To which I reply, "you can get a pound of frozen broccoli for $1".

That might not be quite accurate - I think the last time I checked, broccoli was $1.19 for a 1-pound frozen package at my local Weis (or as I refer to it, the We Iz).

So I was glad to see that Megan McCardle has a post praising frozen veggies. They seem to be the redheaded stepchild of the food debate - an inexpensive, healthy, easily accessible, easily prepared way for people to eat more veggies without the issues (cost, availability, preparation time, spoilage) that discourage people from eating more fresh vegetables. I personally try to keep a couple bags in the freezer, so I can make sure I add a vegetable to my usual meat/starch meals - it adds a lot of bulk and some useful vitamins and fiber without adding much in the way of calories. And it costs me about 50 cents for half a bag, which is about 2 or 3 servings.

Yes, frozen veggies don't have the snob appeal of fresh, or the romance or ability to say that you are eating local - although if you are one of those people who insist on organic, you can usually find some frozen organic veggies, especially at specialty stores like Trader Joe's. But they are just as healthy, and certainly better than not eating a vegetable. But they don't fit into the meme of big food forcing horribly unhealthy food down your throat, so they get overlooked.

Some will argue that fresh veggies taste better, and I suppose that's true sometimes - but that's letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. For people who don't eat any/enough veggies, frozen is a better alternative than none.

And while we're on the subject (and as many of Megan's commenters point out), can we stop acting like all frozen food is bad/evil/unhealthy? Sure, there is plenty of bad stuff out there, but frozen food has come a long way, and it's possible to buy stuff that's pretty tasty, not all that bad for you, and still easy to prepare. Those of us with lives/hobbies don't have a whole lot of time to cook, so frozen foods are a Godsend. I'm partial to a number of things from Trader Joe's, like their orange chicken. I'm also a fan of things like low fat chicken tenders, precooked grilled chicken breast strips (great on salad), and frozen precooked or uncooked chicken breasts - they are easy, fast, cheaper than takeout, and range between healthy and not awful health-wise.

I typically go to the gym after work, and often don't get home until after 8pm, so the last thing I want to do is cook an involved meal. So I for one salute our frozen-food-creating overlords, and raise a bowl of frozen broccoli to them.


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