Frozen vegetables and fruit and CKD

Spring has finally sprung and there is plenty of fresh in season vegetables and fruit available for us to enjoy. But, that is not always the case throughout the year. One question I often get as a renal dietitian is “are frozen vegetables and fruit healthy?”. Well, this post will give you the answer, and much more about frozen vegetables and fruits with CKD.

The answer is YES! Frozen vegetables and fruit are healthy. But keep on reading.

So here is why you shouldn’t skip the frozen aisle with CKD. Not only are these typically a great price, and in today’s market, we all are looking for ways to save money on food costs. But frozen vegetables and fruit last longer and are just as nutritious as fresh. The vegetables and fruit in the frozen aisle are often quite versatile so we can use them in many dishes.

Take broccoli for example, this is great roasted in the oven, added to stir frys, mixed in a pasta sauce, or just steamed and seasoned with your favourite herbs and spices. 

Most adults should be eating 1-2 cups of vegetables or fruit at each meal. But many are not doing this. Vegetables and fruit provide us with a lot of great nutrients, especially on a kidney diet. They give us fibre to help keep us full, but also help control our cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Vegetables and fruit also help to keep us regular, constipation is a major problem for those with CKD, and increasing your intake of vegetables or fruit can help. 

Fresh vegetables often have a shorter shelf life than their frozen counterparts. And truthfully, frozen options are often picked at their peak ripeness, so they can sometimes even be more flavourful depending on the season. 

When vegetables and fruit are in season like they are now, purchasing larger quantities to freeze at home can be a big money saver. Here are some tips for freezing your own vegetables and fruit.

  • Start with blanching (when you quickly cook vegetables in boiling water). This helps to keep bacteria and prevent the vegetables from breaking down. It also helps to brighten their colour when freezing. Check out this article for ways to prepare 16 different vegetables
  • When you are ready to freeze vegetables or fruit, place the washed and cut-up  vegetables or fruit on a large baking sheet and put it in the freezer until frozen. This way your vegetables stay in individual pieces. 

How do you use frozen vegetables and fruit?

Some of my favourite ways to use frozen vegetables and fruit are:

  • Soups
  • Stir frys
  • Fried rice
  • Smoothies
  • Muffins
  • Add to pasta dishes, tacos, pizza

Are you looking for nutrition support?

If you’re looking to feel empowered and supported with your nutrition needs, or looking to learn how to save money at the grocery store while preserving your kidney function, working with a dietitian can help you.

Want to work together? Connect with Emily here.

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

Published by Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN

Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She specializes in renal nutrition helping those with chronic kidney disease. Emily holds a Master's degree in Foods and Nutrition and is a co-chair of the Southern Ontario Canadian Association of Nephrology Dietitians.

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