As you meander the aisles of the grocery store and head toward your last stop in the freezer section, you wonder if there’s anything you could be doing differently to be more efficient in what you’re buying and how you’re cooking with frozen food. The frozen food section contains thousands of items that scream convenience, but are they all really smart buys? Here’s a good guide that will keep you making smart freezer purchases.

Buy What’s Inconvenient

One of the biggest benefit to shopping the freezer section is finding items that will save you loads of time. A kale smoothie, for example, can be messy and time consuming. But why forgo the enormous health benefits in this delectable treat just because you don’t feel like chopping up a head of kale every time you’d like to have one? People have caught on to buying frozen fruit for this purpose, but sometimes we chalk it up to inconvenience when it comes to those high maintenance veggies. Why? If you have those items that have enormous health benefits but are a big pain, like kale, make a commitment to buy frozen; better frozen than not at all!

buy frozen food healthy

Buy What’s Not in Season

There’s nothing wrong with frozen fruits and veggies, but don’t ever skip a fresh veggie for a frozen one. Frozen vegetables are diced, bagged and frozen at the height of their ripeness. This means that most frozen produce is actually going to be relatively fresh when you cook it up. However, you absolutely cannot replace the taste of a never frozen fresh piece of produce. Take corn, for example: There’s nothing wrong with frozen corn in the dead of winter. It’ll taste pretty good. Compare that meal with freshly picked corn on the cob in the month of July? No question. Buy fresh when you can, but know frozen’s actually good when you can’t.

Buy In Bulk, But Don’t Waste Money

Here’s where most people get very confused when it comes to the freezer section: buying in bulk. Sales come up in the frozen food section and people stock pile items in their freezers that will go bad before they ever see the light of day. There is a generally accepted idea that the freezer preserves food magically for undisclosed periods of time. Depending on the type of food you’re freezing, however, the amount of time it stays “good” is usually a lot less than you might imagine. Bacon, for example, is only good for a month. Fish? Two months. Before you stock up on items to freeze, check out the rules of thumb for how long they’ll keep.

Don’t make poor decisions in the frozen food section. Learn the rules as far as freezing in bulk, continue to buy fresh food when you can, and turn your freezer into a storehouse for those dreaded high maintenance foods… you’ll be shopping the freezer section like a pro in no time!

Do you have any tips for buying frozen food?