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HealthWatch: Fresh vs Frozen

winter vegetablesBy Susan Hendricks

(CNN) — Spring is here and fresh produce is now available at local farmer’s markets, but, as nutritionists will tell you, healthy veggies can also be found in your freezer or cupboard shelves all year long.

Veggies and fruits picked at their peak of freshness and flavor is a great way to enjoy your produce. Overall, vegetables fresh from the farm and just picked are healthiest, but sometimes they sit on grocer’s shelves. Dietitians say, if you can’t get to a farmer’s market, you may want to look at your frozen food or canned section.

“Research shows that fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are nutritionally equivalent because of their time of harvest and processing,” explains Marie Spano, a registered dietitian.

Frozen and canned vegetables are good for you, too, because most are packed right after picking, which means they are full of nutrients.

“Vegetables picked at their peak time of ripeness retain more of their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” says Spano.

Salt is something to be wary of, especially in canned veggies, so try to purchase those without salt. It’s also important to know the best way to prepare vegetables; don’t over boil them, no matter what form they are in.

“You want to cook vegetables in as little water as possible,” says Sprano, “so, microwaving, steaming, and stir frying are some of your best cooking methods.”