Nutritional Value of Frozen Food (Cooked at Home)

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by shawtycat, May 17, 2002.

  1. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Okay,

    I've been trying to wrap my brain around this and am not sure if I have all my facts right.

    1. Unless I buy my produce from the Farmer's Market or pick it directly from my garden, my produce may not have much/or the same nutritional value as produce that has not been forced ripe or gassed. Correct?

    2. Now those frozen veggies in the Frozen Foods Aisle of the supermarket may have more of a nutritional value than those found in the Produce Aisle of the supermarket because they have been blanched/flash frozen to preserve the nutrients. Also correct?

    3. The frozen meals now, that are also located in the Frozen Foods Aisle of the supermarket are filled with preservatives and food colorings and do not pose much in the way of being a nutritious meal after reheating. Right?

    4. Fresh cooked meals that have been frozen lose some of their nutritional value. True?

    So, if I cook meals with the less nutritious supermarket produce and freeze it for later, wouldn't the nutritional value for that meal be on the same level of the Frozen Meals (minus the preservatives and food colorings of course)? Would it make a difference if I cooked with fresh produce from the Farmer's Market or garden? I am beginning to wonder why don't I just keep planning a weekly menu for my household, buying only fresh produce from the Farmer's Market, those ingredients I need plus any other necessities we may need and ONLY cook fresh.

    This train of thought arose from the Personal Chef concept and I am trying to find the difference of the nutritional value between Frozen Meals and Frozen Food that has been freshly cooked. As a mother with kids and soon to be new mother with a newborn.....I am a potential Personal Chef client. I am having trouble selling the service (particularly the frozen and reheat part)to myself. :( If I am supposed to be touting/selling the fact that my food is better than/more nutritous than so and so's, shouldn't I understand and be able to explain why? Or actually believe the concept?

    Jodi

    PS

    Shroom

    I thinking Private Cheffing (if that is what you were describing) is a better deal. More creativity involved (most of the creative stuff can't be frozen and reheated most of the time) and it's all freshly prepared. I think I like your line of work. :)
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Ripeness has more to do with taste and texture. Ripe is all about enticing another animal to come along and move the seeds around. It's about taste, not nutrition. I suspect the nutrition is very similar whether gassed or picked. I haven't actually seen a comparison.

    The blanching can help maintain vitamins in frozen vegetables. . The blanching is to destroy enzymes that would "digest" the vitamins while frozen.You'll be precooking things before freezing anyway, so it's not much of an issue. If you're not cooking the vegetable, it should keep well in the fridge for the week, or on the counter.

    Properly frozen foods should be just marginally less nutritious than fresh. There is sufficient extra nutrients in a proper diet that it is of no concern.

    Many frozen meals are often not particularly balanced in nutrition, but it is more a question of the ingredients used to make the frozen food taste and feel good, than one of destroying nutrition because of the process. But just because a meal is frozen doesn't mean it can't be nutritious. The key to focus on is quality of ingredients. Some frozen and canned foods are salvaged scraps from other processing or damaged goods...

    Phil
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    I think you're going overboard, Jodi. Things you have to remember:
    1. It's virtually impossible to get 100% of the nutrition in foods -- either because the necessary cooking affects it, or it has lost some before you even bought it, or ... you get the idea. The difference between what should be and what IS is not enough to cause malnutrition.
    2. As long as you use REAL FOOD, and treat it with respect, it will be infinitely better than phony potato chips cooked in Olestra and loaded with salt.
    3. The better food tastes, the more likely people will eat it; it's our job to teach them that real food tastes better.
    4. Not every meal has to supply 100% of a person's nutritional needs. M.F.K. Fisher talked about having a nutritionally balanced day. Great idea.
    5. Nowadays, an awful lot of people value convenience over health, no matter what they say.
    6. The curse of knowing is forgetting that others do not know. Only Allah is perfect.[/list=1]

      It's dangerous to try to sell your work as "more nutritious" than any other, because it's almost impossible for an individual to prove. And sorry, but people probably just don't care that much. You want to sell the convenience, the taste, the personal service, the lower cost to the consumer (I've never bought that stuff from the supermarket, but it strikes me as not much food for too much money).

      I admit to making big batches of stuff (stews, soups, etc.) and freezing them in meal-size portions. Are they as nutritious as they would be if I made them fresh each meal? Probably not. Have we died of malnutrition yet? What do you think?
     
  4. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Hey Suzanne,

    You don't have to duck for cover with me. :D Just read over some marketing materials from other PCs. That's what most of the marketing material says. I just can't see PC food as being "more nutritious" as you say (unless I'm cooking fresh and serving). That's why I said Im having trouble selling this to MYSELF! Plus someone asked me this question, which I obviously couldn't answer. :rolleyes: I solved my own problem and just took that line out completely. Saves alot of questions I don't have answers to and couldn't back up if I tried. Im not the FDA!

    I know that unless Im pulling it from the ground and eating it raw. Its not gonna be 100% nutritious. You can also lose nutrients by cooking and more by freezing. So the marketing materials really should say "without preservatives, food colorings and other additives). I was hanging out on a few PC sites and that is the main thing they kept saying. "Our food is better than blah blah blah" So I actually sat and thought about it and it didn't make much sense to me.

    BTW You don't have to ever worry about me blowing a gasket over some creative critisism. Im all for learning and thinking about things I would never have thought of is someone didn't point it out to me. I also love a great debate.
    :D If anyone hasn't noticed by my previous posts. Im surprised noone has threatened to kick my butt yet! :lol:

    Heck! I freeze soups and stews too.

    Thanks

    Jodi
     
  5. ziggy

    ziggy

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    Having done some PC work myself, this is how I looked at it. For most of my clients, what I was cooking WAS more nutritious than how they normally ate....mostly because they, as Suzanne points out, ate for convenience. Lots of take-out, fast food, frozen processed meals.

    I would come in and cook the would be eating meals made from real not processed foods, balanced meals, if they asked for it meals that focused on lower calories and/or fat, real vegetables that still had nutritional values(some clients hadn't had a real veggie in months before I started cooking for them)

    I never claimed to be a dietician(i'm not) and didn't market myself that way. I think it would be dangerous to make any claim you can't back up with facts. That said, I would provide nutrional info when requested...but everyone I worked with always agreed they ate much better and felt much better after a couple weeks of waht I would make compared to waht they would normally eat from restaurants(though tasty, heavier, higher in sodium, etc) or the frozenn food aisle(processed, processed, processed).

    I think as mentioned the main selling point is maintaining the convenience while moving away from processed food or having the comfort of home cooking without the work(appeals to the take out crowd)
     
  6. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Jodi, NO ONE here is going to kick the butt of a pregnant lady; we'd all wait at least until you were home from the hospital with the little one. Although from what I've been told (esp. by my mother), that's what giving birth feels like. ;)

    The more you differentiate yourself in your marketing, the better. Even if that means not making the same claims, in the same words, as others. Also, one of the stupidest moves anyone makes in marketing is to mention their competition. That gives the customer a chance to think about them. You want your potential customers to remember YOU, not anyone else. In other words, believe in yourself, focus your marketing on yourself and your product, and the H**L with the competition! YOU are right when you can't make sense of those other sites.

    It amazes me how unprofessional some of those sites are when it comes to the nitty-gritty of business!!! It's as though they're still in the "Oh, I'm just doing this to have fun" mindset instead of "This is my businesss and I want to make money selling the best possible product." Watch out, that's what can happen to you when you get an MBA degree!
     
  7. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Ziggy

    I would like to bypass the nutritional touting that some PCs seem to profess because (this is just what I think) they think it will bring in the customers. I prefer to speak as I know. Fresh ingredients, low fat cooking techniques etc. etc. etc. I believe when you get into "more nutritious than" you open yourself up for questions and Im there to cook not give a lecture on dietics.

    Part of my target market will be soccer/working mommies. Most of them cook at home but are very busy and tired. They know how to shop etc. and watch what goes into their families mouthes. Mommies love to ask questions and lots of them. If I, as a mommy, can't sell the "more nutritous" slogan to myself.....I can't see them buying it. That's all.

    Ive been wondering what kind of questions you receive from clients? Regarding the food and during your initial interview. BTW How did you find PCing to be? Was it what you thought it would be like?


    Suzanne

    Thanks for the advice. I have already started creating MY OWN marketing material. Taliored specifically to my service. As for the marketing of the other PCs and what most tout on their various sites: I went to the associations site and found that is where the material is coming from. They are not being very creative to tailor the materials to their particular business and customer base. They just fill in the blanks and print it seems.

    If someone hadn't explained the hormone that is released after giving birth (the one that erases the pain memory) Id of sworn I was going crazy. I keep saying Uh Uh never again. Geez, that seems to be working right. :D I love my kids though. Love em, love em, love em! BTW.....Im one of the slow ones in my family. My mom's mom had 8 kids, my dad's mom had 10 kids, my great aunt had 15 and one of my other great aunts had 24! :eek: Don't know how that last aunt did it but she did get married at 13. Long time ago you know. Big family I have. And everyone loves food and cooking. My little cousin is 5 yrs old and she bakes the nicest cakes and cookies. Yum. :lips:
     
  8. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    I think I'd concentrate more on the home-cooking aspect. Even foods prepared without a huge dump of salt and fat, then frozen, can be advertised as "the next best thing to a meal cooked right then and there." The nice thing about frozen meals is that if a client's schedule is erratic and the door doesn't swing open every single night at 7:15 p.m., the meals are there when they get home.

    The processing factor is what makes most prepared foods such deathtraps. If you're using the proper amount of salt instead of the amount necessary to preserve the food until Y3K, it's just as good as if you made it on the spot.

    A person could really expand their PC biz if they did some frozen meals for some families and cooked for other families. If time permitted.
     
  9. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Hi Chiff,

    I was thinking the same thing. Why not cook for the New mommies...I know I was too tired to get out of bed much....and do pre cooked for the families. Id prefer cooking for new mommies though. They take care of breakfast and I come in and prepare a fresh dinner.