Written by Susan Malzone, Director of LivLight Weight Loss
Move Over Meatballs! It’s time to freeze some of nature’s gifts of summer and capture the wellness delivered to us in fresh ingredients. Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are the little packages from the earth that nourish us. In fact, we all need the vitamins and minerals to feed our cells, bones and muscles and the antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect us from disease. When the produce in our grocery stores is no longer at its peak growing season, the next best thing is “fresh frozen”. Taking some time in late summer to freeze fresh produce allows us to enjoy the benefits of sun-kissed ingredients all year long.
The Importance of Good Nutrition in a Weight Loss Plan
Fresh frozen fruits, vegetables and herbs can be used in protein smoothies, soups, sauces, stews, teas and more to kick up the nutritional value of meals. This makes them especially useful to anyone following a reduced calorie diet to lose weight. It is always important to eat a variety of healthy foods that are low in fat and carbohydrates, but this is especially important when the amount of food you eat is being limited. When you want to lose weight fast, every ingredient in your meal should deliver high nutrition to your body. One of the keys to successful weight loss is to give your body everything it needs without giving it what it does not need. Nutrient dense foods deliver lots of nutrients for the fewest number of calories. The best weight loss plans teach you how to eat this way during and after you reach your weight loss goal, because it is one of the healthiest ways that anyone can eat to maintain his or her weight.
Freezing Berries & Pit Fruit like Cherries
Berries and thin-skinned pit fruit (like cherries, plums and apricots) are full of flavor and nutrients as summer ends. Rinse, dry and stem berries and then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Once they are frozen, transfer the frozen berries to a resealable bag or freezer container. You can add to your stash anytime when you have extras. Freeze cherries, plums and apricots the same way but it’s best to pit them and cut them in half before freezing. Remember to label and date the containers.
Use in breakfast bowls, yogurt (dairy or non-dairy), oatmeal, muffins, protein smoothies, chia pudding, ice creams, oil free salad dressings or try with your favorite protein supplement.
It’s tempting to make preserves and jams when peaches and nectarines are at the peak of their flavor and the prices start to fall. But these require added sugar, which is not at all healthy. Try freezing them by bringing a pot of water to boil and blanching the whole fruit for 30 seconds. Then, drop them immediately into a bowl of ice water. This will loosen the skin. Peel, pit and slice the fruit. Freeze the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Transfer to resealable bags or freezer containers. Label, date and freeze.
Use in breakfast bowls, yogurt (dairy or non-dairy), oatmeal, muffins, protein smoothies, chia pudding, nice creams or try with your favorite protein supplement from LivLight Weight Loss.
There is nothing quite like a summer melon that is perfectly ripe! Melons can be included in some medical weight loss plans by expert nutritionists. Scoop the ripe cantaloupe or honeydew melon into balls (using a melon-baller) or into cubes (using a knife) and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Transfer to resealable bags or freezer containers, label and date.
Use them as a quick, healthy snack, blend them into protein shakes or make them into ice creams.
Nothing beats the flavor of peak-season local tomatoes, and nothing could be easier than freezing them to use later in sauces, soups, and stews. Simply place whole washed and wiped dry tomatoes on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to resealable bags or freezer containers. Label, date and freeze. Note: Tomatoes are in the top ten fruits and vegetables for containing high levels of pesticides. Choose organic whenever possible and wash before using.
Thaw what you need for a recipe and, like magic, the skins will slip right off, so they’re ready to use. Including tomatoes in your weight loss program can help protect against cancer, maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce blood glucose in people with diabetes.
This is one of the tastiest of all herbs but one that can become almost tasteless and very expensive after the summer season ends. Hold a bunch of fresh basil in your hand by the stems and dip the leaves in a pot of boiling water for just 3 – 5 seconds. Toss into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry, remove the leaves from the stems and pile them as small piles (2 – 3 Tablespoons each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Transfer to resealable bags or freezer containers. Label, date and freeze.
Thaw and use whole or chopped in soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, teas, oil free salad dressings and on grilled vegetables.
Remove the stems and wash the leaves. Chop the mint leaves and place 1 – 2 teaspoons into each compartment of an ice cube tray or similar divided container, filling about halfway. Cover with clean water and freeze. Once the cubes have frozen, remove them from the container and place them in a resealable freezer bag or container. Label, date and freeze up to 3 months.
Use in hot and iced teas, toss into salads and salad dressings, add to fresh fruit and protein smoothies for extra Vitamin A, iron and help relief from indigestion.
Freezing Green Vegetables and Peppers
Choose produce that does not have blemishes. Wash and trim the product (peppers should be stemmed and seeds removed), then blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds to prevent natural enzymes from damaging the color and nutrients and to destroy any microorganisms. After 1 minute, drain and drop into a bowl of ice water. Pat completely dry and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Transfer to resealable bags or freezer containers. Label, date and freeze.
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