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The Best Frozen Fruits You Should Be Eating for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians – EatingWell

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It’s no secret: nutrition experts want you to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially if weight loss is your goal. In fact, a good aim for each meal is to pack half your plate with produce.

Unfortunately, though, only about 12% of Americans are meeting their daily recommended intakes of fruit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of the 9 out of 10 adults who are falling short, frozen fruit can help you meet that goal. Frozen fruits are accessible, available, budget-friendly and are always at-the-ready to eat—no washing or cutting required. 

Learn what six frozen fruits registered dietitians always keep in their freezer—plus delightful ways to use them to support weight loss.

Are Frozen Fruits Healthy? 

First, let’s clear up the confusion on frozen fruits. Yes, they are healthy! Contrary to rumor, frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh. “Frozen fruits are harvested at their peak of freshness and flash frozen to capture the highest-quality nutrition,” says Toby Amidor, M.S., RD, author of Up Your Veggies: Flexitarian Recipes for the Whole Family. “Frozen fruits have the same—and sometimes even higher—nutrition composition than their fresh fruit counterparts,” she says.

Frozen fruits pack dietary fiber, an important nutrient that helps keep you fuller for longer and aids weight loss. Increasing intake of fruits and veggies has been found to support weight loss in women, especially if you also opt to cut back on high-fat foods, according to a review in Nutrients in 2020. Fruits can help slow down your eating speed, are generally lower in calories and provide fiber, all of which sets the stage for weight loss. In fact, the research concluded that total fruit intake had a stronger association with long-term weight management compared to veggies. 

6 Best Frozen Fruits for Weight Loss 

1. Bananas 

One of the best staples to have on hand in your freezer fruit stash is frozen bananas, according to culinary nutrition expert and cookbook author Wendy Jo Peterson, M.S., RDN. “Frozen bananas are the perfect addition to smoothies to create the ultimate creamy, sweet consistency while adding a boost of nutrition,” she says. A small banana provides 3 grams of filling fiber, according to the USDA, plus gut-friendly prebiotics and blood pressure-friendly potassium.

While you can pick up a bag of sliced, frozen bananas from the market, you can also keep a bag in your freezer to toss those “slightly overripe” bananas into. Plus, you don’t just have to use frozen bananas in smoothies. You can easily pop them out of the freezer, thaw in the microwave, mash and bake into your favorite banana bread, like our reader favorite High-Fiber Banana Bread

2. Wild Blueberries 

Blueberries in all forms are a wonderful addition to your kitchen, but wild blueberries—those tiny little gems found in the freezer section—are a nutritional treasure trove. “Wild blueberries are smaller in size than traditional fresh blueberries but are also sweeter with less sugar,” says Amidor. For reference, a 1-cup serving of wild blueberries provides 10 grams of natural sugar and 6 grams of dietary fiber, says the USDA. The same 1-cup serving of regular blueberries provides 15 grams of natural sugar and 4 grams of dietary fiber, per the USDA.

Both wild and cultivated blueberries pack anthocyanins, important antioxidants found in their skin’s blue hue that have profound effects on overall health, including heart health, diabetes, weight maintenance and neuroprotection, according to research in Advances in Nutrition in 2020. One specific perk to wild blueberries, though, is that the smaller-sized fruits pack more of these antioxidant compounds, according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Frozen wild blueberries make a great addition to quick breads and muffins, and taste delicious tossed directly into warm oatmeal.

3. Tart Cherries 

The fresh cherries at your local grocer are likely the sweet variety. But tart cherries are another seasonal gem you can find year-round in the freezer section of your market.

Amidor is a fan of tart cherries in her morning protein smoothie, thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects they provide. “Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which have been shown to help speed up muscle recovery after a workout,” says Amidor. “Anthocyanins also have an anti-inflammatory effect to help decrease inflammation,” she adds. If you’re ramping up physical activity to help achieve your weight-loss goals, this frozen fruit may just be your new best friend. If you get your hands on a bag, be sure to try them in our Tart Cherry Nice Cream

4. Mangoes 

Enjoying mangoes may be a sign of a healthier diet. A 2022 study published in Nutrients found that both children and adults who consumed mango had better-quality diets compared to those who didn’t delight in the fruit. Males, in particular, who eat mango are more likely to have lower BMI, waist circumference and body weight versus mango avoiders. Overall, though, having mango in your diet increases the chances that you’ll get more fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E, as well as less added sugar, the research found. Perhaps there’s something to the natural sweetness of mango that satisfies your taste buds. Think of mango as nature’s candy.

While fresh mango is great, it’s not always widely available. “My entire household loves mangoes, so keeping frozen mango on hand is essential to keeping everyone happy. Frozen mango defrosts beautifully, making it easy to sub out for fresh mangoes in a recipe,” says Peterson. Pick up a bag and try it in our Mango Smoothie Bowl

5. Pomegranate

If you don’t like fighting with an entire fresh pomegranate for the juicy arils inside, you’re in luck: pomegranate arils can be found in your freezer section. “They can be used in any recipe calling for fresh pomegranate,” Peterson says.

These ruby red gems provide an excellent source of fiber, packing 6 grams per ¾-cup serving, according to the USDA. Plus, pomegranate arils also supply polyphenols, important antioxidants that help quash free radicals that create cellular damage over time.

A review of 20 clinical studies on pomegranate found that the fruit may be useful to prevent and help treat metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions—such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and a large waistline—that raises your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, concludes a Nutrients study in 2022. Pomegranate consumption was shown to help reduce body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, as well as improve insulin resistance. More clinical trials are needed to support these findings, but you can feel confident that when you’re eating these arils, you’re doing something good for your health.

Consider adding those frozen arils into our Whipped Feta with Pomegranate, Pistachios & Honey for your next gathering. 

6. Strawberries

Strawberries are a mainstay in dietitians’ freezers. “My three kids were always begging for frozen berries in their smoothies so it has become a household staple, which I stock up on whenever they come home from college,” Amidor says.

One cup of frozen strawberries contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and has just 50 calories, per the USDA. Thanks to their low-calorie profile and naturally sweet nature, they make the perfect treat to satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you achieve more than just your weight-loss goals.

In research conducted on adults with obesity and elevated “bad” LDL cholesterol, those who consumed 2.5 servings of strawberries per day for four weeks benefited from an improvement in insulin resistance and lipid levels, according to a 2021 study in Nutrients.

In addition, strawberries also supply ellagic acid and flavonoids. “Ellagic acid has been shown to act as an antioxidant to help protect cells from free radical damage, while flavonoids have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline,” Amidor says.

Have a bunch of fresh ones you want to freeze to enjoy during the off season? Learn about the best way to freeze strawberries

Tips for Choosing the Best Frozen Fruits for Weight Loss

  • Consider generic over name brands. For example, Target offers a ton of frozen fruit options under their Good & Gather label that taste just as good (and are just as nutritious) as their name-brand counterparts.
  • Look at the ingredients. Some of the trendier products may have sugars or syrups added to the frozen fruit mixtures, which nutrition experts advise avoiding. Try to purchase frozen fruits that contain fruit only.
  • Freeze leftover fresh fruit. If you purchase fresh seasonal fruits in bulk, wash and freeze it for later use. Rinse under cool water, pat dry and chop. Next, store in sealed containers in the freezer. You can also pack in reusable sealed bags with other smoothie ingredients to quickly dump into a blender.

The Bottom Line 

Frozen fruits are a wonderful addition to your kitchen, regardless if your health goals are weight-loss driven or not. Packed with equal nutrients to their fresh counterparts, frozen fruits come in clutch to help meet your daily fruit quota. Be sure to add a variety of frozen fruits to your next market haul—especially bananas, strawberries, pomegranate, wild blueberries, mangoes and tart cherries.

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