Many frozen foods don’t deserve the cold shoulder they get—in fact, for some fruits and veggies, the freezer can be the best place to chill out. Here’s two recipes, Salmon Curry, and Corn, Cauliflower and Crab soup, that rely on the frozen food to create nutritious, delicious meals.

People frequently dismiss the idea of frozen foods being better for you than fresh food. The boxes and bags of nutritional land mines found in the freezer aisle— goopy doughnuts, freezer-burned fish sticks, pizza buried under a tsunami of sodium — can easily blow up your diet. But it’s not all doom and gloom for frozen fare. Fresh produce that’s picked up and trucked or flown around the country loses nutrition and antioxidants; freezing it slows the breakdown and helps maintain freshness.

In fact, multiple studies have found frozen foods to be just as good and usually better for you than fresh: In 2013, UK researchers found that about two-thirds of the frozen fruits and veggies they tested had more vitamin C and antioxidants (like polyphenols, lutein, beta-carotene, and anthocyanin) than refrigerated produce.

Another study out of the University of Georgia in the US compared fresh and frozen strawberries, blueberries, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, spinach and green peas from six grocery stores. Initial tests found both varieties had similar nutrition levels. The food was then stored — fresh in the fridge, frozen in the freezer) — and tested again five days later. The fresh lost vitamins, mostly A and C, and folate.

So don’t be a fresh-food-only snob. Jump into the deep freeze with these healthy recipes.

Salmon Curry

Bags of frozen peas are a stealthy way to infuse your diet with plant protein and fat-torching fibre. And cup for cup, frozen pre-chopped spinach is actually more concentrated in a range of must-have nutrients like folate, vitamin K and calcium than its fresh counterpart. Both are an effortless addition to this protein-packed salmon curry in a hurry. Serve over brown rice.

Ingredients for Salmon Curry

1 tbsp canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

½ tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tbsp red curry paste

400g) can diced tomatoes

¾ cup canned coconut milk

½ box (150g) frozen chopped spinach

1 cup frozen peas

700g centre-cut skinless salmon fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

Juice of ½ lime

Directions

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and salt; cook until soft and darkened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; heat for 1 minute. Stir in curry paste; heat for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and coconut milk; bring to a simmer and heat for 5 minutes.

2) Stir in spinach and peas and return to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low, nestle in salmon, and coat salmon in the sauce. Cover pan and heat for 5 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through. Squeeze in lime juice.

Per serving: 544 calories, 39g protein, 18g carbs, 36g fat

Corn, cauliflower, and crab soup

■  The dynamic duo of crab and Greek yoghurt boosts protein content,  while corn provides niacin, which generates the energy you need to crush it in the gym. Look for tubs of fresh crab meat in the seafood section of supermarkets. 

Regarding chilli, soups and stews that are going to cook for a while — don’t bother defrosting the frozen veggie or fruit.

Ingredients

3 cups frozen corn kernels

1 tbsp canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

½ tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin powder

½ tsp chilli powder

2 cups vegetable broth

3 cups frozen cauliflower florets

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt

Juice of ½ lemon

4 tbsp prepared pesto

350g fresh lump crabmeat

Directions

1) Thaw 1 cup corn kernels; set aside.

2) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt; heat for 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and darkened. Add garlic, cumin, and chilli powder; heat for 30 seconds. Add broth, 2 cups corn, and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3) Place soup in a blender with yogurt and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

4) Divide soup among
4 bowls and top each with 1 tbsp pesto,
¼ cup thawed corn, and 100g crab.

Serving: 343 calories, 28g protein, 28g carbs, 15g fat