By Matthew Kadey, MS, RD
Winter Squash Puree
The orange glow of this frozen mash is a tip-off that it contains a heaping payload of beta-carotene. In the body beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which is used to bolster immune, bone and eye health. To make a lightning-fast soup, blend together thawed winter squash with boiling water and any spices and herbs you desire.
Precooked frozen shrimp can quickly turn your meal into a towering feast of protein. Shrimp has a nearly unmatched protein-to-fat ratio and is one of the few foods to supply decent amounts of vitamin D, which research shows may improve muscle power. Thaw and add ’em to tacos, soups and salads.
Greener than Al Gore, lima beans provide a medley of goodies, including vitamin C, fiber and 12 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving. For a quick protein-packed side dish, prepare frozen lima beans according to package directions and then toss with chopped tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.
Conveniently pitted for you, frozen cherries are a great way to load up on muscle-mending antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps your body produce carnitine, a substance that transports fat into the mitochondria. Think of it as a natural fat burner. Add them to your post-workout shakes or stir into your morning oatmeal.
A bag of frozen cubed mango will add tropical flair to shakes, yogurt, sandwiches and salads. Nutritionally mango delivers impressive amounts of fiber, vitamins C, A, E, K, B1, B2 and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin for protein metabolism.
The gravelly-voiced sailor man was on to something. Spinach is laced with nitrates that may make your muscles work more efficiently during exercise. Cup for cup, frozen spinach is actually more jam-packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and folate than the fresh stuff. Use in soups, pasta sauces and even smoothies.