5 Best Frozen Fruits to Eat Every Week, According to Dietitians

Freeze! These staples are affordable, eco-friendly and packed with nutrients.

Think back to your menu over the past week or so. How many servings of fruit did you eat every day? If you're like the majority of Americans, it's less than the minimum of 1½ cups (for women) to 2 cups (for men) suggested in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If that rings true for you, know you're not alone. Only 12% of U.S. adults eat the recommended amount of fruit per day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms.

Since fruit is a boon for your heart, gut, brain, life span, energy levels and more, all while being a naturally sweet addition to your menu, it's a wise idea to aim high and try to make that 1½ to 2 cups a reality on a regular basis. One of the best ways to make it easier to do just that? Pack your freezer full of fruit.

The Health Benefits of Frozen Fruit

More than just a sweet, frosty treat, frozen fruit offers a host of health perks.

May Pack More Nutrients Than Fresh

When it comes to nutrition, research proves that frozen fruit is just as good as (and in some instances better than) fresh. "Fresh fruit starts to lose nutrients the minute it is harvested," explains Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., M.A., RD, CSSD, a board-certified sports dietitian in private practice in Los Angeles, specializing in plant-based performance nutrition. On the other hand, she explains, "Frozen fruits are generally frozen at their quality peak, when their nutritional value is highest, and freezing preserves most nutrients." When fruit has to travel a long distance or sits on store shelves, some of its nutrients may be lost. Frozen varieties may therefore have higher levels of certain nutrients.

Is Low in Calories

When it comes to frozen fruit, the calories, fat, protein, carb and fiber are the same as fresh, says Roxana Ehsani, M.S., RD, CSSD, a Miami-based board-certified sports dietitian. On exception is frozen fruit that's mixed with a sugary sauce, which will add calories and sugar.

Stays Fresh

Beyond being a nutrition powerhouse, frozen fruit lasts a really long time. Depending on the variety, frozen fruit is usually good for about 8 to 12 months when stored properly, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

You can extend the life of on-the-way-out produce, such as a banana with some brown spots, by peeling it and popping it into a freezer-safe bag or container. Another trick is to buy a lot of fresh berries (or another fruit) when on sale and freeze them for future use in smoothies, crumbles or "nice cream."

Reduces Waste

Frozen fruit is an ideal option since it's easy to mix things up and use one or two servings of something at a time, explains Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a Dobbs Ferry, New York-based registered dietitian and the author of Smoothies & Juices. "This helps to cut down on waste because you can just use the amount needed and return the bag to the freezer. By wasting less of it, you're lowering your carbon footprint," Largeman-Roth says. Since fruit grown to be frozen is grown in season, there is less energy needed to produce it, making it an especially eco-friendly choice.

a photo of two frozen cherries
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Downsides to Frozen Fruit

Of course, there are some things to consider before filing up your cart.

Not All Fruits Should Be Frozen

A handful of fruits, including watermelon and citrus, don't perform well in many recipes after freezing, so you won't find the full range of fruits in frozen form that you can buy fresh. "For this reason, I typically recommend eating a combination of both frozen and fresh to broaden the variety. Eating a wider array of fruit, as far as colors and types, exposes your body to a broader spectrum of nutrients, antioxidants and other health-protective compounds," Sass says.

It's Not Always Convenient

Even if you store it in a zip-top bag, packing a frozen banana in your carry-on to eat on the plane might leave you with a drippy, defrosted mess. Often, it's more convenient to grab an apple or mandarin when you're on-the-go. Frozen fruit may not travel well.

May Not Be as Versatile

Fruit salad, for instance, wouldn't be the same without fresh fruit.

How Much Frozen Fruit to Eat

A good overall goal to shoot for is 1½ to 2 cups per day for females or 2 to 3 cups per day for males, depending on your personal energy needs for the day. Feel free to mix and match fresh and frozen as desired.

"It's more important to consume the recommended amounts of fruits daily than worry about which form you're getting the fruit from," Ehsani says. "If you love to have bananas, oranges and kiwi fresh, but prefer to stock up on berries that are frozen, that's great! Just choose whatever form you are more likely to consume," she says.

5 Best Frozen Fruits to Eat Every Week, According to Dietitians

Time to stock up! Here's what experts recommend.

1. Frozen Berries

Berries are rich in health-supporting, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and fiber, though they're not in season year-round, Sass says. "Buying frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries allows you to eat high-quality berries 52 weeks per year," she adds. No worries about moldiness here.

You don't need to invest in separate packages, either. Largeman-Roth opts for a triple-berry blend that includes wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. "It's basically an antioxidant explosion," she says. Frozen berries also tend to be less expensive compared to fresh.

Use frozen berries in smoothies, sauces, oatmeal and overnight oats, or in the batter for pancakes, waffles, muffins or quick bread. "One of my favorite treats is frozen berries warmed up in a saucepan over low heat topped with a crumble made from a combo of nut butter, rolled oats, cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup. It's like a faux cobbler," Sass says.

2. Frozen Cherries

Just like berries, fresh cherries aren't in season year-round. Pitting them is also time-consuming and messy. "Since cherries are such a fleeting summer treat, I like to keep my freezer stocked with pitted cherries to use when I get a craving for their rich, sweet flavor," Largeman-Roth says.

If you follow her lead, you'll score a whole host of benefits. Cherries rank as one of the best anti-inflammatory foods, and they also help support exercise recovery and sleep.

Sass likes to serve hers drizzled in melted dark chocolate or on top of "Chocomole" Pudding. For the ultimate bedtime snack, scoop ½ cup of thawed frozen cherries over vanilla Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, Largeman-Roth suggests. The protein in the dairy will help support muscle repair and growth, while the natural dose of melatonin in the cherries promotes restful, restorative sleep.

3. Frozen Avocado

You might not think about avocado being a fruit, but it is! Frozen avocado can be a great addition to smoothies, soups and even guacamole. "I like using avocado in my smoothies to add creaminess, heart-healthy fats and fiber," Largeman-Roth says, like this Blueberry and Avocado Smoothie.

4. Frozen Pineapple

With its prickly top and skin as well as its sturdy flesh, cutting pineapple can feel like an intimidating task for individuals who don't have a lot of practice or grip strength. Sass prefers to keep a bag of frozen pineapple on hand. "Pineapple is rich in immune-supporting vitamin C as well as fiber, antioxidants and manganese, a mineral needed for collagen production. It's a great fruit for skin health and promotes healthy digestion," she explains.

Try thawed frozen pineapple in everything from salads and slaws to fruit salsas and grilled skewers. Or use frozen pineapple in a tropical smoothie made with frozen banana, fresh yellow bell pepper, a scoop of protein powder, a spoonful of coconut butter and fresh ginger. Sass swears by this as a way to refuel and recover after a workout.

5. Frozen Acai

Since it's grown primarily in Central and South America and other rainforest-rich areas, as well as sparingly in Hawaii, you can rarely find fresh acai available in U.S. grocery stores. The fats in this superfood tend to go rancid fairly quickly, so this kind of fresh fruit can be wasteful when offered stateside (where it often requires days of transit), Ehsani explains. Stock up on frozen acai puree, then blend it into smoothies, juices, sauces and chia pudding, or whip up an acai bowl.

The Bottom Line

Frozen fruit is a nutritious, convenient and budget-friendly way to make it easier to eat more produce. Plus, since frozen fruit can last up to a full year, opting for a mix of fresh and frozen (rather than all fresh) will likely lead to a lower amount of food waste.

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