Frozen foods leave some people cold. They associate them with lackluster taste and low quality. But there’s good news: Frozen foods are usually picked at their best and frozen quickly, keeping many nutrients intact (despite some loss during blanching).
On the other hand, fresh produce, offers great texture and colors but can lose nutrients during storage, especially when shipped long distances. When foods are frozen, nutrient loss slows significantly. And frozen fruits, which aren't blanched, hold onto antioxidants quite well.
That said, both options have their advantages and drawbacks, so let's explore the pros and cons of each so you can decide what’s best for you.
To add a little bit of detail to the graphics:
The first step of freezing vegetables is blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and stop food-degrading enzymes. This does cause some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out. Then the subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state. However frozen vegetables are typically processed at their peak ripeness, a time when they’re most nutrient-packed.
A 2017 study found that there were no significant differences in vitamin content between frozen and fresh vegetables. And when there was a slight difference, it was more likely that the FROZEN vegetables had a HIGHER concentration of nutrients than their fresh counterparts.
So, what do when choose when feeding our birds?
Both fresh and frozen foods have their own merits and drawbacks. So, keep in mind the pros and cons of each and decide what works best for you (time-wise, financially and keeping in mind your parrots’ preferences at the moment). You may find that feeding a combination of the fresh and frozen foods provides your parrot with a diverse and nutritionally rich diet while saving you some prep time and money. When feeding frozen produce, just check the ingredients list to be sure there isn’t any added salt or oils (many of the air fryer ready vegetables do).
What’s even more important!
Current research shows that feeding a large variety of foods is the best way we can cover our parrots’ nutritional bases. This includes a combination of lots of vegetables, greens, grains (mostly as sprouts), along with some fruits, nuts and seeds.
An unbalanced diet is the main cause of disease and early death in parrots. So, no single food should be fed exclusively...like feeding only seed for example.
The most important consideration when deciding whether to feed raw or cooked foods is to find out how YOUR parrot will eat the biggest variety. Because a vegetable in any form is better than no vegetables at all.
And remember, it’s important to meet your parrot where they’re at. If your parrot readily eats frozen foods that have been slightly cooked, but you really want to feed your parrots fresh raw foods, start by feeding them what they will eat and then slowly work on transitioning to the diet you’d like to feed them. Feeding them foods in the way you feel is the most nutritious doesn't do anything for them if nothing gets eaten.
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Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. By Joy C Rickman, Diane M Barrett, Christine M Bruhn
Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables. By Jessica Ball, M.S., RD
Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables.
By Linshan Li, Ronald B. Pegg, Ronald R. Eitenmiller, Ji-Yeon Chun and Adrian L. Kerrihard