Description: Frozen food entrees and meals, seafood and meats, meat-free foods, gourmet frozen soups, juices, fruits and vegetables, baby food, desserts and breads.

What to look for: Certified organic foods that are preferably flash frozen – a process that insures a higher retention of valuable nutrients, vitamins, color and flavor of foods. Look for family-owned frozen food operations, where year-round fresh vegetables and fruits are packaged for retail sales. Choose entrees and other foods that are made from whole food ingredients, rather than long lists of unidentifiable ingredients. For example, choose whole frozen strawberries rather than pureed strawberry filling, which is likely bruised and inferior fruit blended with excessive amounts of sugar. The less processing, the better, is a good motto when choosing frozen foods, as it not only insures quality, especially in the case of frozen fruits and vegetables, but with a whole food such as strawberries, it insures that you can easily blend them into your own puree, determining both the amount and type of sweetener you want to add for your own taste preference.

Buy frozen foods containing no additives, preservatives, or genetically-modified ingredients. Whenever possible, choose fruits, vegetables, dairy and animal products that are organically grown, without the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals.

Uses: Great convenience foods for when you don’t have the time or ingredients to prepare fresh homemade meals; and, in the case of smoothies, having a combination of fresh and frozen fruit will give you a nice variety from which to choose.

Where to find: Natural Foods Stores and Co-ops, Online Resources, and the occasional local grower. Take advantage of the reasonable prices and bountiful quantities when a local food item is in the height of its season; freeze extra for the year to come. Continue to check the freezer section at big box and grocery stores. As the popularity of organic foods increases, the demand may very well drive large chain stores to carry more and more organic; in turn, prices may also go down for what is now mostly available at high premiums.

Avoid: The terms “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable. Buy only food labeled “organic”, which meets USDA’s national organic standards.