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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

Blueberry sauce, strawberry smoothies… No need to wait for summer to enjoy your favourite seasonal fruits – the frozen variety are convenient, versatile and still full of vital nutrients

 

1. Power to your porridge

Add 80g frozen blueberries to your porridge. Drop them into the bowl before microwaving, or stir in towards the end of the cooking time if you’re making it on the hob.

2. A break with breakfast tradition

If you like your breakfast sweet, why not try a fruity omelette in place of a pastry? When the eggs are almost cooked through, add some frozen berries and low-fat cottage cheese, then fold the omelette over and transfer to a plate. It’s surprisingly good!

3. Super smoothie

Blend 1 chopped apple, 40g frozen strawberries, 40g frozen blueberries and ½ banana with 250ml skimmed milk, blueberry or apple juice for a smoothie that provides two of your five-a-day. For extra fibre and texture, add 25g rolled oats.

4. Lunchbox trick

Instead of buying individual containers of fruit-flavoured yogurt, buy a large tub of fat-free natural yogurt and stir in your choice of frozen berries. The price difference is amazing and the flavour and texture so much better. If you prepare it in the morning, the berries will have thawed when lunchtime arrives.

5. Sweet ‘n’ sour burger

Bored with plain old beef burgers? Try this twist: add thawed cranberries to lean turkey mince, along with regular burger seasonings, for a deliciously different, tangy taste.

6. Scrummy strudel 

In a mixing bowl, combine 250g frozen berries with 2 sliced apples, 75g sultanas and a dash of vanilla essence. Spray 4 filo pastry sheets with oil, then stack them. Spoon the fruit mixture onto one end of the stack, then roll. Brush the strudel with egg, then bake at 200ºC/fan 180ºC/gas 6 for 20 min or until the pastry is crisp and cooked through. Serve with a dollop of fat-free natural yogurt.

7. Saucy topping

Put frozen blueberries into a pan with a little sugar and water, and cook over a medium heat for 10 min, stirring occasionally. Stir in grated orange or lemon zest, then serve warm poured over reduced-fat ice cream or fat-free natural yogurt.

8 Ice cream with bite

Slightly soften a tub of low-fat vanilla ice-cream, then mix in frozen berries to form a pretty pink ripple. Add more berries with some crumbled meringue pieces and gently stir. Re-freeze the ice cream until firm, then serve.

9. Crumble heaven

Put 320g frozen berries into a baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine 50g oats, 2tbsp brown sugar, 2tbsp low-fat spread and 4tbsp flaked almonds, then use to cover the berries. Bake at 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 3 for 20 min or until the topping is golden. Serve with low-fat vanilla ice cream or reduced-fat ricotta drizzled with honey.

10. Pretty pud

For a simple, slimline dessert, pour sugar-free raspberry jelly into glasses, then drop thawed mixed berries into each and put in the fridge to set.

What’s so good about berries?

HFG nutritionist Amanda Ursell says: ‘Opting for frozen berries makes nutritional sense when you can’t get fresh. Levels of vitamin C are usually lower, it’s true (frozen strawberries, for example, have 48mg of this immune-boosting nutrient per 100g compared with 77mg in fresh) but frozen varieties still provide 60% of our recommended daily intake.

‘However, B vitamins, which can be affected by light and heat, are left undamaged by freezing. For example, frozen raspberries have 33mcg folate in 100g, which is the same as in fresh raspberries.

‘Perhaps best known for their vibrant blue anthocyanins, blueberries also freeze well. Research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology shows these potent antioxidants, which scientists believe can help improve levels of oxygen to the brain, also suffer no significant reductions upon freezing.’