Vegetables are vital for a healthy diet. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and can help hydrate you. However, eating vegetables can be expensive and preparation is time-consuming … or is it?   Sure, going to the produce section of the supermarket can be a little daunting, the price per pound or per piece can be a lot, and it usually is. Also, when I want to cook my vegetables, I have to chop, dice and mince them. Being a student, I just do not have time for that. Wanting to get in healthy foods, but with limited time, I found an easy way to get veggies at an inexpensive price. Welcome to the frozen foods section of the supermarket; ignore the tv dinners and the frozen burritos and find the frozen vegetables. Your shopping experience will never be the same!   Now before you say “but wait, because it is frozen, doesn’t that mean that mean you lose the nutrients that fresh vegetables have?” I would argue that frozen vegetables have just the same amount of nutrients or more than fresh vegetables. According to wild blueberries.com “[frozen produce] retain their nutritional value longer, and they are preserved at their peak, not before. Since development of a technology known as the individually quick-frozen (IQF) method, foods can be frozen when they are at their peak of freshness. Some fresh-sold fruits are picked early to ensure they won’t spoil during the long shipping and storage, but not those that are quick-frozen…. Way back in 1998, the Food & Drug Administration confirmed that frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh – great news for those seeking year-round healthy foods.”   This was even confirmed with Jennifer Chase, master’s degree in food science at Brigham Young University and associate at Unicity. She explained how tomatoes are picked green and have to ripen while in-transit to your supermarkets. However, Chase stated, “the vegetables, that will be frozen, are picked when ripe and then frozen … although they may lose some nutrients, they are definitely better than vegetables that have been sitting in your fridge for over a week.” So long as we get our proper nutrients in a easy and (semi) natural manner, I am happy with that. Not only are frozen veggies, but they are usually a lot cheaper than the fresh produce (even when it is in season!)   I absolutely love getting my broccoli cut perfectly to throw in my omelette or curry. Or not having to worry about tearing up while cutting onions, because it is already cut; no tears, just finding the joy of cooking. There are so many different frozen veggies to find in the frozen foods section, just pick your favorites and some foods that you don’t like, but know you should eat. Now get ready to make your least favorite vegetable taste great.   My recipe for fried rice is cheap, simple, and delicious. There are just four steps to it. The total cooking time is about 40 minutes and you only need to monitor it for about 15 minutes. So it is great to get it started right after a workout and before you shower. Step #1 Start the rice Whether you have a rice cooker or a pot, scoop about 1/3 cup of dry rice, per person, and follow the directions for your rice. Generally, it is about 2:1 water to rice. Let it cook on a low heat on your stove and take your shower, do your homework, or watch an episode of the Office; you have twenty minutes to kill. 150506_FriedRice_002Step #2 Scramble eggs I don’t think I need to explain how to scramble an egg on the stove, but make 1-2 eggs per person. Also, add some spices in this step. I would just add the pepper-type of spices like black pepper, cayenne pepper, and like such. Make sure the eggs are relatively dry. 150506_FriedRice_005Step #3 Add the veggies Throw in as many veggies as you want with the eggs; I usually do about 1-1.5 cups of frozen veggies per person. Once the ice has melted throw in whatever spices you think would go well with the dish. I like to add cumin, cilantro flakes, salt, and ginger.  Just follow what the rat from Disney’s Ratatouille does: smell the dish, smell the spice, and decide if it works together. Mix it around and let it cook until it is pretty dry.150506_FriedRice_010 150506_FriedRice_014Step #4 Add the cooked rice Before you add the rice, make sure it is thoroughly cooked and not wet. You may need to wait a bit more but it makes a big difference. Once you add the rice to the concoction, mix it around in the pan and add some soy, teriyaki, or stir fry sauce. It gives that extra flavor to your meal and tastes great. 150506_FriedRice_020 Now you are ready to enjoy a healthy meal that is quick, simple and easy to make. Share how it worked for you.