Shopping at specialty stores and farmers’ markets is great for getting fresh foods, but that’s not always possible, depending on where you live and the season. And sometimes you just don’t have time to get to the store.

But the right frozen foods can be the fixings for low-calorie meals and snacks that are nutritious as well as satisfying.

Shrimp is a versatile protein that cooks in no time — great in a veggie stir fry or just boiled and chilled to dip in cocktail sauce. Buy bags of frozen shelled and deveined shrimp, especially when they’re on sale. Because they defrost in no time under cold running water, they’re virtually ready when you are. Frozen fish fillets are another nutritious type of seafood to have on hand.

Produce from the frozen-food aisle can be as nutritious as fresh. Often, flash-frozen vegetables retain nutrients better than fresh produce that was trucked to your store and then kept in the fridge for a few days. Green peas are particularly tasty as a side dish, a salad topping and as a healthy sauce when pureed into a pesto.

Raspberries offer a bounty of nutrients, plus fiber. When fresh ones aren’t available or affordable, head for the frozen foods case. In fact, all types of frozen berries and other frozen fruit chunks are great right out of the bag for making thick smoothies.

Having a package of whole-wheat flatbreads or tortillas in your freezer lets you make low-calorie pizzas and quesadillas.

A box of 100-percent frozen-fruit bars is perfect to have on hand for a refreshing snack. Just be sure you’re getting real fruit with some juice, not flavored water with sweeteners.

Of course, not everything in the freezer case is healthy or low in calories, especially many frozen meals, so always read labels before you buy.

More information

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has more on frozen foods and how to make the best selections.

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