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How to Pick Brussels Sprouts at the Grocery Store

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

If you're looking for a nutrient-rich vegetable to add to your diet, look no further than Brussels sprouts. These small, green, spherical vegetable with the nutty, earthy flavor are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a great addition to any meal.

Adding Brussels sprouts to your diet comes with a host of benefits. For one, they are packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and K, and carotenoids, all of which are important for maintaining good health.

Research shows Brussels sprouts have cancer-fighting properties and may be effective for reducing inflammation. If you're looking to improve your health and well-being, adding this vegetable to your diet is a great place to start. But to maximize their nutrition benefits, you need to know how to pick them at the supermarket.

Choosing Brussels Sprouts at the Grocery Store

The freshest Brussels sprouts are the tastiest and healthiest, since this cruciferous vegetable loses nutrients, like vitamin C, when exposed to heat and light. Here are a few points to keep in mind when shopping at the supermarket:

  • Choose sprouts that are firm with tight, green leaves. No mushy Brussels sprouts!
  • Avoid sprouts that show signs of aging like leaves that are yellowing or browning
  • Choose smaller sized sprouts, as they are more tender.
  • Avoid sprouts that are wilted.

Another Option: Frozen Brussels Sprouts

Few people realize that you can also buy frozen Brussels sprouts, which can be a great addition to your kitchen. Although some veggie elitists swear by fresh over frozen, there are benefits to choosing frozen sprouts over fresh.

For one, frozen Brussels sprouts are convenient. They’re already prepped and ready to prepare. This makes them a great option for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to prep a fresh vegetable side dish. Less hassle means you’re more likely to eat them. There’s nothing easier than popping a bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer.

Plus, frozen Brussels sprouts are often less expensive than the fresh alternative. This means that if you're on a budget, frozen sprouts are a great option. If you have a large freezer, you can stock up on them when your local supermarket has a sale on frozen vegetables.

Are Frozen Brussels Sprouts Less Nutritious?

If you’re concerned about the nutritional content of frozen Brussels sprouts, don’t be. Frozen sprouts typically have as much nutritional value as fresh ones. When fresh sprouts sit under lights at the supermarket, the heat and light degrade vitamin C and some B vitamins.

This process is slowed with frozen vegetables since freezing preserves most of their nutritional content. One study even found that phytochemicals, compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, in vegetables hold up to freezing.

Frozen Brussels sprouts makes the selection process easier, too. You can count on them being nutrient dense since they were frozen just after harvest. One caveat to note, however: If you keep Brussels sprouts for months in the freezer, you may sustain modest loss of some nutrients, including vitamin C and some B vitamins.

Pick the Freshest Ones

Now you know how to pick Brussels sprouts at the grocery store and that you have two options: fresh and frozen. If you buy fresh, inspect the sprouts carefully before popping them in your shopping cart. The ones you find at grocery stores may have been on the shelf awhile and may not be as fresh as you think.

If in doubt, buy frozen. The nutrients in frozen Brussels sprouts is suspended in time due to the freezing process. Don’t forget to buy what you need to prepare them at home. For example, if you’re roasting them, lightly coating them in olive oil will help bring out their flavor.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.