Lindsay Watts, R.D.
While winter hasn’t officially started, it certainly feels like it here in the northeast. This time of year I pull out my winter coats, boots, hats, gloves, and other cold-weather gear. This is also the time of year I notice a reduction in the variety and an increase in the price of fresh produce. With the exception of a few delicious winter fruits and vegetables, I rely more heavily on canned products to keep my meals flavorful, nutritious, and convenient.
It is a common misconception that canned foods are always heavily processed and not as good for you as their fresh counterparts. However, canned foods can provide numerous benefits including nutrition, convenience, value, sustainability, and a longer shelf life. Read four reasons canned foods not only fit in a healthy diet, but also help you pack convenient and delicious flavor into your dishes.
- Canning preserves the nutrition of foods.
Just like fresh or frozen produce, canned fruits and vegetables go through a process – they are picked fresh, washed and trimmed. Then, they are cooked in the can and safely sealed which preserves nutrient quality. For this reason, many canned foods do not need added preservatives to prevent spoilage. Read more Canned Food Myths - Busted.
- Canned foods are often nutritious products that support a healthy diet.
Most consumers don’t realize that canned foods can be as nutritious as fresh or frozen products. New research also suggests that American adults and children who eat canned fruits and vegetables not only have better overall diets, but they also eat more total produce compared to those who do not1. This is an excellent benefit of canned foods considering 9 in 10 Americans are not meeting produce recommendations2.
- Cooking with canned products makes life easier.
I know that meal planning is important for maintaining a healthy diet, but, sometimes life gets in the way and I just have to “throw something together”! I keep a variety of canned foods around to help me when I am in a pinch. Here are some of my favorites:
- Canned foods are a sustainable option for nutritious foods.
Steel cans have the highest recycling rate of all food packages in the U.S. at 71%. Through the recycling process, they maintain their strength and quality, making them endlessly reusable and ultra-sustainable3. Most canned foods have a shelf life of approximately 2 years3, helping you cut down on the 25%-40% of food that is thrown out each year4. For more information on the canning option visit www.mealtime.org.
|Chile Peppers||Keep your favorite canned chilies on hand for a quick hit of spice in your favorite dishes.|
|Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Condensed Soups||Condensed soups can be a flavorful main ingredient in a quick-to-prepare dish.|
|Beans||Add beans to whole wheat pasta or brown rice and sauce to pack in plant-based protein and fiber.|
|Tomato products||You can add tomato products to any soup, stew or chili for delicious flavor, potassium and lycopene|
|Fruit canned in water or juice||Canned fruits make delicious additions to salad, cottage cheese, or as a quick grab and go snack.|
Chicken Tortilla CasseroleHearty Chicken & Vegetable Chowder
Two Bean Vegetable Chili Unstuffed Peppers
Stir-Fried Pork & Cabbage
Canned fruits, vegetables, soups, and other shelf-stable ingredients such as broths, salsas, and juices allow me to always have ingredients on hand for a flavorful, nutritious meal. Remember, when it comes to fruits & veggies all forms count! View the infographic below, compliments of the Canned Food Alliance, which depicts the simple steps that bring canned foods from the farm to your table.
On your next trip to the grocery store, be sure to stock up on a variety of canned products so you are prepared to eat deliciously, no matter what the season!
Click below to view the complete infographic.
Lindsay is a nutrition communications analyst at the Campbell Soup Company where she coordinates health professional and consumer communications. She also works with internal and external partners on retail health and wellness programs. Prior to her role at Campbell, Lindsay worked as an in-store retail dietitian. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University and completed her dietetic internship with Pennsylvania State University.
- “Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake Research” Canned Food Alliance. Available at: http://www.mealtime.org/diet-quality-and-nutrient-intake-research.aspx. Access 10/23/2015.
- Moore, Laetitia, Thompson, Frances. “Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations—United States 2013.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Published July 10, 2015. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6426a1.htm. Accessed on 10/26/2015.
- “Did You Know.” Canned Food Alliance. Available at: http://www.mealtime.org/professionals-and-government/frequently-asked-questions/did-you-know.aspx?_sm_au_=iVVnH1Mwk2j32nM6#2000. Accessed 10/26/2015.
- Food Waste Reduction Alliance. Available at http://www.foodwastealliance.org/services/. Accessed 10/26/2015.