From The Nutritionist

Lindsay Watts, R.D.
Author:
Lindsay Watts, R.D.

'Tis the Season- Cans Get You Cooking!

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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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:
  4. 5 MUST HAVE CANNED PRODUCTS

    Canned Good Why?
    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.

    Top Recipe Picks Using Canned Ingredients:



    Chicken Tortilla CasseroleHearty Chicken & Vegetable Chowder


    Two Bean Vegetable Chili Unstuffed Peppers



    Pineapple-Picante
    Stir-Fried Pork & Cabbage

  5. 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.

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.

Deliciously Yours,

Lindsay

Lindsay’s Bio

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.

  1. “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.
  2. 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.
  3. “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.
  4. Food Waste Reduction Alliance. Available at http://www.foodwastealliance.org/services/. Accessed 10/26/2015.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.