If canned foods aren’t a staple in your grocery cart, you are really missing out! They are a nutritious, inexpensive and convenient way to make healthy meals. Over the years, canned foods have developed a bad reputation for not being very nutritious. This is simply not true. Modern canning methods utilize fruits, vegetables and meats that are processed at their peak of freshness to retain flavor, nutrients, texture and color. But what about the added salt and sugar needed for the canning process? This is a myth as well. Salt or sugar is added to canned foods because consumers like it – not because it’s needed. The good news is that Nature’s Promise, GIANT brands, and many other leading brands offer canned foods that are no sodium or no sugar added.
If canned foods aren’t a staple in your grocery cart, you are really missing out! They are a nutritious, inexpensive and convenient way to make healthy meals.
Here are our top 5 canned food items that you should have in your pantry:
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are preserved using heat, which releases lycopene—a carotenoid that may help prevent prostate and breast cancer. They come whole, diced, crushed, pureed… which means less prep time. Try this Roasted Tomato Bisque.
- Beans: Beans are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Since most canned beans have some added sodium, be sure to give them a rinse before using. Beans are great in soups and chilis, tossed in salads, or all by themselves like in this tasty hummus and bean dip.
- Vegetables: Canned veggies make it easier to up your intake! Since canned veggies are cut to perfect bite-sized pieces, it’s a snap to add peas, carrots, green beans, and more to pasta sauces, soups, stews, or other main dishes. Look for choices that are no sodium added.
- Fruit: Canned pineapple, peaches and pears in their own juices (no added syrup) can transform mealtimes in a snap. Puree for a delicious sauce for pork and chicken or add chunks to kabobs and stir-fries. And forget pumpkin pie, use canned pumpkin to make this savory Pumpkin Tortellini.
- Fish:Having a stash of canned tuna, salmon, anchovies, or sardines makes it easy to get your 2-3 servings a week of fish. Fish provides a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health, plus they are high in protein. Look for fish packed in water, not oil. Try making salmon cakes, adding anchovies to your pizza or this easy tuna and white bean salad.
Whether you fill your cart with fresh, frozen or canned, the goal is to make sure we are eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. Having canned foods on hand ensures that a healthy and quick meal is always an option!