We’re often told that we need to be eating more produce, but does it matter if it’s canned or frozen instead of fresh? Despite what people say, frozen and canned produce is just as healthy and nutrient-dense as fresh produce! However, there are things to consider when choosing your canned or frozen produce. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the benefits of canned and frozen produce, what to watch out for when shopping for processed produce, and some good uses for these products.
Canned Fruits & Vegetables
Canned fruits and vegetables are typically cooked prior to packaging, so they require little preparation for cooking. Fruits and vegetables are canned when they are the freshest, and canning them seals their freshness (and terrific nutrients) inside, making them shelf-stable and healthy. Canned foods are often cheaper than fresh produce, and are good to have on hand in a pinch.
Things to look out for with canned goods:
- Added sodium: a lot of canned vegetables included added sodium or salt. Look for products with low or no sodium.
- Added sugar: canned fruits-and even vegetables- can include added sugar. Canned fruits may be canned in light syrup or its own juice, so instead look for fruits and vegetables canned in water, with no added sugars.
- If you can’t find options that are not canned in water, no added sugar or no sodium, be sure to rinse the fruit or vegetable thoroughly once you open the can. This can help reduce the amount of sugar or sodium on the item before eating.
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Just like canned goods, frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their most fresh, and frozen immediately to retain their nutritional value. They will typically last for a number of months in a freezer and are a cheap, fast, and healthy option.
Things to look out for with frozen goods:
- Added sugar: especially with frozen fruits, there can be sugar added, just like canned goods. Check the nutrition facts panel to make sure frozen fruit has no added sugars and that it really is just fruits
- Added sauce or seasoning: if the item comes with sauce or seasoning, be sure to check the label. These sauces can have a lot of fat, calories, and sodium, and you’re usually better off with the plain version and seasoning on your own at home.
Recipes for Frozen/Canned Foods
- Try these Southwest Quinoa Bowls using frozen corn, canned black beans, and frozen cauliflower!
- Make this Spinach, tomato, and corn side dish using entirely frozen or canned produce.
- A fresh and nutritious fruit smoothie can be made entirely from frozen fruits. You can always add a handful of frozen spinach to get some vegetables in, too!
Written by Emily Johnson