Using Canned Foods Back »

Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals and are a major part of a well-balanced diet. Is it possible for good nutrition to be available in a can? The answer is yes! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, canned vegetables can be nutritious, cost-saving, portable, and quick.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall dietary pattern to reduce the risk for diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. The Choose MyPlate food system recommends that individuals make half their plate fruits and vegetables. More specifically, each day women need 2-1/2 cups of vegetables, men need 3 cups, and children less than 9 years old need 1-1/2 cups.

About Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables are often processed immediately after they are harvested. The canning process (high temperatures and sterile containers) destroys organisms that would cause spoilage. Canned food remains safe as long as the container remains intact.

Selection & Storage
Canned vegetables are sold throughout the year and are usually less expensive. Individuals can watch for sales and buy in bulk since canned vegetables have a longer shelf life. Store canned vegetables in a cool, dry area. Discard badly dented, swollen, and/or rusty cans. Leftovers are perishable and need to be refrigerated in a clean, sealed container.

The canning process safely preserves vegetables, so canned vegetables have no preservatives. Salt is often added to canned vegetables to enhance flavor, so read Nutrition Facts labels and choose low-sodium or sodium-free varieties.

Preparation
Food preparation time can be saved by using canned vegetables, since they are already cut, sliced and pre-cooked, and requiring only reheating. Try adding canned vegetables to soups, stews, chili, spaghetti sauce and casseroles. Make your own salsa using canned diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and canned corn with dried cilantro. Add canned green peas to pasta salad. Spruce up rice pilaf by adding canned vegetables. Add canned pumpkin to bread and muffins.

More Information

For healthy quick tips and recipes using canned vegetables, check out 4 Ways to Fuel with Canned Foods and Ten Key Items When Shopping for a Healthy Diet provided by Mealtime.org. Plan to eat more vegetables, whether they’re canned, frozen or fresh. Refer to How Many Vegetables Do You Need? by Fruits and Veggies More Matters.org.


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