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Yes you can: Canned foods are nutritious and affordable

Elizabeth Hall, Community Contributor • Feb 6, 2019 at 4:30 PM

It’s National Canned Food Month! Canned foods help get food from the farm to your family’s table. The canning process locks in a foods’ freshness until you’re ready to get cooking. Canned foods are nutritious, easy and affordable, and here’s why:

CANS SEAL IN NUTRITION, FRESHNESS AND FLAVOR

Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak of ripeness and canned within hours, making the can one of the best ways to lock in nutrients and get food from its source.

Research shows that canned foods have similar (or better) nutritional profiles as their fresh or frozen counterparts. For example, canned tomatoes have more lycopene, which is associated with reducing cancer risk, and have more B vitamins than fresh tomatoes. Canning also helps make fiber in certain vegetables, like beans, more soluble and easier to digest.

Many individuals are concerned about eating canned foods due to sodium content. Sodium in canned produce and meat is not the primary culprit for adding sodium to our diets. Rather, most of our sodium intake in America comes from restaurant and convenience foods. With “no salt added” versions readily available, canned foods can help you meet your nutrient needs and diet requirements easily.

CANNED FOODS ARE AFFORDABLE

Families can stretch their grocery budgets by choosing canned foods. For example, fresh green beans are nearly 500 percent more costly than canned green beans. Plus, you save money because canned foods don’t easily spoil! According to a study, Americans throw away approximately 15 to 20 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase every year. Because fresh produce can spoil before people have the chance to eat it, keeping a well-stocked pantry helps them reach their daily consumption goals for fruits and vegetables. The canned foods you buy in the store today are good for at least one year.

CANNED FOODS MEAN LESS PREP

Families have fast-paced lives, and they can’t always plan meals around work and kids’ activities. Having canned foods in your pantry provides a great option for a quick and easy meal so families don’t have to eat out.

Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN is a Food City Registered Dietitian.

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