Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

I keep hearing to stay away from canned foods. Do I have to avoid them all?

That is a great question! Many of us have heard that we should only grocery shop around the perimeter of the store. That would mean that we don’t have access to most of the foods available.

While it is true that we want to use as many fresh, whole foods as we can such as fruits, vegetables and fresh protein sources, there are healthy foods in the center of the grocery store too. Your freshest options are preferred but frozen and canned foods shouldn’t have to be avoided.

Often our food shopping budget is better able to handle canned foods than their fresh counterparts. That makes this especially good news.

Most food manufacturers have developed processes that capture the nutrition of the vegetables and fruits from the farm to your table. Usually foods are canned just hours after being picked. Some canned foods have nutritional benefits for example, canned tomatoes are higher in lycopene than fresh tomatoes. If you are concerned about the safety of can lining, many manufacturers are using BPA free cans and more will in the future. You can also buy products in glass that limit your exposure to BPA.

Canned foods are available when you are ready to use them and can give you variety all year round. Be mindful of their expiration dates, be careful of dented cans and look for foods without added salt or sugar. You can rinse your canned foods with water to reduce 36-41% of the sodium too.

Did you realize that the average number of cans we keep in our pantry is 24? Our favorites are canned corn, beans, peaches and pineapple. 86% of us use some canned food each week.

If you prefer, frozen fruits and vegetables are also good choices when you want to have food on hand to use in a pinch. Sometimes we don’t get to the fresh produce before it spoils so will need some alternatives at the ready.

Don’t forget that oatmeal, bread, baby foods, nuts, dried beans, brown rice, whole grain pasta and other nutritious items are found in the middle of the grocery store!

Choosy shoppers make the most of their supermarket when selecting the highest quality, nutritionally packed foods for us and our families.

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