by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD, Director of Community Outreach, CHEF
Cooking with canned or frozen fruits and vegetables is a quick and convenient option for busy weeknight meals. They can even be more nutritious! Shopping in the canned food aisle and freezer section, in addition to fresh produce, can provide a wider variety of meals for even the most discernible palates.
Canned fruits and vegetables have a long shelf-life and are typically free of preservatives. The canning process uses high temperatures to cook and seal the contents. Canned foods are also a quick option as they only need to be reheated. There are many canned foods that come in microwave-safe packaging and can be reheated in minutes. Be sure to look for sodium-free, low-fat, and no added sugar on the labels of your canned foods. Rinsing certain canned vegetables like canned beans can help to remove excess sodium.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be more nutritious as they are flash frozen closer to the time of being picked. Many frozen vegetables can be microwaved for quick, easy cooking. Choosing plain vegetables or vegetables in low-fat sauces can help control the amount of fat and calories you consume. Frozen meals and entrees can be a great option if you are counting calories – just be sure to compare nutrition labels and serving sizes to find better-for-you options.
Whether you use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables to cook part or all of your meal, you can expedite the time it takes to prepare a delicious, nutritious dinner!