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Canned Foods CAN be a part of a Healthy Diet

February is American Heart Month and National Canned Food Month, and despite conflicting and sometimes confusing nutritional information, canned foods CAN be beneficial to a heart-healthy and overall healthful diet.

From beans to tuna and fruit (in juice) to tomatoes, canned foods are a pantry staple, and here are three reasons that we like to add them to the plate for healthful eating.

Convenient

Most of us savor the first fresh green bean or vine ripe tomato of the season but when fresh isn’t available or it’s just too expensive, canned alternatives can be a nutritious option. Just be sure to read the label for no/low sodium and no/low sugar.

Having canned foods in the pantry can enable you to have a variety of food no matter the season or supplement fresh foods. When healthy foods are convenient, you are more likely to cook and canned foods make for quick meal prep since they are cleaned, chopped, cooked, and easily portioned, helping you quickly assemble delicious and nutritious meals. Think about it, you can have all the ingredients for a bean chili or veggie-packed soup at the ready in your cupboard with shelf-stable canned ingredients.

 

Affordable

Canned vegetables and fruit can be as much 70% less in cost compared to their fresh or frozen counterparts. Since they have a longer shelf life, they are a great option to reduce food waste and enable you to stock the pantry.

Unfortunately, recent supply chain issues are impacting costs, but canned foods remain the best buy for your dollar (and ours!)

 

Nutritious

Canned food is filled with important nutrients, including fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet.

Canned foods are considered minimally processed; after being cleaned, peeled, chopped, and trimmed, as necessary, foods are cooked in the can to lock in nutrients and flavor. The nutrients from canned foods are a healthy alternative when fresh or frozen foods are not available. Just be sure to read labels for ingredients, no, low/reduced sodium, no syrups/sugar, and look for canned meats in water, not oil or sauce. Draining and rinsing foods can also help to lower salt and sugar content.

So, when you see the Stock Up Can Sale at your local grocery, don’t hesitate to pick up some cans for effortless healthy eating, and we ask that you pick up some extra cans to donate to the Chester County Food Bank or your local cupboard too.  Canned foods (as well as can openers) are a welcomed staple at our network of hunger relief partners and in the cupboards of the people that we serve.

 

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 160 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

 

Photos: Canva