Canned, Fresh, or Frozen Veggies

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Fresh – Frozen – Canned – Which style of vegetable do I buy?

While working with clients on making healthier food choices, I’ll often get asked is there a difference between fresh, frozen or canned vegetables.

How have the nutrients been affected by processing vegetables or does it really matter?

Let me share what the differences are and you decide what’s right for your budget…

Canned Vegetables

I’m sure you are aware that anything canned has been processed.

So, are there healthy canned vegetables on your supermarket shelves?

Short answer – yes.

When selecting vegetables that are canned, always read the ingredient labels. Listen carefully – there should only be three ingredients – vegetable, water and salt. That’s it. Nothing more.

Now, check the sodium level of the label. Keep your sodium per serving at 5% to 10% of your % of DV. Anything higher than that, leave on the shelf and keep looking.

When you’re in a time crunch, use canned vegetables to put a quick dish on the table. You’ll still have a nutritious vegetable on your plate.

Read Your Food Labels

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are my vegetables of choice.

They’re flash frozen; which keeps their nutrients at the level of fresh vegetables. Purchase frozen organic when available and stay away from the ones that have added butters and sauces and sodium.

Always read your labels. There should only be one ingredient – the vegetable you’re buying.

Fresh Vegetables

I saw this quote recently and said, “Yep, that’s me.”

I love going to the Farmer’s Market and filling my basket with all the fresh goodness of locally grown vegetables. I have such high aspirations.

I come home, fill up my vegetable bin and that’s pretty much it.

A week or two later, I’m taking them outside to the compost pile in the woods. I tell myself the rabbits are happy.

Fresh is always better than canned or frozen, but I’ve learned that fresh does not always fit my lifestyle.

The longer your fresh vegetables sit in the vegetable bin, the more nutrient loss you will have; especially if you’ve purchased your fresh vegetables from a supermarket chain. By the time those vegetables arrived in your kitchen, they have lost up to 50% of their nutritional value. Search your local Farmer’s Market for your freshest vegetables.

One way to get the highest nutritional value from your fresh vegetables is to cook them at a low temperature for a short amount of time. Steaming your vegetables should be your option of choice.

When you find yourself with a vegetable bin full of fresh vegetables that you can’t use before they go bad, try freezing them. They will retain their nutrients and you will cut down on your waste.

Vegetables are an important part of your healthy diet. Your plate should contain have at least 50% of vegetables and fruits. Choose vegetables you enjoy, whether fresh, frozen or canned; and make vegetables a daily option in your meal planning.

Which style of vegetables do you choose most often – fresh, frozen or canned?

I love fresh but know that I don’t always take the time to cook them as planned. I’ve learned to buy frozen and keep my freezer full of a variety of my favorites. I purchase a variety of beans in cans, making sure that the only ingredients are beans, water and salt.

Ginger Honey Carrots

1 can organic sliced carrots

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Honey to taste

Open can of sliced organic carrots, drain and rinse

Place in small pot with ¼ cup of water

Sprinkle ground ginger over the carrots,

Heat on low until warmed through

Stir in honey to taste

Serve and enjoy

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Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash