Not only is February American Heart Month, but it is also National Canned Food Month! Canned goods can be incorporated into your meals and be a key component to a healthy diet. There are many canned ingredients that fall into MyPlate’s five food groups. Listed below are some examples of canned foods from each food group.
- Fruits: Canned peaches, pears, Mandarin oranges, pineapple, pink grapefruit, and fruit cocktail
- Vegetables: Canned corn, green beans, mushrooms, carrots, beets, asparagus, pumpkin, tomatoes, and okra
- Grains: Canned pasta, noodle soup, and barley soup
- Dairy: Evaporated milk
- Protein: Canned tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, chicken, baked beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils
What are some benefits of consuming canned goods?
- Canned fruits and vegetables have a similar nutritional value when compared to fresh and frozen! Because they are harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness, canning can preserve the same flavor and nutrients as if eaten fresh or frozen. Canned food can provide year-round accessibility to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Remember, all forms of fruits and vegetables count towards your daily recommendation, even canned products!
Visit the American Heart Association’s website to learn more about how many servings of fruits and vegetables you should be eating per day to maintain a healthy diet.
- Canned foods are affordable and convenient! As a friendly tip, stock up on some of your family’s favorite canned goods when on sale. Because they have a long shelf life, canned goods can be easily stored in your pantry for when you need it next. In addition, using canned foods can cut down on meal prep time, while still offering nutritional value and a delicious taste. Buying canned goods may also be helpful for those who frequently throw away their fresh produce due to spoilage. Fill up your “cantry” with canned goods to help you prepare a healthy, nutritious, and quick meal for your family while saving time and money!
When buying canned foods, don’t forget read the label! Choose fruits that are canned in water or 100% fruit juice, instead of heavy or light syrup which contains added sugars. When choosing canned vegetables, legumes, or broths look for “low-sodium” or “no salt added” options. Similarly, when buying canned meats, consider canned sardines, tuna, or salmon because these options rarely contain added sodium and are also good sources of omega-3s. Additionally, a quick drain and rinse can further reduce the amount of sodium content in your food.
You may also want to consider learning how to can your own food at home. This is a great way to make items such as homemade jam, jellies, and pickles! Before you get started, be sure to read some general home food preservation tips from UC Davis Food Safety to learn more.
Cans Get You Cooking is a national campaign intended to raise awareness about the benefits of canned goods and encourage people to stock their pantry with canned goods to make healthy, nutritious, homemade meals.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to stop by the canned foods aisle! For new recipes that include canned foods, check out the Cans Get You Cooking recipe collection.