When looking for foods to fuel a healthy, active lifestyle, don’t neglect the canned food aisle. Canned foods provide economical, portable, healthy, fast food options. Whether you are going for a walk, gardening outdoors, or working out at a local gym, canned foods supply essential nutrients to feed your body. Requiring no refrigeration, they are ideal for eating on-the-go, too! Consider these five canned ingredients to fuel your fun!
Canned fruits, such as pineapples or pears packed in 100% juice, provide a Vitamin C and potassium rich natural sweet treat, ideal for replenishing muscle carbohydrates called glycogen after workouts. Blend in a smoothie or add to yogurt. They are also a delicious, nutritious addition to your favorite whole grain muffin recipe.
Canned beets, rich in folate, phosphorus, iron and potassium, also provide naturally occurring nitrates that may aid in improving performance during prolonged physical activity. Juice for a pre-workout nitrate blast or top your green salad with their brilliant phytonutrient color.
Canned tomatoes are a great example of a canned food that only becomes more nutritious with canning! Canned tomatoes have more available lycopene than fresh tomatoes and research has suggested lycopene may help to prevent breast and prostate cancers. Diced, crushed or whole, canned tomatoes make a great base for soups, sauces, and salsas.
Canned beans, like great northern, kidney, garbanzo, and adzuki, offer a low fat, cholesterol-free, high protein option also rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron — all essential for optimal fitness and overall health. They are great folded into an easy-to-make burrito and topped with salsa, added to soups, or blended as a dip or hummus.
Canned tuna or salmon are not only great sources of protein, but boost essential omega 3 fats to enhance muscle recovery and repair. Since they do not require refrigeration, you can keep a can conveniently located in your desk drawer or gym bag as a quick nutritious snack. You can also fold into a wrap, salad or soup for an extra protein boost!
Whatever your activity of choice – walking, running, yoga, gardening, weight-training, or anything else – be sure to stock your pantry with these nutrient powerhouses to help fuel your active lifestyle.
Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND, aka The Running Nutritionist®
Author: Legally Lean: Sports Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Health & Performance
Chief Nutritionist-cTHRUNutrition Global Mobile App