We Heart Canned Food! Tips for Eating for a Healthy Heart
By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND
Author of 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart and The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition
It’s fitting that February – the month in which we celebrate love and Valentine’s Day – is American Heart Month. And because canned foods can keep the heart happy and healthy, it’s fun to celebrate National Canned Food Month too. Isn’t now the perfect time to make heart-healthy eating a priority? Here’s a lineup of canned foods you – and your heart – will love.
Beans. Rich in fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium and several phytochemical health boosters, beans are linked to lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and even a lowered risk of having a second heart attack. Aim for several servings per week.
- Drain and rinse canned beans to reduce about 40% of the sodium.
- Add drained and rinsed canned beans to prepared soups or on top of a green salad.
- Thicken a favorite soup with mashed cannellini beans.
- Replace flour with pureed black beans in brownies and other chocolate desserts.
- Toss canned black beans and corn with salsa for a super-fast salad or topping for grilled fish or chicken.
Fish. Reel in canned tuna, salmon and sardines. Each is rich in heart-shielding omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice weekly.
- Keep cans of tuna and salmon on hand to toss together a quick sandwich or salad.
- Cook a big batch of tuna or salmon patties for dinner; freeze some for lunches over the next few weeks.
- Top whole grain crackers with sardines mashed with mustard and onions.
Fruits and Vegetables. Sadly, most Americans continue to fall far short of meeting the recommended fruit and vegetable intake. With canned F&V in your pantry, however, there’s no need go without the health-shielding powers of fruits and veggies. What under-consumed nutrients do they supply? Fiber, potassium, folate and so much more!
- When selecting vegetables, choose low sodium and no salt added varieties most often. Not ready for all low sodium canned products? Mix the low sodium and regular varieties together.
- Stock up on canned fruits packed in 100% juice; put a serving of canned fruit in lunchboxes.
- Bulk up soups, stews and casseroles with your favorite canned vegetables.
See why I heart canned foods? They make it quick and easy to enjoy heart-healthy nutrition! Cheers to happy, healthy eating!