Nutrition by the Can

Canned foods are an easy, cost-effective way to eat healthy year-round. They are a simple, realistic way people can incorporate nutrients into meals and meet the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines. What’s even better is that there are more than 1,500 varieties of delicious and nutritious canned foods available today. For a quick glimpse at nutrition facts and tips for how to use in a recipe, click below on some of the most commonly used canned ingredients.

 

 

Fruits

 

 

Peaches

Canned Peaches

  • Picked at the height of ripeness, canned peaches are nutritionally on par with fresh.
  • Vitamin C levels in canned peaches are 4 times higher than in fresh and folate levels are 10 times higher*.
  • The store price of a serving of canned peaches is about 39 cents less than an equal serving of fresh peaches, depending on the season.  This makes peaches a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy this delicious fruit year-round.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Peaches:

  • Freeze one can of sliced peaches in juice until solid and then blend with 1.5 cups of sugar-free lemonade and 6-ounces of low-fat or nonfat yogurt for a refreshing drink.
  • Peaches make a perfect breakfast topper!  Sweeten your oatmeal with a cup of diced canned peaches or use in lieu of syrup on your waffles to add a serving of fruit to your breakfast.
  • Take your savory dishes to the next level by adding diced peaches to your salsas, chicken or turkey wraps and even grilled salmon.

*Journal Sci Food Agric, 2013 93:593-603

Pears

Pear Facts

canned pears

  • Canned foods often provide needed nutrients at a lower cost than fresh, frozen, and dried forms, particularly when price, waste, and time to prepare are considered.
  • Canned pears are a convenient and easy way to add fruit to your diet.
  • All forms – canned, fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice – of fruits and vegetables provide needed nutrients that make up a healthy diet.
  • From a nutrition and sensory standpoint, recipes prepared with canned ingredients and those prepared using cooked fresh and/or frozen ingredients rate comparably.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Pears:

  • When a recipe calls for a poached pear, simply use a can of pear halves.
  • Freeze one can of slide pears in juice until solid and then blend with 1.5 cups of sugar-free lemonade and 6-ounces of low-fat or nonfat yogurt for a refreshing drink.
  • Puree canned pears to add to soups as a thickener or even to smoothies and salad dressings.
  • Roast canned pears with rosemary pecans and olive oil, then combine with cranberry sauce for a quick and easy Thanksgiving relish.
Pineapple

Canned Pineapple

canned pineapple

  • Canned foods often provide needed nutrients at a lower cost than fresh, frozen, and dried forms, particularly when price, waste, and time to prepare are considered.
  • Canned pineapple is an affordable, convenient, and easy way to get fruit into your diet ear-round.
  • All forms – canned, fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice – of fruits and vegetables provide needed nutrients that make up a healthy diet.
  • From a nutrition and sensory standpoint, recipes prepared with canned ingredients and those prepared using cooked fresh and/or frozen ingredients rate comparably.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Pineapple

  • Make a colorful and classic fruit compote by combining canned, drained pineapple chunks, fresh seedless red and green grapes, and slivers of dried apricots.  Lightly douse the fruits with pineapple juice that is drained from the can.
  • Freeze one can of crushed pineapple in juice until solid and then blend with any low-fat yogurt.  Add ice and other fruits to your liking.
  • Top frozen yogurt, cottage cheese, waffles, salads, and even pork, chicken, or salmon with canned pineapple.

 

 

Vegetables

 

 

Corn

Canned Corn

canned cornThe absorption of lutein in corn, an antioxidant that may reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration, is enhanced by heat from the canning process.

When looking at purchase price alone, fresh corn is less expensive than canned or frozen.

However, when the cost of waste (most notably the cob) is factored in, as well as time to prepare, canned corn offers the same amount of dietary fiber with a 25% savings compared to fresh and the same amount of folate with a 75% cost savings when compared to fresh.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Corn:

  • Create roasted corn in a skillet with 1 can of corn and a little bit of olive oil.
  • Add corn to mac ‘n cheese for an added dose of lutein.
  • Corn adds color nutrition and flavor to salsas, salads, and soups.
  • Open and serve, season to taste for a classic side dish for any meal.
Green Beans

Canned Green Beans

canned green beansCanned green beans contribute fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and folate, among other important nutrients.

When the cost of preparation time is considered, canned green beans provide fiber and folate at a lower cost than fresh and frozen.

Canned green beans require no preservatives.  Once the vegetables are picked and packed at the peak of ripeness, they’re cooked quickly at high temperatures and sterilized in steel cans to keep in nutrients.

Most companies that pack canned green beans are located very close to the field where they are grown.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Green Beans:

  • Finely chop green beans and mix in with ground beef before baking meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Serve with butter, Worcestershire, lemon juice, cumin, and slivered almonds for a fancy, delicious side dish!
  • Open, heat, serve!
Peas

Canned Peas

canned peas

  • Canned foods often provide needed nutrients at a lower cost than fresh, frozen, and dried forms, particularly when price, waste, and time to prepare are considered.
  • Canned peas are a convenient and easy way to add vegetables to your diet.
  • All forms – canned, fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice – of fruits and vegetables provide needed nutrients that make up a healthy diet.
  • From a nutrition and sensory standpoint, recipes prepared with canned ingredients and those prepared using cooked fresh and/or frozen ingredients rate comparably.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Peas:

  • Puree a can of peas with a mixture of seasonings and herbs to make a salad dressing that’s half the fat and an added serving of vegetables.
  • Add peas to brown rice, soups, or salads for an added serving of vegetables.
Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

canned tomatoes

  • One-half cup of canned tomatoes provides 20% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C.
  • It is nearly 60 percent more expensive to obtain dietary fiber from fresh tomatoes as from the same portion of canned tomatoes. Not only is the price of canned tomatoes lower than fresh for the same serving size, but fresh tomatoes take longer to prepare, adding to the total cost of fresh.
  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, an important carotenoid, which may help protect against prostate cancer and heart disease.
  • One-half cup of canned tomatoes provides 11.8 milligrams of lycopene compared to just 3.7 milligrams found in one medium fresh, uncooked tomato.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Tomatoes:

  • Use cilantro-flavored canned, chopped tomatoes for a quick salsa, or use them as a topping on a baked potato.
  • Flavor plain diced canned tomatoes with a bit of ground cumin and serve warm as a sauce for chicken or fish.
  • Give your favorite vegetable soup a nutritional punch by adding any type of your favorite canned tomatoes.
  • Top nachos or tacos with canned diced tomatoes packed with green chiles to add flavor, nutrition and to avoid chopping.

 

 

Protein

 

 

Chicken

Canned Chicken

canned chicken

  • Canned poultry is comparable to its fresh-cooked counterparts in nutritional value.
  • Protein is not lost during the canning process.
  • Canned chicken is a quick, affordable, and easy way to serve protein in a meal.
  • Canned chicken is low in fat and calories.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Chicken

  • Combine canned chicken, chopped celery, light mayonnaise (and whatever other ingredients you like – hard-boiled egg, grapes, canned mandarin oranges) for a quick and easy chicken salad.
  • Substitute canned chicken for cooked chicken in dips and other dishes.  No cooking or cutting the chicken necessary.

Top salads with canned chicken for added protein.

Pinto Beans

Canned Pinto Beans

canned pinto beans

  • When the cost of preparation time is taken into consideration, canned pinto beans cost $1 less per serving as a source of protein and fiber than bagged dried beans.  This is because it takes about six minutes to prepare a can of pinto beans while it takes almost 2 1/2 hours (soaking and cooking) for bagged dried beans to be meal-ready.
  • Did you know canned beans are the only protein source that doubles as a fiber?  In fact, one serving of canned beans provides 20% or more of daily fiber needs.
  • Research shows draining and rinsing canned beans reduces sodium content per serving by 41%.  Draining alone resulted in a 36% sodium reduction.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Pinto Beans:

  • Top nachos with beans for added flavor and nutrition
  • Add a can of beans to your favorite chili or soup recipe, or to a fresh salad to boost flavor and nutrition.
  • Open, heat, and serve! No soaking overnight or cooking for hours, since they’re already cooked!
Salmon

Canned Salmon
canned salmon

 

  • Canned salmon is comparable to its fresh-cooked salmon in nutritional value.
  • Protein is not lost during the canning process, and some varieties of canned fish, including salmon, tend to have higher calcium levels than their freshly cooked counterparts.
  • Canned salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and, comparable to fresh, it contains more calcium for your bones and teeth.  Also, some of the fat is removed, making it a healthier option.
  • Canned Salmon offers an affordable and easy-to-prepare source of protein.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Salmon:

  • Combine one can of wild salmon with 2 chopped celery sticks, 2 chopped green onions, and a tablespoon of nut butter (hemp, almond, etc.) for a tasty vegetable dip.
  • Top salads with canned salmon for added protein.
  • Open and serve – no cooking necessary.
 
Tuna

Canned Tuna
canned tuna

 

  • Canned tuna is a great source of heart-healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against heart disease.
  • It is less expensive to get folate, protein, and vitamin A from canned tuna than from fresh or frozen.  For example, each gram of protein found in canned tuna costs 18 cents less than the equivalent amount of protein in fresh and 25 cents less per gram than frozen tuna.
  • Canned tuna offers an affordable and easy-to-prepare source of protein.

Quick Tips for Using Canned Tuna:

  • Combine canned tuna, chopped celery, light mayonnaise (and whatever other ingredients you like – hard-boiled egg, grapes, canned mandarin oranges) for a quick and easy tuna salad.
  • Add drained canned tuna to pasta or mac ‘n cheese for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Top salads with canned tuna for added protein.
  • Open and serve – no cooking necessary.