Create a Balanced Meal from a Can

by Megan

Soon enough Wisconsin weather will be changing from beautiful red, yellow, and orange trees to snow covered sidewalks and roads, making grocery shopping even more of a dreaded chore. Usually when you think of food from a can, red flags emerge thinking you are about to have a salt and sugar overload. When chosen properly, canned food can be healthy. Here are dietician’s top choices of readymade foods that can be eaten alone or created into a well balanced meal.

Low Sodium Soups:
It is important to be savvy when shopping for reduced and low sodium soup. According to the current standards, soup brands only have to reduce their sodium content by 25% to be able to slap reduced sodium on their label. It is not uncommon for a can of soup to contain upwards of 800 milligrams of sodium and cutting 25% of it, making it about 600 milligrams of sodium, is still an overwhelming amount of sodium to consume in one meal. Labels that read low sodium must have less than 140 milligrams of sodium according to USDA guidelines which make them a much healthier option, and taste oh so good when the weather has turned frigid!

Love Legumes: Beans would rank king of the canned food aisle when based on a nutritional hierarchy. They are a perfect food to have at any meal because they are low in fat, and high in fiber and protein. When a person consumes a meal high in fiber they will feel more full and will eat less, therefore they will consume a fewer amount of calories. Beans such as kidney, navy, and chickpeas are versatile by being able to throw them into a salad, soup, or wrap instantly amplifying the nutrition of that meal. “A
2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that people who ate chickpeas regularly experienced greater weight loss than people who simply followed a low-calorie diet.” You can also eliminate some of the sodium found in canned veggies by simply rinsing them or by buying brands such as Del Monte which have no or low sodium options.

Many varieties of canned fruit are swimming in a sea of sugary syrup in which you would be better off consuming a candy bar. Pears, peaches, and many other citrus fruit have sugars added to them that naturally sweet foods don’t need. Choose fruit that contains 100% juice or water. Canned fruit can be a quick additive to your yogurt or oatmeal, making it a more filling healthy option.

Chicken of the Sea
: Tuna is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which many of us are not getting enough of in our diet. It is very important to buy tuna that is canned with water not oil. Tuna canned in oil contains 5 times the amount of saturated fats than its counterpart. Fat and calories can also be cut by skipping the mayo and using a couple tablespoons of hummus instead.

While looking into healthy canned options, I came across which is a website created by the
Canned Food Alliance (CFA) to promote the nutritional and convenient benefits of canned foods. They even have some great tips and recipes. Do you have any great healthy recipes for canned products? I’d love to hear from you!


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