Think canned foods are bad for your health? Guess again. Many canned foods like pinto beans, canned pumpkin and smoked mackerel have essential vitamins like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin A, and also high protein.
A study conducted by the University of Illinois even proved that canned varieties of fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts in the produce section, having the same amount of vitamins and dietary fiber.
So you don’t have to sacrifice your family’s health just because you’re on a tight food budget.
Here are the 9 best canned foods you should be storing in your pantry:
- Canned salmon
Canned salmons deserves top billing as best canned foods because it is a powerhouse of nutrition; salmon is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. And because canned salmon manufacturers leave the bones in, you get added bone-strengthening calcium into the mix as well. For picky eaters, mash the soft bones into the salmon well and add a dollop of low cholesterol light mayonnaise.
- Canned pinto beans
Sure, you could get dried pinto beans and soak them overnight…but why bother?
There’s no real nutritional difference between the old school method and cutting open a can of beans. Canned pinto beans are high in protein, folate and manganese. For a healthier version of refried beans, try mashing pinto beans with an immersion blender. Cook it up in the microwave, add some hot sauce, a dash of olive oil and salt for flavor, and serve it up with hot salsa and tortillas.
- Canned tomatoes
You say tomato…canned or fresh, tomatoes are full of vitamin C for a healthy immune system. And canned tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant found in ketchup which becomes more effective by the heating process involved in making canned fruits and vegetables. Canned tomatoes are a flavorful addition to soups and stews.
- Canned smoked mackerel
Canned smoked mackerel- another score for vitamin B12. Smoked mackerel is also loaded with brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Canned fish is a great packing option for camping, hiking or trips; also a nutritious staple to store for emergencies, along with a package of high fiber crackers.
- Canned sardines
Scoring a home run for B12, canned sardines have high protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The tomato sauce varieties also contain the antioxidant lycopene. Look out for a low sodium brand of canned sardines for a healthy alternative. Kids don’t like sardines? Cook up some fish patties- mash up a can of sardines, add an egg, some bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of mayo and their favorite seasoning. Pan fry in olive oil until brown.
- Canned kidney beans
Just like pinto beans, canned kidney beans are another great vegan source of B12 and high protein which are just as healthy in a can. Canned beans are also high in fiber, iron and vitamin B1. Make a delicious French bean salad with canned kidney beans, canned beets, flavored vinegar and sliced red onions.
Avoid the sugary canned pumpkin pie fillings; all natural canned pumpkin puree has 500 times the amount of recommended vitamin A, along with high fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and magnesium. Incorporate into a healthy pumpkin pie recipe by substituting sugar with agave nectar or pure maple syrup.
- Canned clams
Clams are high in vitamin B12, iron (more than in red meat), omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, but they also contain zinc, which is great for the immune system. Stir up a clam chowder and pass the croutons.
- Canned chicken
Another great staple item to keep in your pantry for emergencies, canned chicken is loaded with vitamin B12, high protein, selenium and niacin. Cook up a pot of spicy chicken jumbo using canned chicken, canned okra, canned tomatoes and some fresh hot peppers.