If you are eating fruits and vegetables, then you are off to a great start but as consumers we are still faced with many options. Are there any significant differences among fresh, frozen, canned or even dried? The American Dietetic Association says “no matter what form they take, fruits and vegetables are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time.” Just follow these tips:
- Pick ’em Fresh: When fruits and vegetables are in season, buy them fresh. Their price will be lower due to the higher quantities of them available, which makes them an even better choice.
- Forgo the Fat: Choose vegetables and fruits that are plain and not frozen with special sauces or syrups.
- Check the Label: If you are restricting your sugar intake, look for ‘unsweetened’ or ‘packed in its own juices’ descriptions on fruit packaging labels.
- Long Lasting: Fruits and vegetables that are frozen can be stored longer than frozen ones and tend to be the most economical.
- Wash ’em: Canned vegetables are high in sodium but don’t worry because rinsing them can reduce their sodium content by up to 50%.
- Pinch the Salt: Look for ‘no salt added’ or ‘reduced sodium” descriptions for canned vegetables.
- Avoid the Syrup: Look for descriptions on the labels like ‘packed in fruit juice,’ ‘unsweetened’. Canned fruits packed in juices instead of syrup have less added sugar and calories.
- Savor the Flavor: Canned produce can lose flavor and nutritional value, so used them immediately after opening.
- Shelf Savvy: Fruits and vegetables have a long shelf life and are an easy meal option to have on hand.
- Choose the Plain: Dried fruits hold lots of fiber and Vitamin A&Cbut contain more sugar than fresh fruit.
References for Fresh, Frozen, or Canned? What is there to Understand?: http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=4294967998. Nutrition Education for MARCH 2011. Produced by Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County by Kimberly Shubert, a nutrition intern for Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D. For questions regarding nutritional information, please contact Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D., Director of Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels, Inc. Tarrant County at (817) 336-0912 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org