It’s no secret that we all should be eating our veggies. They make nutrients naturally bioavailable to us and give us a healthy dose of fiber. But have you ever wondered if you can get the same quality, vitamins, and nutrients by choosing frozen or canned vegetables instead of preparing them fresh? We have answers.
Are fresh vegetables the best?
There is nothing like biting into a ripe tomato grown in your own garden. However, not everyone has that option. Vegetables may be harvested, and travel some distance, before being stocked on grocery shelves. Proper storage of vegetables is needed to help retain the nutrients. Try to limit storage time for better taste and to reap the full nutritional benefits of fresh produce. Light, heat and oxygen are natural destroyers of the vitamins found in vegetables.
Verdict: For quality of taste, some would argue that fresh vegetables have an edge above the rest.
How do frozen vegetables compare?
Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen at their peak of freshness. There is less worry about spoilage with frozen veggies, and they can still be used in a variety of dishes such as soups and stews. In general, fresh veggies will offer more crunch than frozen vegetables, but when it comes to nutrition, frozen vegetables can offer the same amount of vitamins found in fresh-picked produce. Frozen vegetables are a solid option for those worried about food waste and looking to increase their vegetable consumption on a budget.
Verdict: When it comes to nutrition, frozen vegetables contain the same amount of vitamins because they’re frozen at the peak of freshness.
What about canned?
Like frozen vegetables, canned vegetables are processed right after harvesting for minimal loss of nutrients. Canned vegetables have relatively long shelf lives compared to frozen and fresh vegetables. That being said, the added sugar and salt found in canned vegetables can be a concerning. To avoid excessive sodium intake, read labels and look for canned vegetables that don’t contain added salt.
Verdict: Canning causes little nutrient loss. However, added salt or sugar in canned produce may be concerning for some. Read labels and make an informed choice when buying canned.
Are nutrients lost when you cook vegetables?
In most cases, the less cooking you do, the better. This means that eating vegetables raw or minimally cooked will help you derive the most nutritional benefits. However, that’s not always the most appetizing way to eat them! A good cooking option is to microwave or steam veggies, or cook them in water to aid water-soluble vitamin retention.
Eating a combination of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables will give you and your family a variety of flavors throughout the year while providing you with a range of micronutrients (and fiber) that veggies naturally deliver.