There are a wide range of canned and frozen foods that we can choose from in the supermarket. Walk down many isles and there’s tinned beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit, or another and there’s tinned soup, macaroni cheese and tinned fish. In the frozen section you can find an array of frozen berries, citrus fruits, tropical fruits and vegetables.
But are these foods less nutritious?
Tinned and frozen foods are often labelled as ‘convenience foods’ which comes with the rep of being ‘unhealthy’. However this is not always the case for all tinned and frozen options. While options such as tinned soup or macaroni cheese tend to be higher in salt and sugar, tinned fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and fish can be very nutritious.
The truth is, when tinned or frozen, foods can be just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, especially fruit and vegetables. Often, the produce is picked and frozen immediately to lock in the nutrients, making it no different to fresh produce. Tinned fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel and anchovies can be incredibly nutritious too, particularly oily fish such as salmon.
Not only this, but the longer shelf life can also mean they are easy to buy in bulk and less waste is accumulated. Tinned food especially is perfect for recycling compared to plastic wrapped veggies. The long shelf life can also mean these foods are great in emergencies when you’re running low on food and need a nutritious meal, during a busy week or if you haven’t got round to doing your food shop yet. They can be stocked up in your freezer/cupboard for a long while.
On top of this, these products can be cheap and convenient to buy.
Further advantages include that these products are often available to buy all year round and the option to buy mixed/variety packs can help to add variety to your diet. Mixed bags of fruit for example mixed berries means you’re getting three or more different berries instead of just one or having to buy three different punnets. Mixed bags of vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and peas are great options too.
Choosing to buy tinned or frozen foods is by no means ‘lazy’ as it can often be labelled as. If anything it’s efficient and smart to prioritise still finding ways to include fruits, vegetables, pulses and beans in your diet when you may struggle to do this otherwise. Convenience is needed in today’s society; we all have busy lives and sometimes quick options are needed.
Now, I’m not suggesting a tinned food diet would be recommended over a long period of time. Of course, if you have capacity to buy and cook with fresh food, that’s great! But including these convenience foods in you diet is nothing to shy away from or feel bad about. There are so many benefits to them and can be very accessible. If eating tinned varieties is one easy way you can get fruit or vegetables into your diet, that’s a great thing! Especially if the alternative is not include them at all.