Tip of the Day
National Canned Food Month
During the month of February, we celebrate National Canned Food Month. Seemingly limitless varieties of canned foods appear on today's supermarket shelves, offering a wide variety of nutritious alternatives to fresh fruits and vegetables and quick and convenient meals. Some benefits of canned foods include:
- Long shelf life. Canned fruits and vegetables are preservative-free; the canning process (high temperatures and sterile containers) destroys organisms that would cause spoilage. Canned food remains safe as long as the container remains intact. Although many canned foods are coded with "use by" dates, you should to rotate your supply at least every other year.
- Nutritious. Canned foods – and dishes made with canned ingredients – are nutritionally similar to cooked fresh, according to research, and perhaps more so if fresh foods aren't handled properly. For example, lycopene in canned tomatoes is more bioavailable, or easily absorbed, than in uncooked fresh tomatoes.
- Convenient, portable, quick. They're ready to eat. Canned soups, stews and vegetables only need heating since they're already cooked in the can.
- Cans are very tamper-resistant. Any opening is clearly evident. Rust spots on the outer surface or dents don't affect the contents of the can as long as the can doesn't bulge or leak.
- Food safety is important with canned foods. Be sure to use canned goods immediately after opening. Leftovers are perishable and need to be refrigerated in a clean, sealed container to retain taste and nutritional quality.
- Remember to choose canned foods labeled low-sodium, or check the nutrition facts label to choose low-sodium options. Learn more about sodium labeling here.
For more information on leading a healthier lifestyle, consult a registered dietitian in your area and visit our Eat Right Nutrition Tips.
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Reviewed December 2012