Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables

by Kim Cooper

If we are honest, most of us, including me, sometimes get eating snack foods that I probably shouldn’t be eating. We all know how important fruits and vegetables are in terms of a healthy diet, but we just don’t eat enough of them for many reasons.

Sometimes, reaching for a snack is easier and seems to be more exciting than eating fruits and vegetables, which can also be more expensive than other foods.
Dr. Alison Duncan, who is a registered dietitian and professor in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, has some useful ideas to get more fruits and vegetables in our diet.

Dr. Duncan says that “fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  There is no downside to consuming fruits and vegetables and the good news is there are so many choices, so many forms and they make your diet so interesting and colourful.”

That alone should be more than enough motivation for all of us to achieve the daily goals of 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day as outlined by Canada’s Food Guide.
There’s nothing better than biting into fresh Ontario apples, strawberries, carrots, sweet potatoes and so many other locally grown food products. Many have the perception that fresh food is the best, even though some fresh foods can spoil fairly quickly.

Dr. Duncan says this about frozen or canned food products. “Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed as either fresh, frozen or canned with all of their nutritional value. In fact, fruits and vegetables are often frozen or canned when they are at their peak in quality. Dietary fibre content does not change in processing, storage and cooking of fruits and vegetables and so is similar among fresh, frozen and canned.”
So not only do frozen and canned fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients, they also offer some advantages.
Dr. Duncan notes that “the number one advantage of consuming frozen or canned produce is convenience.  You can easily store them at home and have them on hand at all times. Another advantage is cost.  You can often get frozen or canned produce on sale and since they are frozen or canned, you can buy them in larger quantities and store them so you do have them available.  A third advantage is that it means you are consuming fruits and vegetables, and this is the best advantage of all since it benefits your personal health.”
So fresh, frozen or canned – the bottom line is that all of us need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Let’s start this week to just do it. And make sure you buy food products with the Product of Canada label on them whenever you can. It’s good for you and great for our economy.

Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com

Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: kim.e.cooper@gmail.com

You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’

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