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Flavourful Vegetables and Fruit All Winter Long

January 13, 2015 by Sophia Baker-French, Registered Dietitian

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Thinking outside of the vegetable crisper makes it easier to fill half your plate with veggies and fruit at each meal. Canned or frozen vegetables and fruit are tasty, healthy, and affordable alternatives to fresh produce, especially in the winter months - a time of year when you may find it harder to meet the 7-10 daily servings recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. Worried that canned and frozen vegetables and fruits lack vitamins and minerals? No need.

Although there’s a little nutrient loss during processing, for the most part, it’s no more than when we cook fresh produce. Canned and frozen veggies and fruit are picked when ripe and then immediately processed before nutrients begin to naturally degrade. Because they’re “picked in their prime” canned and frozen produce are also full of flavor! A bonus is that these veggies and fruit are already washed, cut and ready to use.

All vegetable and fruit products have a shelf life. Look for the best before or expiration date. If you’re making your own, here are links to help estimate the shelf life for different frozen and canned products. Here’s more on The Benefits of Preserving Veggies and Fruit.

Do you like the idea of adding extra vegetables and fruit to your meals without adding extra work?
Here are some ideas for using frozen, canned and dried vegetables and fruit.

Purchasing Tips Serving Suggestions Suggested Veggies and Fruit
Frozen vegetables
  • Stretch your food budget by freezing your own veggies during the peak summer season. You can use veggies fresh from your garden, the farmer’s market or the store.
  • Heat and serve frozen veggies as a side dish.
  • Add them to pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, homemade or store bought soups, casseroles or bakes, and frittatas.
  • Cook frozen veggies with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and barley.
  • Spinach, kale and collards
  • Winter squash
  • Peas
  • Diced mixed veggies
  • Cauliflower
Canned vegetables
  • Look for canned vegetables with low or no sodium. Aim for items with less than 15% Daily Value (DV) for sodium.
  • Drain and rinse canned vegetables to lower the salt content.
  • Canned veggies don’t have to be cooked and can be used in the same ways as frozen veggies.
  • Try adding them directly to bean or grain salads.
  • Tomatoes
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Green beans
  • Beets
  • Artichoke hearts, packed in water not oil
Frozen fruit
  • Choose unsweetened frozen fruit.
  • Save money by freezing your own fruit in the summer. Wash and chop fresh fruit, then arrange on a tray and freeze before bagging and labelling with the date. Save the Berries has more information.
  • Heat it on the stove or in microwave for a snack, dessert, or topping on cereal or yogurt.
  • Add it to grain salads.
  • Bake it into whole grain bread or muffins. (Learn about Better Baking.)
  • Blend it into smoothies.
  • Cook it as a filling for crumbles or crisps.
Canned fruit
  • Choose water or juice packed products with no added sugar.
  • Canned fruit doesn’t have to be cooked and can be used in the same ways as frozen fruit.
  • They can top salads, yogurt, oatmeal or cold breakfast cereal.
  • They make a naturally sweet snack or dessert.
  • Peaches, cherries, pears, pineapple, and mandarin oranges packed in water or juice
  • 100% apple sauce or other unsweetened fruit sauce

Related blogs

Benefits of Preserving Veggies and Fruit
Veggies. Your Best Nutritional Value for the Money

Recommended resources

Healthy Families BC: Vegetables and Fruit
Half Your Plate: Recipes
Canada Food Guide: What is a Food Guide Serving?

 

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