March 30, 2009

Frozen, Canned Fruits, Vegetables Help Save You Green

If the recession requires you to cut back on expenses, don't overlook frozen or canned fruits and vegetables as healthy and less expensive alternatives to the fresh versions, said an expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"You might be surprised to know that frozen or canned options are just as nutritious or sometimes even more nutritious than fresh fruits and vegetables," said Molly Gee, a registered dietitian at BCM.

Companies that make frozen or canned fruits and vegetables must pack the items at their peak, said Gee. While some vitamins and minerals are lost in the fresh foods due to the time it takes to get them from the field to the plate, these vitamins and minerals are present in the canned or frozen versions.

However, she warns that it's still important to read the labels on canned or frozen items to be sure that they are preserved in their own natural juices and that no sugar is added.  

Frozen meals can also be a good option for saving some money and maintaining a healthy weight, said Gee. Although there are many varieties to try, Gee suggests reading the labels to see how many calories are present and where the calories are coming from.

"Only 30 percent of the calories should be from fat. That's 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories," she said.

If high blood pressure is a concern, consider reduced sodium options. For other family members who are not calorie conscious, Gee recommends adding sides to a frozen meal, such as a soup, salad or a whole grain roll.

Other great economic buys include canned meats, canned soups and dried or canned beans. Buying items in bulk is also an option.  

Gee says to be sure not to compromise taste when considering economic options.

"Taste is important. There are a variety of foods out there, so experiment and try new options," said Gee. 


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