“Fresh” should be your first choice when purchasing produce, whether from your grocer’s produce section or the farmers market. Fresh produce is usually higher in nutritional value than frozen or canned — especially if purchased from a local farmers market. However, it’s not always practical or even possible to purchase produce fresh. There are instances when purchasing canned or frozen may make more sense:
- Price – Canned vegetables may be less expensive than fresh options.
- Out-of-season – Perhaps the produce you need or want to purchase isn’t in season. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can provide the perfect solution.
- Convenience – You may not have time to chop, prepare or cook fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Waste – Fresh produce has a short shelf life in comparison to canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.
Eating daily recommended portions is key
It’s perfectly okay to substitute frozen or canned vegetables for fresh. When it comes to fruits and vegetables and your health, the key is making sure you eat enough every day. The American Dietetic Assocation recommends eating 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables daily.
Avoid added sugar and salt
Canned and frozen vegetables may have added sugars and salt. To minimize sugar, The American Dietetic Association suggests looking for unsweetened fruit packed in its own juice or fruit juice. Also, choosing vegetables with “no salt added” or “reduced sodium” stated on the label is best.
A nice visual demonstration for substituting canned and frozen for fresh can be seen in this short video from the American Dietetic Assocation.