As meal planning continues to be a stressful addition to all things COVID-19, we wanted to provide some helpful ideas for some of those canned foods you may have sitting around. Canned foods can be a healthy start to endless meals. They get a bad rap for not being as healthy as fresh or frozen; however, they can be a very healthy start to an easy, affordable, nourishing meal.
First, when purchasing canned fruit, vegetables and beans, look at the nutrition facts label and view the ingredients list. For canned fruit, the fruit should be packed in water or 100% fruit juice rather than a sugar-containing syrup. When purchasing canned vegetables or beans, look for low-sodium options. You can also rinse the vegetables and beans to remove additional sodium. When purchasing soups, look for more broth based and “Reduced Sodium” if possible. You can also make your own soups at home by starting with a base such as reduced sodium beef, chicken or vegetable broth. If this is not an option in the stores, you can buy the regular canned beans and rinse them to remove additional sodium. Now, what can we do with all these items?
- Throw together great soups like this 7 Can Chicken Taco Soup or this 5 Ingredient Pesto Bean Soup.
- Add canned black beans to ground meat tacos to increase volume and add fiber.
- Serve canned vegetables as side dishes or add to casseroles.
- Throw fruit cups into a picnic basket with cheese and crackers and head out on an afternoon picnic.
- Mix together chicken or tuna salad for lunch or serve on warm toast for a hearty dinner.
- Make black bean enchiladas with cheese and your favorite salsa.
- Throw together a Canned Bean Chili with or without meat.
- Add canned tomato products to anything and everything as they are a wonderfully healthy food. Add tomato sauce to ground beef dishes like tacos. Add diced tomatoes to soups or to top homemade pizzas. The options are endless.
Now, start working your way through that pantry!