As we continue to hunker down and stay home more often, many of us might be wondering what we are going to eat throughout this situation and how we can stock up on foods without worrying about food going to waste. A lot of us think that fresh fruits and vegetables are the healthiest of options when in actuality, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables can be just as good! No matter what form our fruits and veggies take- we can still reap great vitamin and mineral benefits from them!
When shopping for canned fruits, look for those that are “packed in its own juice,” “packed in 100% juice,” “unsweetened,” or “no added sugar.” Avoid fruits packed in syrup, which contained more added sugars. Look for vegetables that are canned with “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” to keep sodium intake in check. You can also rinse canned vegetables in water to decrease the amount of sodium.
What’s in the Freezer?
The freezer isle is a great place to find fruits and vegetables that may not even be in season (in the fresh section) yet! You can avoid added salt and fat by purchasing plain frozen vegetables (instead of those packed in sauce) and season them up as you like at home! Also, be mindful of the fruits you choose- some are packed with added sugar. Read the food labels to determine if the fruit you are buying is of the unsweetened variety.
Dried Nuts and Fruits
Finally, dried fruits can be an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C, folate and potassium. The serving sizes will be smaller for dried fruit versus fresh. For example, a serving of raisins is ¼ cup and contains 120 calories. A serving of fresh grapes is approximately 1 cup and contains 104 calories. Be sure to check the label on dried fruit packages as some will contain added sugar. I recommend having dried fruits as an easy “on the go” snack and mixing it in with some of your favorite nuts and/or seeds! You can also add these fruits easily to cereals, bread recipes and salads!
So, be it fresh, frozen, canned or dried- we can all get our fruits and vegetables!
As a child, I used to make A LOT of granola and trail mix! Below is an easy recipe for a Heart Healthy snack mix I think you will enjoy! Low in sodium and high in antioxidants, you won’t have to feel bad about indulging!
Heart Healthy Mix
- 1 Cup plain almonds (look for unsalted variety)
- ¾ Cup pecans (either pieces or halves)
- ½ Cup walnut pieces
- ½ Cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 Cup dried cherries
- 1 Cup dried apples
- ¼ to ½ Cup mini dark chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together.
- Store trail mix in an sealed/air tight container or pre-portioned bags for on the go snacking.
From Rebecca Kapsen, RDN, LDN | Corporate Registered Dietitian, Ebenezer