Canned, fresh, and frozen. Which is better?
As a Nutritionist, it has come to my attention that many people feel that frozen and canned vegetables are a poor substitution for the "real" thing, fresh vegetables that is.
The fact of the matter is, unless we are talking about fresh vegetables from your own garden or from a local farmer purchased at a farm stand or farmers market, the differences in nutrient content between fresh, frozen and canned are often not substantial enough to consider any of them to be poor substitutions.
Once we cut a veggie off from the plant or pull it from the soil (its life source), it starts declining in nutrient content, so the sooner we eat it or preserve it, the more nutrients we get. Additionally, the more we do to the vegetable, like process it through heating/blanching the more nutrients are lost.
With both frozen and canned vegetables, the vegetable is preserved close to its life source. The flash freezing technology used to preserve vegetables is excellent, I wouldn't be surprised if we found that some of our frozen vegetables are higher in nutrient content than our fresh. Canned vegetables go through a bit more processing as part of the preserving process, but studies have shown that much of the fiber and vitamins are still intact.
As a side note, have you ever wondered why canning vegetables is so en vogue right now but eating canned vegetables notsomuch?
What I'm trying to say, is that canned vegetables are still good for you. And so are frozen, perhaps even more so then fresh in some cases.
Fresh vegetables that we purchase in the grocery store often travel a long way to get to us and sometimes are still chemically processed to maintain color and freshness on the shelf. All three options, canned, fresh and frozen, go through nutrient loss.
So in no way am I trying to paint a dismal picture of nutrient depleted vegetables. Quite the opposite. What I'm trying to say is that especially with all of the demands that we have regarding time and finances, we should feel good about choosing any of these vegetable options, they are all providing nutrients, they are all good for us, and none are poor substitutions for the other. What is important is that we are eating enough vegetables and according to last week's release of the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee (talk about a mouthful), Americans are still not eating enough.
So canned, fresh or frozen, which is better? This Nutritionist says whichever one you are eating 5 servings of a day.
If you are interested in receiving more nutrition information and recipes, please subscribe to my blog so that you don't miss out!