The Most Nutritious Canned Foods To Keep Stocked In Your Pantry - RAJANGIKLAN.COM

The Most Nutritious Canned Foods To Keep Stocked In Your Pantry

Cooking Tips

Zero in on these canned food items that are actually nutritious

Photo: Shutterstock

Canned foods are convenient and easy to cook: Just pop the lid, reheat and they are mostly ready to go. However, they are often regarded as unhealthy choices due to perceived high levels of sodium, sugar and preservatives.

Although they are often thought to be less nutritious than fresh or frozen foods, not all canned products are unhealthy. Some of them are just as nutritious – if not more so – than their fresh counterparts, said Yuliana Zhang, a plant-based nutritionist.

“When it comes to nutrition, all forms count. Many health organisations such as the USDA have recognised that canned, fresh, frozen and dried foods all help to contribute to healthy eating as long as everything is in good balance,” she said.

A study by the University of California, Davis found that fresh vegetables like spinach can lose up to 75 per cent of their vitamin C within seven days of harvest. Blanching and freezing them may help to preserve some nutrients, but not for long.

It’s worth noting that the process of canning preserves food. “The key is to find healthier canned food products, and combine them with fresh ingredients in a meal,” says Yuliana.

“Choose canned products that have a lower amount of sodium, sugar and saturated fat, such as those with the Healthier Choice Symbol. Also check the ingredient list: It should contain simple, key ingredients.”

So the next time you’re at the supermarket, hone in on these healthier canned food options that can last you a long time. Most Nutritious Canned Foods To Keep Stocked In Your PantryCanned tomatoes and tomato products (such as tomato puree and tomato paste)

Lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomato its red colour, is more easily absorbed by the body after cooking or processing. The same goes for other canned vegetables that are high in vitamin A and carotenes, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin. These nutrients are activated through the canning process.

Try this recipe: Spinach And Cheese Cannelloni

For this Italian dish, the main ingredients consist of spinach, tomato puree, stringy cheese and cannelloni tubes. Firstly, place the spinach (after you have squeezed excess liquid from it) with the ricotta cheese and parmesan and season it with salt. Then, fill the cannelloni tubes with the ricotta filling. Next, pour the canned tomato puree into a bowl and stir in sugar, basil and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Finally, spread the tomato mixture over the cannelloni tubes and bake in the oven for 30 mins at 180 C.

John Paul Urizar/

Fresh fruits are always preferred, but if you’re short of time to buy and cut them up, having canned fruits is not such a bad idea. Based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adults who incorporated canned fruits and vegetables into their diets had an overall higher consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as nutrient intake than those who did not.

Tip: Be sure to choose canned fruits in their own juice. If your canned fruit has added sugar, drain and rinse the fruit to reduce the sugar and salt level.

Try this recipe: Baked Peach Crumbles

This dessert serves up warm baked peaches with ice cream, with an added crunch from the cereal clusters. To make it, rub butter into a bowl of sifted flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Continue to mix the mixture with sugar, almonds and cereal. Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over peach halves from the can and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Top it off with ice-cream of your choice.

Fatty fish like sardines and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, the two essential nutrients that most Singaporeans lack. Omega-3 is a good fat that helps to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels that’s essential for brain and heart health. Vitamin D is important to aid calcium absorption for bone health. An increasing number of studies have found a lack of vitamin D to be linked with various chronic diseases.

Including canned fatty fish in your meal plan can help you meet the Health Promotion Board’s recommendation to have at least two servings of fish a week. One serving is equivalent to one palm-size or 90g of cooked fish.

Tip: Don’t chuck the bones from canned sardines; they are an additional source of calcium. Mash them with the meat for easier consumption.

A popular breakfast or snack in Singapore and Malaysia, this sardine Roti John recipe is easy to make. To make it, mince a can of sardines in a bowl and add in the chopped onions and sliced red chillies. Whisk in the eggs into the mixture. After it’s done, spread the mixture onto bread and fry it with the mixture face down, in a pan that has been heated up with olive oil. When one side turns golden brown, turn it over and fry the other side.

A good source of fibre and minerals, canned peas, beans, lentils and the like are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free. So consider swopping dried beans for canned beans if you’re short of preparation time. Canned beans are cheaper too.

Try this recipe: Vegetable And White Bean Soup

This hearty and filling vegetable soup recipe is inspired by the classic minestrone, and packs a double punch with canned beans and canned tomatoes. To make it, first saute the hard vegetables and bacon, then add stock, water, tomatoes and soup mix. Simmer, then stir in the beans and simmer further. Eat it with bread or rice!

Text: Estelle Low/Shape, Additional reporting: Sheila Chiang & Elizabeth Liew

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