During this unique time-period of COVID-19, people bought lots of canned and frozen products because of the need for longer shelf items. Canned and frozen foods are healthy choices, but especially if one has limited refrigeration, does not want to grocery shop as often, and does not want their food to spoil quickly. These products are convenient, affordable, nutritious, healthy, and tasty despite what pop-culture nutrition makes you think.
In fact, fruits and vegetables used for canning and frozen are picked at peak freshness and ensured the best flavor and nutrient quality. For example, canned products can be just as nutritious as fresh produce because canning actually preserves many nutrients. Minerals, fat-soluble vitamins, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are nutrients that are not lost during the canning process, but because canning requires high heat, canned food can have less water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins – but vitamin C and B vitamins are easily obtained through other foods consumed like juices and breads. Frozen foods also retain most of nutrients if frozen and thawed correctly. Some frozen foods can be more nutritious because freezing actually preserves the nutrients, while fresh foods lose some nutrients over time as the ripening process continues.
Tips on how to choose canned and frozen foods:
- Choose canned fruit in water, 100% juice or in its own juice
- Choose canned vegetables labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium”; or drain and rinse canned beans and vegetables, which can reduce the sodium by an additional 36-41%.
- Avoid cans or bags with dents, bulges, cracks or leaks.
- Thaw food in the refrigerator, in a non-leaky plastic bag under running cold water for short periods of time, or thaw in the microwave and cook immediately after thawing.
Here the a savory taco recipe made with frozen shrimps and canned vegetables!
Easy Fresh or Frozen Tacos
- Serves: 2 tacos
- 12 taco shells (crunchy or soft)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 15-ounce can corn
1 8-ounce can crushed/chunk pineapple
½ cup salsa
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese
Optional toppings: sliced avocado, chopped tomato, light sour cream, shredded lettuce, black peppers for flavoring
1. Wash your hands before you begin.
2. Preheat the oven and bake the taco shells according to package directions.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder. Mix and cook the shrimp thoroughly (1 minute for cooked shrimp, 3-4 mins for fresh shrimp).
4. Drain beans, corns, and pineapple from cans. Rinse the beans and corns to remove excessive sodium.
5. Stir in the beans, corns, pineapple, and salsa about 2 minutes.
6. Place the shrimp mixture into each taco shell. Sprinkle the cheese on the top. Serve with optional toppings. Enjoy!
- Calories: 380
- Fat: 13 g
- Sat fat: 3 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 155 mg
- Carb: 41 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Sugars: 8 g
- Protein: 27 g
- Sodium: 540 mg
- Vitamin A: 10%
- Vitamin C: 15%
- Calcium: 20%
- Iron: 20%
Robyn Wei is a Clinical Nutrition Graduate Student at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She has a passion about food and would love to share her experience of different food cultures with everyone!
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