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Canned, Fresh, or Frozen Veggies – Which Is Best?

You already know that eating vegetables is essential for your health, but which section of the store do you get them from? Vegetables come fresh, frozen and canned, and many people wonder what the difference is between them. After all, aren’t they all vegetables?

Here’s what you should know about each.

Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables tend to be more processed. While these are handy to keep around, especially during the seasons of the year where storms can keep you in the dark, they can lack in nutrition over the other fresh or frozen choices. They also tend to have gobs more sodium than fresh and frozen varieties. With canned vegetables, try to find options without added sodium to make a healthier choice and soak or rinse them with filtered water prior to cooking.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh veggies are indeed a prime choice, but they can lose a lot of their nutrients before they’re consumed. Sometimes it takes up to two weeks for them to get to your table from the time they’re picked. In this time frame, they can lose up to 50% of their nutrients.

To keep their nutrient powers intact, cook them for shorter times and at lower temperatures. Make sure you use very little water to keep vitamin C and B vitamins from disappearing too. Steaming is a much better option than boiling, though if you must boil your veggies, add them after the water begins to boil.

One of the best ways to get the most nutrients from your fresh vegetables though is buying them locally and while they’re in season. Make use of the freshest vegetables available to you for the best taste and most nutrition. Just ask if they are grown organically. Keep in mind that grown locally does not necessarily mean grown organically. Remember, you can always refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.

Frozen Vegetables

Interestingly, frozen veggies tend to retain the highest proportion of nutrients. They’re usually frozen right after harvesting to keep them fresh. But beware, they may be processed with additives like extra salt or sauces. Always read the labels to see what you’re getting, and look for brands that keep things as natural as possible.

You can freeze your fresh vegetables from the farmers market, too. This will ensure nothing goes to waste and that you can enjoy them without losing vital nutrients.

When it comes to vegetables, the bottom line is that getting them onto your plate is most important. If canned is the only option you have in your house while making dinner, it’s better to eat it than to skip a serving of vegetables.

In our house, we tend to use fresh the most, but I like to keep a few canned and frozen options on hand for those days we are running shorter on time.

So, what do you reach for the canned, fresh, or frozen veggies?

Live well and enjoy! Renée

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