Frozen Vs Canned Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are healthy options for getting crucial vitamins and minerals into our diets. Many people are trying to buy groceries that will keep for the long-term, but they’re not sure if they should choose frozen or canned vegetables. 

While nothing compares to the flavor and nutrition you’ll get from fresh produce, these veggies can quickly rot (we’re looking at you, bag of spring mix in the fridge drawer), so what’s a shopper to do? Buying frozen or canned veggies and fruits can help you get nutrition while enjoying long-lasting produce. Here’s how to pick between canned or frozen vegetables. 

Do Canned or Frozen Vegetables Bring More Nutrition?

Generally, frozen vegetables bring more nutrition than canned veggies. But it’s also no surprise that fresh veggies, those picked within the same day, will have the highest nutritional value. The longer veggies sit on delivery trucks, grocery shelves, or in your fridge forgotten about, the more nutrients they’re losing. But don’t fret, your freezer is here to save the day! 

Frozen vegetables are typically cooked and frozen shortly after they are harvested, meaning they’ve likely held on to a lot of their key nutrients. [1] When looking at canned vs frozen vegetables in terms of nutrition, frozen veggies are often the more nutritional choice. In addition to being processed and frozen close to the harvesting date, frozen vegetables and fruits are often less processed than canned varieties, meaning that the produce’s vitamins and minerals are less altered by cooking processes. 

Are Canned Vegetables Just as Good as Fresh Veggies?

Fresh vegetables and fruits eaten on the same day they’re harvested will always pack stronger nutritional value. While frozen vegetables offer high nutritional values for a processed product, canned veggies can fall short when it comes to nutrition. This is because the canning process often cooks vegetables, and vegetables may lose some of their water-soluble nutrients when cooked in canning preparations. The added salts, sugars, and other preservatives in canned vegetables can dilute their nutritional value further. [1]

If you do opt for canned vegetables, choose ones that are low sodium and have no sugar added for the highest nutritional impact and cook the veggies in the water from the can. The liquid surrounding your canned veggies often holds some of the nutrients that were lost during the cooking and canning processes, so don’t miss out! [2]

The Benefits of Frozen and Canned Veggies Over Fresh Produce 

While fresh vegetables are best, their nutritional value can quickly dissipate the longer they sit on your shelf, in your fridge, in your pantry, or on trucks getting transported to your grocery store. Farmer’s markets and produce-focused grocers can help provide fresh options, but if you don’t eat the produce quickly, it can lose some of its nutritional value. And hey, we’re all guilty of buying fruits and veggies that we forget about for days on end.

So, if you’re like most people, frozen or canned veggies may be your best bet. This is because they’re processed often very close to the harvesting time, so the veggies aren’t sitting around losing nutrients. Generally, frozen veggies are the best choice nutrition-wise, but some veggies are actually better canned. For example, canned peas can contain three times the amount of vitamin A because this vitamin gets intensified by the cooking process. [1]

If you’re choosing canned or frozen vegetables, make sure to buy ones that are minimally processed and free of added sugars or salts. Check out the Youinverse Blog for more healthy recipes using your fruits and veggies. 

Sources:

1- Food Network – Fresh vs Canned vs Frozen: What’s the Best Produce to Buy?

2- Have a Plant – About The Buzz: Frozen And Canned Fruits And Vegetables VS Fresh