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Published on April 03, 2017

Fresh, frozen or canned? Which produce is best?

A well-stocked pantry, freezer and fruit bowl can all help you get the rainbow of nutrient-rich produce that you need to help you stay healthy.

Frozen vegetablesBut did you ever wonder whether the frozen or canned varieties of fruits and vegetables measure up to their fresh counterparts? The answer is yes—with a few caveats.

Frozen and canned produce is often processed within hours of being harvested. That means it often retains as many nutrients as fresh produce—or sometimes more.

Fresh produce may take several days from harvest to reach your grocery store and then your plate. And it can lose some nutrients along the way.
However, the way frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are processed, sometimes with a lot of salt and sugar, can make the difference in how healthful they are.

So when you’re shopping for produce in the canned goods or freezer aisle, be sure to look for:

  • Canned fruit that is packed in 100 percent juice or says unsweetened or no added sugar on the label—avoid those packed in syrups
  • Canned vegetables that have no salt added or reduced amounts of sodium
  • Frozen fruits and berries that are not sweetened
  • Frozen veggies that are either plain or in a low-fat sauce

Keep cost in mind too. Fresh produce in season can be relatively inexpensive. Other times, canned or frozen options may be easiest on your budget.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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