MEET THE CANNED FOOD ALLIANCE: KEEP PASTA MEALS SIMPLE WITH THE HELP OF CANNED FOODS
Pasta Fits believes that pasta meals should be easy to make, affordable and of course, nutritious. Canned foods offer each of these benefits with so many choices from protein to veggies to combine with pasta. They’re even more nutritious than you might have previously thought! For this month’s spotlight, Pasta Fits interviewed the Canned Food Alliance to learn more about how these pantry staples can be used to make a healthy meal.
- Similar to pasta meals, dishes with canned foods offer convenience- but easy meal prep doesn’t mean you have to slack on nutrients. What nutritional benefits do canned foods offer?
- Canned fruits and veggies offer comparable nutrition to their fresh and frozen counterparts, and in some cases they can be more nutritious thanks to the cooking process. For example, canned tomatoes have more lycopene than fresh cooked tomatoes.
- Similar to pasta, canned beans offer many health benefits. Not only are they an excellent source of fiber like whole wheat pasta, folate and manganese are also found in beans. They’re also a good source of protein, potassium, magnesium, copper and antioxidants. The darker the bean’s color, the more antioxidants it has.
- By combining these canned foods with pasta, your meals will hold key nutrients of concern outlined in the Dietary Guidelines, including Vitamin D (canned salmon, tuna), potassium (canned tomato products, beans, spinach), fiber (canned beans, pumpkin), and iron (canned coconut milks, sardines, chili with beans).
- What are the most popular canned vegetables?
- That’s an easy one! The most popular canned vegetables are: Sweet Corn (Whole Kernel and Cream Style), Green Beans (Cut and French Style) and Sweet Peas.
- What are good examples of canned proteins that can be added into a pasta dish?
- There are so many great proteins that work well with pasta! Canned poultry and seafood such as tuna, salmon, crab and shrimp are comparable to their fresh-cooked counterparts in nutritional value. Protein is not lost during the canning process, and some varieties of canned seafood tend to have higher calcium levels than their freshly cooked counterparts. Canned beans (like kidney, pinto, garbanzo and black beans) are also considered to be good sources of a plant-based protein.
- Both canned foods and pasta offer the benefit of a long shelf life, with canned foods lasting for up to two years and pasta for several months. What’s your best tip for proper food storage?
- The general rule of thumb is that canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of purchase. It is recommended that all canned food be stored in moderate temperatures (75° Fahrenheit and below).
- Emergency tip: Make sure you keep a hand-held can opener in the kitchen. Canned foods are great for emergency situations when you don’t have power, but not if you only have an electric can opener!
- Is it true that adults who eat canned vegetables have lower levels in overall dietary fat? Pasta is actually a fat-free food!
- Consistent with results from the 2017 study that revealed the diet of adults who eat pasta are associated with higher daily consumption of total vegetables than the diet of non-pasta eaters, those who eat canned fruits and vegetables had better diet quality.
- The recent research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed those who ate canned fruits and vegetables had greater overall fruit and vegetable consumption and increased nutrient intake compared to kids and adults who did not eat canned fruits and vegetables. The study also confirmed that kids consumed less fat, and more protein, fiber, Vitamin A, calcium and potassium when they ate canned fruits and vegetables.
- Lastly, can you share your favorite pasta recipe?
- This is one our favorite pasta recipes- Tuscan-Style Pasta with Cannellini Beans!
- If you’d like to view more, you can see other pasta dishes on Mealtime.org here.
About the Canned Food Alliance:
The Canned Food Alliance, a National Strategic Partner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is a consortium of steelmakers, can manufacturers, food processors and affiliate members. For more information about canned food research, facts, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned foods and more, visit Mealtime.org.