Canned & Packaged Foods

Reading a Food Label Part 2:

Canned foods often get a bad rap and are sometimes considered to be less nutritious than fresh foods. However, this is not necessarily the case. By adhering to a few guidelines, canned foods can provide comparable nutrients to their fresh or frozen counterparts. For Cook Together 29 – Cioppino was on the menu and since fresh tomatoes are not in season, we discussed how to utilize boxed or canned tomatoes for this recipe in the healthiest way possible.

Ideally canned tomatoes contain tomatoes and a preservative like citric acid (to prevent botulism) and may also contain a small amount of calcium chloride (a salt). If there is anything else in the can – it does not need to be there and is best avoided. Food manufacturers love to sneak ingredients that have no nutritional value and are often not even recognized in the body as food, thus the body has a difficult time digesting and assimilating them.

In summary, canned foods are an acceptable and affordable source of nutrients in the event fresh foods are not available or in season. Look for cans that are BPA (Bisphenol – A) free, not dented or bent and avoid canned foods with any of the following ingredients:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Soy flour
  • Hydrolyzed corn gluten
  • BHA
  • BHT
  • MSG
  • Food Dyes (Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Red 3, and Yellow 6)