July 24, 2024

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Eat the Rainbow Winter Week 2- Produce Myth #2: Frozen vs. Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Eat the Rainbow Winter Week 2- Produce Myth #2: Frozen vs. Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Welcome to Week 2 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge

EtR PROGRAM UPDATES:

You made it a full week into our challenge!

As part of our challenge, I am asking you to keep track of your fruit and vegetable intake. At the end of each week, you can submit your intake via this form!

I don’t need you to track everything you eat, just when you eat fruits/veggies during the day. Use an app on your phone or a simple piece of paper with a pen. I often use this printable form to track my weekly progress. It should be pretty simple, but if you have any questions let me know!

If you don’t have capacity to track, that’s ok! Just enjoy the emails and recipes and let yourself off the hook for tracking. You have permission to choose your own “Eat the Rainbow adventure!” : – )

This week, we’ll be addressing another common myth about fruits and vegetables!

MYTH: Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are bad for you. 

FACT: Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are just as nutritious, if not more than their fresh counterparts! 

Fresh fruits and vegetables are often put into the spotlight and may be considered “better” than their frozen and canned counterparts. However, this is not true!   

HERE ARE 3 REASONS WHY:

  1. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutrient dense (if not more) than fresh. 
  • Produce that is frozen is usually picked at its peak ripeness, which is when the fruit or vegetable contains its maximum nutrient content. 
  • Fresh produce is often picked before it is ripe since it needs to get shipped to grocery stores before it spoils, so it often never reaches its peak nutrient level. 
  1. Canned and frozen produce is often cheaper and easier to access than fresh, allowing you to increase your daily intake. 
  • It may be difficult to find certain types of produce in the grocery store depending on the season. For instance, finding good quality, fresh berries in the middle of the winter can be difficult, and if you are lucky enough to find them, they are often very expensive.
  • Frozen and canned produce can be found all year long due to their extended shelf life.
  • Frozen and canned produce also does not need to be shipped as quickly or carefully as fresh, so it is often a cheaper alternative. 
  1. Buying frozen and canned produce can help eliminate food waste. It lasts much longer than fresh produce, and is less likely to go bad before you use it. 
  • How often have you bought a bag of lettuce or container of berries only to have them spoil before you eat them? Most fresh produce cannot last much longer than a week in your fridge. 
  • In comparison, frozen and canned produce can last for months in your freezer or pantry! This can help you avoid unnecessary food waste. 

Tip for buying frozen and canned produce: Check the label for added syrups, sugars, or salt. Try to buy frozen and canned produce that is free of additives – aka 100% vegetable or fruit.  When buying canned vegetables, choose low-sodium or no-salt-added options. If those aren’t available, give them a quick rinse before you use them.

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:

Check out the frozen foods section of your local store to see what new fruits or vegetables you can find. Is there anything you wouldn’t have thought to try? My favorite discovery is the diced frozen onions. Perfect for any dish that calls for sautéed onions. No cutting board or knife needed!!

Tip: Pay attention to weekly sales and coupons and stock up when frozen or canned produce is cheapest. Since it has a longer shelf life, you can buy in bulk to save money!

PRODUCE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: CRANBERRIES

Cranberries are on the AICR’s list of foods that fight cancer and for good reason! Cranberries contain high levels of phytochemicals that have powerful anti-cancer properties including polyphenols and proanthocyanidin. 

Fresh cranberries are also a great source of fiber and vitamin C. One cup has 4 grams of fiber and about 25% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. 

All-in-all, these bright little berries are a nutritional powerhouse and are best in the winter, when other berries go out of season. 

HOW TO USE

Cranberries have a bright, tart taste. Try combining them with other fruits such as oranges, apples, or pears to balance out their flavor with a touch of natural sweetness! Check out the featured recipe below for an idea!

Tip: To get all of the nutritional benefits of cranberries, choose fresh or frozen varieties. Dried cranberries are higher in sugar and lower in vitamins.

This recipe makes a great side dish- who doesn’t love cranberry sauce on holidays? But it can also complement your snack or breakfast. Put it on pancakes or mix it with plain yogurt for a great flavor combo that you can’t find in the store!

Print

Citrus Ginger Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Holiday
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries

  • 1/3 cup water

  • ½ cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • ½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger

  • zest of one small orange (about 1 Tbsp, or chop the peel)

  • 1 tbsp. crystallized ginger (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Wash cranberries. Put all ingredients in a medium pot, except crystallized ginger.

  2. Cook over medium heat. Boil and stir until the sugar melts and cranberries pop open.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in crystallized ginger when cooled.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Enjoy your week!

-Julie and Intern Kim

Eat the Rainbow Winter Week 3-Produce Myth #3: Fruit is High in Sugar
Eat the Rainbow Winter Edition Week 1: Produce Myth #1- Are All Processed Foods Bad for You?