Ways to Enjoy Produce Year Round
According to the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans, 90% of Americans don’t eat enough vegetables on a daily basis, and 85 percent don’t consume enough fruit. It’s certainly enjoyable to be able to get your hands on fresh produce all year long, but regardless of the form – fresh, frozen, canned or dried—fruits and vegetables are associated with a multitude of health benefits.
Many studies have confirmed that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Research has found that if just half of all Americans increased their consumption of a fruit or a vegetable by one serving each day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.
If you can’t get your hands on fresh produce, you can still reap the benefits of produce by purchasing canned or frozen.
Or if you have extra seasonal produce you can try your hand at in-home canning or freezing extras. When shopping for canned vegetables, look for those labelled as “no added salt” or “low sodium.” If those aren’t available you can reduce the sodium in things like canned beans by 40 percent just by rinsing them.
To minimize added sugar in canned fruit, look for fruit canned in their own juices or in extra-light or light syrup.
When shopping for frozen vegetables, make sure the vegetable name is the only one listed on the label. Avoid those with sauces, butter, or any other high-calorie flavorings. When shopping for frozen fruit, read the ingredient list to make sure no sugar was added and that the name of the fruit is all you see under the ingredient list.
You don’t have to opt to use fresh only or frozen only. By using a combination of fresh, frozen, canned or dried you can get the most health benefits and flavors year round.