Fresh, Frozen or Canned Vegetables?

Various fruits and vegetables.

Getting a lot of fresh vegetables in your diet is important.  But do you ever wonder which is better – fresh, frozen, or canned?

Fresh vs. Frozen: Research reveals that fresh and frozen produce are basically nutritionally equivalent. In fact, some frozen vegetables, such as green beans, have an edge over the limp and old green beans in your fridge!

Frozen vs. Canned: In general, frozen vegetables are better than canned. Fresh vegetables are blanched before freezing, and they do lose some nutrients but not a lot. Produce frozen right at its peak has more nutrients than produce that is picked too early, held, and shipped for thousands of miles. Freezing is also the best way to preserve produce from your own garden. Canned vegetables are cooked more than frozen since manufacturers need to ensure there is no bacterial growth inside the can. The extra cooking destroys nutrients. On the other hand, canned versions are budget-friendly, long-lasting, and ideal for when you don’t have time to buy, scrub, trim and chop fresh veggies.

Both frozen and canned vegetables are often packaged immediately after being picked. This is when they have their peak levels of nutrients.  If you are watching your diet, always check the food labels/nutrition facts before buying. Sometimes canned fruits and vegetables have added sugar or salt. Look for items that say “no salt added,” “sodium-free,” or “packed in own juice.”  You can also rinse them to remove added sugar or salt.

When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, there is no bad choice. Eating any fruit or vegetable is making a positive choice for health. So go ahead and start eating the 2.5 servings of vegetables that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends, in either the fresh, canned, or frozen form!

This information is meant to be used as a resource and is not meant to replace medical advice. For more information, contact

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