There is no wrong choice when it comes to vegetables, but if you’re on a low sodium diet choosing the lowest sodium option is essential to good health. Here’s what to look for when selecting between frozen vegetables vs canned.
Both frozen and canned vegetables offer cooks convenience in the kitchen. Fresh vegetables are great, but they can easily be forgotten in your fridge’s vegetable crisper and go bad before you use them. Frozen and canned veggies give you the benefit of having a variety of vegetables at your fingertips without worries about spoilage. Convenience is great, but low sodium cooks also have to choose products with the best quality and the lowest sodium. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice for your pantry.
Frozen Vegetables vs Canned Vegetables
Frozen and canned vegetables are packaged as soon as they are harvested so they are at peak freshness and nutritional value. The determining factor on which to choose is based on personal preference and sodium content.
Canned vegetables are typically softer in texture than frozen because they are packaged in liquid, usually water, salt, and sometimes other preservatives. While many nutrients remain in canned vegetables, the liquid removes any crispness you’d find in fresh or frozen vegetables.
Low sodium cooks should read the labels of both frozen and canned vegetables to determine which product has the least amount of sodium. Even products labeled ‘fresh’ or ‘healthy’ contain additives like sugar and salt. Choose frozen or canned products labeled No Salt Added, Salt-Free, or Sodium-Free. You can learn more about what low sodium labels mean here.
What You Should Know About Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are usually blanched and flash frozen as soon as they are harvested, so they’re at peak flavor and nutritional value. The blanching kills any bacteria that might be present but doesn’t remove all texture from the vegetables. Avoid frozen vegetables with sauces or seasonings. They are more likely to contain added preservatives and sodium.
What You Should Know About Canned Vegetables
Canned vegetables are an inexpensive, long-lasting option. They’re also quick and easy to warm and serve. Stock up on No Salt Added cans when they go on sale and you’ll always have them on hand when you need them. When I started to cook low sodium, I avoided canned vegetables. I did not know No Salt Added canned veggies existed, and I hadn’t cooked with them much before because I like my veggies a little crisp. Canned veggies are softer due to the liquid they’re stored in and because they are cooked longer before packaging to prevent bacteria growth.
Which is Better for a Low Sodium Diet?
The best option is the one that contains the least amount of sodium, whether fresh or frozen. Nutritionally, frozen and canned vegetables are similar, and if No Salt Added or low sodium options are available, you can choose what works best for you. Frozen vegetables are closer to fresh in texture and consistency, but you can store canned vegetables longer. Choose the lowest sodium option that suits your tastes and your budget.
Frozen Vegetables vs Canned FAQs
What can I do if I’m starting a low sodium lifestyle or my grocery stores don’t carry many no-salt-added or low sodium frozen or canned vegetables?
If you’re just starting low sodium it can be overwhelming when items in your pantry are no longer the best choice for your health. Budgets are tight and no one wants to throw food away. If you live in an area where low sodium or no salt added items are not always available, canned vegetables can be rinsed and soaked in water multiple times. This process, called demineralization, can reduce sodium in high sodium foods by as much as 60%. You can learn more about demineralization here.
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