Did you know that February is Canned Food Month? There’s a holiday for everything these days and I do not think canned produce gets the love it deserves so good for you, February! I do not know the origin of why February is Canned Food Month, but being in Michigan there’s less fresh produce and we use canned more often this time of year. Either way, let’s talk about canned produce for just a minute. If you want to skip my story, click below to jump to the recipe.Jump to Recipe
Canned produce is an excellent way to eat more fruits and veggies. I promise you’re not getting half the nutrients or “wasting your time/energy” by choosing to use them. There is enough to worry about in the world and canned produce is not one of those things. It has a longer shelf life and a different texture, but nutrient wise you’re still getting loads of benefits. Also, canned veggies are better than no veggies!
I do advise getting low-sodium or no salt added canned vegetables. Why? I like to add my own seasonings and salt, thank you very much! Plus, most of us meet our sodium needs without trying and some of us could use a little less sodium. This is an easy way to decrease sodium intake and try out different spices for new flavor combinations. Whether or not you have a can of veggies that has sodium, I also advise that you rinse and drain the produce. This helps remove even more sodium and to me yields a better tasting product.
Canned veggies are softer than fresh/raw…duh right? This makes them an easy option for littles who need soft solids or those with chewing difficulties. Canned green beans are one of Lincoln’s favorite veggies that aren’t orange so that’s a bonus too! They make a fast side dish on their own or mixed with a few things to spruce them up (see recipe below).
Other canned vegetables to keep stocked in the pantry are:
- Pumpkin puree: easy to add to chili, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, pancakes or if you’re my son you eat them straight from the can.
- Green beans: my favorite side dish to any dinner that needs an extra green or honestly, I’ll rinse these and eat them cold straight from the can.
- Tomatoes: this is one that I do not rinse! Tomatoes are SUCH a staple for any pantry as they can add pops of color, flavor, texture and are incredibly versatile. I promise you can use them for more than just spaghetti and chili.
- Black/kidney/garbanzo/white, etc.: ALL the beans! Again, beans can make a quick side dish, serve as the main protein source in a meal, or be mashed into your own hummus in five to ten minutes.
- Sweet corn: please do not argue with me that it’s a grain. Whatever. I find it to be more like a vegetable even if compositionally it’s a grain. Add it to nachos, soups, potatoes, eggs, or salad! There’s a lot of nutrients so let’s stop shaming actual corn. Corn syrup, oil, etc are different stories for a different day.
Those are just my favorites to keep around the house. They can help when you’re in a pinch and meal planning on the spot. They provide lots of nutrients as I mentioned above and green beans happen to be the main ingredient in this delicious side dish below!
Could I have used more fresh ingredients and cooked this more? Yes. Did I want to? Nope! Try it out and let me know what you think!
Green Bean & Bacon Bit Side Dish
- 2 cans green beans, drained and rinsed I get low-sodium or no salt added
- 1 cup bacon bits
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup Italian dressing
- Drain and rinse your green beans
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve
See what I mean? It can be thrown together SO fast. Save this one for the next get together party where you’re sick of mayonnaise and potato salad!
Let me know how you like it and if you tweak anything. Stay warm friends and keep using up those canned veggies!