Should I Avoid Shelf-Stable or Packaged Foods?

The Short Answer from a registered dietitian

Should I Avoid Shelf-Stable or Packaged Foods?

Q: Shelf-stable and packaged foods are so convenient, but I’ve heard they’re unhealthy. Should I avoid them?

A.: Foods that comes in cans or packages have a bad reputation for being less nutritious than their fresher counterparts. And while some of these foods do contain excess salt, sugar and preservatives, that’s not true for all. Plus, any vegetable is better than no vegetable at all.

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Non-perishable foods are staples that keep you from making frequent trips to the store, while still allowing you to incorporate healthy foods into your family’s daily meals. Even better, they’re budget-friendly during the months when most fruits and vegetables are out of season.

One tip: It may be a larger cost up front, but stock up on the following foods, which you can incorporate into dishes all winter long. Try these:

  • Beans (either canned or dry)
  • Lentils
  • Tuna (packed in water)
  • Canned veggies
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Fruit packaged in water or 100 percent juice
  • Chicken or vegetable broth

Registered dietitian Jennifer Willoughby, RD

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This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.

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