5 of the Healthiest Canned Foods to Keep in Your Pantry, According to an RD_freckle removal from arms

Matthew Kadey MS RD·10 min read

This article originally appeared on Clean_Eating

If the pandemic taught us anything, it was the importance of stocking your pantry with shelf-stable canned food you can count on to help get a meal on the table, without a trip to the grocery store. But historically, canned foods have gotten a bad rap as second-rate options that come up short in nutrition and flavor - almost to the point where most people are slightly embarrassed to roll up to the check-out counter with a cart populated by foods stuffed into tins. This is a shame, because the truth is many canned foods are still nutrient-rich.

In fact, the canning process has less impact on nutrition than you may think. A study in the journal Nutrientsfound that people who ate a lot of canned foods had a higher intake of 17 essential nutrients compared to people who rarely ate canned foods. And in terms of flavor, items like canned corn, peaches and tomatoes are harvested at peak ripeness and packed shortly thereafter, so they actually can taste fresher than out-of-season fresh options.

Not all canned items are processed foods. It's time to embrace canned foods and stop shunning them. With a seemingly never-ending shelf life, canned goods can encourage creativity and flexibility in the kitchen (and survival during a zombie invasion, naturally).

Get your can opener at the ready, because these are the canned foods you always want to keep in your pantry.

1. Canned black beans

These might be the healthiest "fast food" around. With a huge swath of essential vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, magnesium and phosphorus, consider black beans akin to a multi-vitamin in a can. No wonder people who eat more legumes generally have a higher overall diet quality. Canned black beans supply about 15 grams of protein in 1-cup serving. And an analysis of data from more than 30 studies published in The BMJlinked higher protein intake overall and plant protein specifically to lower all-cause mortality risk.

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