Canned, Fresh, or Frozen Veggies – Which Is Best?


You already know that eating vegetables is essential for your health, but which section of the store do you get them from? Vegetables come fresh, frozen, and canned, and many people wonder what the difference is between them. After all, aren’t they all vegetables?

Here’s what you should know about each.

cherry tomatoes

Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables tend to be more processed. While these are handy to keep around, especially during the seasons of the year where storms can keep you in the dark, they can lack in nutrition over the other fresh or frozen choices. They also tend to have gobs more sodium than fresh and frozen varieties. With canned vegetables, try to find options without added sodium to make a healthier choice, if you choose canned vegetables make sure the label at least says BPA free on it. Yes! Everything canned is lined with plastic from canned sparkling water to even canned beer. Make sure that things like tomatoes, you buy in a jar as acidic foods leach even more plastic from the liner into your food.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh veggies are indeed a prime choice, but not always -- they can lose a lot of their nutrients before they’re consumed. Sometimes it takes up to two weeks for them to get to your table from the time they’re picked. In this time frame, they can lose up to 50% of their nutrients.

To keep their nutrient powers intact, cook them for shorter times and at lower temperatures. Make sure you use very little water to keep vitamin C and B vitamins from disappearing too. Steaming is a much better option than boiling, though if you must boil your veggies, add them after the water begins to boil.

One of the best ways to get the most nutrients from your fresh vegetables though is buying them locally organic and while they’re in season. Make use of the freshest vegetables available to you for the best taste and most nutrition.

Frozen Vegetables

Interestingly, frozen veggies tend to retain the highest proportion of nutrients. They’re usually frozen right after harvesting to keep them fresh. But beware, they may be processed with additives like extra salt or sauces. Always read the labels to see what you’re getting, make sure the label so Organic, and look for brands that keep things as natural as possible.

You can freeze your fresh vegetables from the farmers market, too. This will ensure nothing goes to waste and that you can enjoy them without losing vital nutrients.

When it comes to vegetables, the bottom line is that getting them onto your plate is most important. So if its a box salad or canned tomatoes, it’s better to eat it than to skip a serving of vegetables.

In my house, we tend to use fresh most often.

When cooking at home I tend to stick to what's in season which makes it easier to find locally and the cheapest along with organic. When I'm in a time crunch and I'm making a stir fry or soup I keep a variety of organic frozen vegetables in the freezer. That cuts time on food prep along with having what I need organically when possible it's not in season.


So, do you reach for the canned, fresh, or frozen veggies?

If you’d like more tips on how to eat clean without spending all day in the kitchen I can probably help! Working with a holistic nutritionist could really help you on your journey towards optimum health.

Jessamyn Sajko