Did you know that a can of tomatoes gets dinner on the table? Dietitian Sharon Palmer shares her best tips for choosing canned goods, as well as a delicious recipe featuring canned tomatoes!
by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian
We often hear that “fresh is best,” but did you know that canned options are not only convenient, but also offer similar health benefits as fresh fruits and vegetables? While there are hundreds of varieties of canned foods available, today I’d like to applaud canned tomatoes for their versatility. A simple can of tomatoes can help provide you with all the inspiration you need to get a delicious, healthy meal on the dinner table in minutes. Some of my favorite tomato-rich dishes include soups, stews, casseroles, and pasta dishes.
While canned products often have the reputation of being high in sodium, consumers today are offered a variety of low-sodium options, such as reduced sodium canned tomatoes, marinara sauce, tomato sauce, salsa, and tomato soup. So you don’t have to worry about upping your salt intake when you feature tomato-centric dishes on your menu.
Tomato products are also packed in nutrients, such as fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Research also shows that when tomatoes are heated—as they are in canned and processed tomatoes—the powerful antioxidant lycopene is more bioavailable in the body.
You can stock up on tomato products—canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, tomato paste, salsa, tomato juice, tomato soup—to kickstart your meal because they have a long shelf life. Canned tomatoes are also versatile since they fit well in a variety of delicious, ethnic recipes. If you aren’t already incorporating canned tomatoes into your recipes, it’s time to get started with three of my favorite plant-powered recipes, Tortilla Soup.
RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™
Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, is an award-winning food and nutrition expert, journalist, and editor. She is author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012) andPlant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014). Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, includingPrevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Yoga Journal. Sharon also is editor of Environmental Nutrition, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, blogger for The Plant-Powered Blog, and publisher of her monthly The Plant-Powered Newsletter. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets. She serves as the consultant dietitian for the Oldways Vegetarian Network, an editor for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website eatright.org, and judge for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. Sharon is regularly invited to speak on food and nutrition at a number of events across the country. She is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for sustainable, delicious, healthy food. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting her local farmers market, gardening, and cooking for friends and family.