Celebrating National Canned Food Month: The Versatile Marvel of Tomato Products

Celebrating National Canned Food Month: The Versatile Marvel of Tomato Products

Welcome to National Canned Food Month! This February, we’re celebrating the unsung heroes of our pantry shelves: canned foods. From beans to fruits, canned goods offer convenience, nutrition, and affordability. And among these canned treasures, tomato products stand out as shining stars.

Easy, Healthy, and Affordable

Canned foods epitomize convenience. With just a twist of a can opener, you have instant access to nutritious ingredients for your meals. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent on the go, or a student with limited cooking skills, canned foods provide a hassle-free solution to meal preparation.

But convenience doesn’t mean sacrificing nutrition. Canned foods retain their essential vitamins and minerals, offering a healthy alternative to fresh produce. And let’s not forget about affordability. Canned goods are budget-friendly options that allow you to stretch your grocery dollars without compromising on quality.

The Tomato Triumph

While all canned foods have their merits, tomato products reign supreme in the realm of canned goods. From diced tomatoes to pasta sauce, these versatile gems add depth and flavor to a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re whipping up a hearty stew, simmering a savory sauce, or crafting a zesty salsa, tomato products are your culinary companions.

But what sets tomato products apart? It’s their ability to transcend seasonality. While fresh tomatoes may be a summer delicacy, canned tomato products ensure that you can enjoy their rich flavor and vibrant color year-round. Say goodbye to bland, out-of-season tomatoes and hello to the robust taste of canned tomato goodness.

A Necessity Beyond Seasons

Indeed, the necessity of canned foods extends beyond mere convenience. In a world where seasonal fluctuations impact food availability and prices, canned foods provide a reliable source of sustenance. They allow us to enjoy the flavors of summer during the depths of winter and to savor the taste of autumn long after the leaves have fallen.

So, as we celebrate National Canned Food Month, let’s raise a can of tomato products to toast their enduring appeal. Let’s honor the simplicity, healthfulness, and affordability of canned foods, with a special nod to the tomato’s remarkable versatility. And let’s be grateful for the role that canned foods play in nourishing our bodies and enriching our lives, regardless of the season.

In conclusion, National Canned Food Month is a time to celebrate the culinary marvels that line our pantry shelves. And among these treasures, tomato products shine brightly, offering a burst of flavor and a touch of sunshine in every can. So, here’s to a month filled with delicious meals, nutritious ingredients, and the enduring magic of canned foods. Happy National Canned Food Month!

How Canned Tomatoes Define Italian Pasta Recipes and Pizza Dishes

How Canned Tomatoes Define Italian Pasta Recipes and Pizza Dishes

Tomatoes are at the heart of Italian cuisine, which is why canned tomatoes can help you enjoy these dishes all year round. Here’s how canned tomatoes define the most classic Italian pasta recipes and other well-loved dishes. 

Italian cuisine is beloved worldwide for its rich flavors, vibrant colors, and hearty ingredients. At the heart of many classic Italian dishes lies the humble tomato, which adds depth, tanginess, and a touch of sweetness. Interestingly though, this is a fairly recent development, as tomatoes are not native to Europe. They only became accepted as a part of their cuisine in the 19th century. Now it is the centerpiece.

While fresh tomatoes are often celebrated, canned tomatoes offer a convenient and versatile alternative that can truly elevate your Italian culinary creations. Ask any Italian grandma, and she’ll confirm you should use canned tomatoes all year long for cooking. Here’s how canned tomatoes can define traditional Italian dishes like pasta and pizza, bringing out their authentic flavors and taking them to new heights.

The Magic of Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes possess a unique quality that makes them a fantastic addition to Italian recipes. The tomatoes used for canning are picked at their peak of ripeness and quickly processed, sealing in their freshness. This allows for a consistent and flavorful product that can be enjoyed year-round, regardless of the season. Plus, canned tomatoes are teeming with health benefits, which make them an ideal choice to have in your pantry!

Italian Pasta Recipes for the Perfect Pasta Sauce

Canned tomatoes serve as the foundation for a variety of pasta sauces, transforming a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece. Whether you’re making a classic marinara, a hearty Bolognese, or a creamy vodka sauce, canned tomatoes provide a rich and robust base. Their concentrated flavor infuses the sauce with a deep tomato essence that pairs perfectly with pasta of any shape or size.

Homemade Pizza Delights

No discussion of Italian cuisine is complete without mentioning pizza. Canned tomatoes can revolutionize your homemade pizza by creating a vibrant and tangy sauce. The concentrated flavors of canned tomatoes, when combined with aromatic herbs and spices, yield a sauce that brings out the best in your pizza toppings. Whether you prefer a classic Margherita or a creative combination of ingredients, canned tomatoes help deliver that authentic pizzeria experience. 

Here are some of our favorite pizza recipes:

Slow-Simmered Soups and Stews

Italian cuisine is renowned for its comforting soups and stews, so what better way to elevate your dish than to use canned tomatoes for added depth and richness? Whether you’re making a hearty minestrone, a rustic Zuppa di Pesce, or a savory tomato-based stew, canned tomatoes provide a robust flavor profile that enhances the overall taste and texture.

Stuffed Delights

From stuffed tomatoes to eggplant Parmesan, canned tomatoes play a vital role in creating deliciously stuffed Italian dishes. The versatility of canned tomatoes allows you to craft a flavorful filling and then bake it to perfection. The tomatoes impart their distinct taste, complementing the stuffing while adding a delightful touch of acidity.


Homemade Bruschetta

While canned tomatoes are often associated with cooked dishes, they can also be used to create fresh and vibrant bruschetta toppings. The combination of diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, and a splash of olive oil creates a mouthwatering bruschetta that adds a burst of flavor to toasted bread, making it a crowd-pleasing appetizer or snack all year long. Not just during fresh tomato season (late summer). 


Canned tomatoes offer an excellent way to celebrate classic Italian dishes, infusing them with depth, flavor, and convenience. Whether you’re preparing pasta sauces, homemade pizza, slow-simmered soups, or stuffed delights, canned tomatoes provide a reliable and consistent ingredient that delivers authentic Italian taste year-round. Embrace the versatility of canned tomatoes and let them transport you to the sun-kissed lands of Italy, where each bite is a celebration of flavor and tradition.

Does processed food lose its nutrition value?

Does processed food lose its nutrition value?

Are fresh fruits and vegetables better for us than their processed alternatives? The answer may surprise you! Keep reading to learn more about processed food and its nutrition value.

There are many rumors out there when it comes to the nutrient content of fresh vs processed food. Many believe that “fresh is best” when it comes to fruits and vegetables; however, emerging evidence shows that this may not be true!

During the off season, many fruits and vegetables can become pricy and harder to find in their fresh form. This is where purchasing canned alternatives may be more friendly to both your wallet and your health! One example of this is the tomato. Found in many forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juiced), processed tomatoes are a good way to enjoy this healthful produce item all year long. In fact, studies show that the nutrition content of canned tomatoes contained significantly higher amounts of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium [1]. Additionally, the vitamin C content of canned tomatoes is higher in canned tomatoes than their fresh counterpart [1]. 

Another nutrient found within tomatoes that is an antioxidant is called lycopene. Lycopene becomes more bioavailable when heated, therefore it is more prominent in canned tomatoes than fresh. During the canning process tomatoes are heated which activates the disease fighting lycopene. Choosing canned tomatoes can be a great way to incorporate healthy foods in your diet on a budget!

Learn more about the benefits of lycopene with these resources:

Lycopene and Canned Tomatoes May Help with Cancer Prevention
Health Connection Between Tomatoes and Lycopene
What is Lycopene?


  1. Abdullahi, I. I., Abdullahi, N., Abdu, A. M., & Ibrahim, A. S. (2016, June 25).Proximate, mineral and vitamin analysis of fresh and Canned Tomato. Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from http://www.biotech-asia.org/vol13no2/proximate-mineral-and-vitamin-analysis-of-fresh-and-canned-tomato/
Best Budget-Friendly Foods for the Pantry

Best Budget-Friendly Foods for the Pantry

You don’t have to break the budget to enjoy a healthful meal! From tomato sauce to canned peas, here are the best budget-friendly foods for the pantry.

Eating healthy does not need to be expensive. There are great options to make a complete and wholesome meal at home using canned goods. A complete meal consists of at least half the plate filled with vegetables, a protein source (fish, chicken, etc.), and a grain/starch source (beans, corn, peas, rice, pasta, etc).

Canned goods offer a variety of affordable, pre-cooked or ready-to-eat ingredients, perfect for an easy-to-make meal. Pantry items are great because you can stock up and have them whenever needed. Canned goods are also nutritious and offer plenty of benefits that come from fresh produce/protein sources.

The best pantry items and how to use them

Canned Tomatoes

Benefits: Tomatoes offer a multitude of benefits, but canned tomatoes specifically, are an excellent source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant which is shown to lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

How to Use: Canned tomatoes can be used to make things like pasta sauce, soup, or chili. To make a chili, combine canned tomatoes, canned beans, and canned carrots. Add some spices, and you have yourself a delicious, complete meal.

Cost: *Cost range for a 14.5 oz can: $0.69- $2.49

Tomato Paste

Benefits: Canned tomatoes offer an excellent source of calcium and iron. Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth. Iron is important for brain function and immune support.

How to Use: Tomato paste is a great way to add flavor to almost anything you cook. It can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles, homemade sauces like spaghetti sauce or barbecue sauce, marinades for meats, grain dishes, and even tomato juice.

Cost: *Cost range for a 6 oz can: $0.79- $0.89

Tomato Sauce

Benefits: Canned tomato sauce contains a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Vitamin C is important because it enhances the absorption of iron and improves the immune system. Fiber and potassium aid in healthy bowel movements and helps lower blood pressure.

How to Use: Tomato sauce is so versatile and can be used for a number of things. Tomato sauce makes a great base for pizzas and pasta. This can also be used to replace tomato paste in some recipes.

Cost: *Cost range for a 8 oz can: $0.39-$0.49

Canned Vegetables

Benefits: The great thing about canned vegetables is that they are so affordable and sometimes even healthier than fresh vegetables. Canned vegetables are picked at peak season for freshness which ensures the best flavor and nutrient quality. They are naturally low in fat and calories and have no cholesterol. Canned veggies are convenient and save time because they are ready to eat.

How to Use: Canned vegetables can be used in recipes like soups, stir fries, and stews, or they can be eaten on their own. There are a variety of canned vegetables like carrots, green beans, beets, spinach, and mixed vegetables.

How to make canned vegetables even healthier

When purchasing canned vegetables look for items that say ‘reduced sodium’. When you are ready to eat your canned goods, you can also drain and rinse them to reduce the amount of salt.

Cost: *Prices will vary

Canned Beans (Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans)

Benefits: Canned beans offer very similar nutritional benefits to dried beans. They are a great source of fiber and protein, especially for plant-based diets. Beans are also high in folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

How to Use: Canned beans can be used in chili, salads, hummus, dips, or even heated up and enjoyed on their own. Similar to canned vegetables, it is best to find reduced sodium options and also drain and rinse them before using.

Cost: *Cost range for a 15 oz can: $0.69-$2.59

Canned Corn or Peas

Benefits: Corn and peas are a great starchy vegetable to have in your pantry. Starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrates when compared to other non-starchy vegetables, and are included as part of a healthy diet.These items are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Similar to other canned vegetables, they are low in fat and calories.

How to Use: They can both be used for side dishes, soups, and stews. Canned corn is great for cornbread, casseroles, and dips/salsa.

Cost: *Cost range for a 15 oz can: $0.79-$1.59

Canned Tuna, Salmon, and Chicken

Benefits: Protein is a very important component of a complete meal and typically the most expensive. But canned options make the protein more affordable and convenient. Canned proteins like tuna, salmon, and chicken are excellent protein sources. They provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Canned tuna is extremely rich in vitamin D which is necessary for bone health and the immune system.

Canned salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fats, which is amazing for heart and brain health. Canned chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and is rich in vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium.

How to Use: All of these items can be used in salads, sandwiches, dips, casseroles, pastas, grain dishes, served with crackers, or enjoyed on their own.

Cost: *Prices will vary

Canned or Boxed Soup

Benefits: Canned and boxed soups are a fantastic complete meal. Many soups are packed with protein, vegetables, and a starch, for an affordable price. Many soups are rich in vitamins and fiber. Canned soups are great for busy days and are extremely convenient because they only require heating. *Bonus: Many canned soups use tomatoes in the broth which increases the nutritional value of the soup and keeps it at a lower calorie range when compared to cream-based soups.

How to Use: Different canned soups include: tomato soup, vegetable soup, split pea soup, lentil soup, chicken noodle soup, and more. Make sure to pick reduced sodium options for better health benefits. Broth-based soups generally tend to be lower in calories versus cream-based soups. Choose soups with a chicken, vegetable, or tomato-based broth.

Cost: *Prices will vary

Canned Fruit

Benefits: Fresh fruit can be expensive and more time consuming when peeling and cutting is involved. Canned fruit is a wonderful quick and easy option. Like canned vegetables, canned fruit is lower in fat and contains no cholesterol. They are full of vitamins and minerals and just as beneficial as fresh fruit.

Pro-tip: The most important thing to note when purchasing canned fruit is the liquid used in the can. Look for 100% juice or water options to minimize the amount of sugar consumed. Refrain from buying canned fruit in syrup (this has added sugar).

How to Use: Canned fruit can be used in salads, pies, smoothies, oatmeal, enjoyed on its own, and much more.

Cost: *Cost range for a 15 oz can: $0.99-$2.19

*All prices are based on the Los Angeles, California area.

Best Budget-Friendly Foods for the Pantry

By: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist, founder of MIJA, and author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year.

The link between canned tomatoes and higher nutrition intake

The link between canned tomatoes and higher nutrition intake

Did you know that using canned foods can provide you with both convenience and better health? Here’s what science has to say about canned tomatoes and higher nutrition intake.

In our modern times, we are all about convenience, especially when it comes to cooking. Although fruits and vegetable are important to include in our diet, many of us may gravitate towards easy, no hassle options that we can make in a pinch. Some of us may even feel guilty when we don’t spend hours in the kitchen prepping and cooking fresh vegetables. The good news is that you do not have to sacrifice valuable time to eat healthy!

Canned goods have been used for years to preserve the summertime crops and ensure that food was available all year round. Perhaps in these modern times, you may feel guilty about consuming processed foods because you are told that they are all bad for health. The truth is that not all processed foods are created equal. Technically, canned vegetables are considered processed, as they are washed, cooked, and prepared to stay fresh on your shelf for many months. With so little time in our busy schedules, why not utilize these canned options to have quick and easy produce available to us at any time of year?

There is a myth that canned vegetables are not as nutritious as fresh ones. This myth is false. In fact, research has shown that those who frequently consume canned foods tend to consume more nutrient-dense foods and have a higher nutrient intake compared to those who don’t consume canned foods [1]. In this study, the group who consumed canned foods between 3-5 times per week had higher intakes of 17 essential vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, and fiber [1]. One of the most nutritious processed foods that you can consume are canned tomatoes. This is because tomatoes contain a carotenoid called lycopene that is praised for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Lycopene is absorbed much between when tomatoes are cooked, which makes canned tomato products a great way to boost your nutrition!

While fresh produce is always a great idea, canned vegetables are a sure-fire way to ensure that your diet does not falter in times when you are not able to get to the farmers market. So go ahead and stock up your pantry with some delicious processed foods, including canned tomatoes!

Learn more about the benefits of lycopene with these resources:

Lycopene and Canned Tomatoes May Help with Cancer Prevention
Health Connection Between Tomatoes and Lycopene
What is Lycopene?


  1. Comerford, K. (2015). Frequent canned food use is positively associated with nutrient-dense food group consumption and higher nutrient intakes in US children and adults. Nutrients7(7), 5586–5600. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7075240