Are Canned Fruits and Vegetables Bad for My Kids?

Most people are surprised to learn that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are not bad but good!  The nutrient content of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables is comparable to that of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I’ve heard people say, “If it isn’t fresh, it doesn’t count.”  Thankfully, that just isn’t true.  In some cases canned and frozen is even superior in nutrient content than fresh produce.  For example studies have shown that fresh tomatoes have less lycopene than canned tomatoes.  Lycopene is an antioxidant that is believed to protect against heart disease and certain cancers.  Canned and frozen produce is picked at its peak and canned very shortly after being harvesting.  Although, some B and C vitamins are lost during canning the majority of the nutrients remain at the same level once they are canned or frozen.

I’ll confess it is a struggle to get the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables for my children and myself.  Although, I do find it find reassuring that I can offer fruits and vegetables in a variety of different forms, helping us reach the recommendations.  In the summer months we eat more fresh produce and in the winter months we eat a larger variety of fresh, frozen, and canned produce.  In the winter months it’s harder for me to find a lot of fresh produce that looks good and the cost of fresh produce is often higher in the winter.  Canned and frozen produce also has a long shelf/freezer life if stored properly which enables me to always have fruits and vegetables on hand without having to worry about using them up quickly.

When choosing canned and frozen fruits and vegetables keep in mind the following tips:

  • When possible choose canned fruit in 100% real fruit juice.
  • If the canned fruit is not available in 100% real fruit juice, then choose canned fruit in light syrup.  Drain the syrup before serving.
  • Choose canned vegetables with “no salt added” or “low sodium”.  Research has shown that rinsing off canned vegetables with water reduces the sodium content.
  • Choose frozen produce without sauces, no added fat, sugar, and sodium.
  • Store canned fruits and vegetables in a dry and cool place.
  • Don’t buy canned produce that is in dented or bulging cans.

Take comfort in knowing you are not doing anything wrong by feeding your family frozen and canned produce. Most of us are not getting even close to the recommended amount, so squeeze in fruits and vegetables as many ways as possible. Try this stress free recipe using canned vegetables. It is so good; your kids may even like it.

Super Fruit Salad
Serves: 14
An easy and tasty fruit salad that includes canned and fresh fruits!
  • 1 can (15 oz.) peaches, in 100% juice, drained and diced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges, in 100% juice or light syrup, drained
  • 3 apples, cored and cubed
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup yogurt, any flavor (I usually use vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the prepared fruit.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. Pour the yogurt over the fruit. Mix well.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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