It is not easy joggling between our careers, household responsibilities, and spare time activities we enjoy. Some might even have trouble sleeping at night, dreading lunch and dinnertime. For those always on the move or who want to cook something fast but nutritious for their families, there are three canned foods that can become kitchen allies.
Contrary to popular belief, there are canned goods that nutritionists approve of, and they can be found in most supermarkets. The list includes beans, canned fish and meat, tomatoes and derivate, pumpkin, coconut milk, and the list goes on. The recommendation is to go for foods canned in their own juice or water and avoid brands that add too much sodium or sugar. Three of the canned foods from the list are versatile, nutritious, and used in many quick meals.
Canned beans: superstars at family night
Supermarkets are full of all types of canned beans. There is a lot of variety, and you can never get bored of them. I enjoy buying at least three types of canned beans and adding them to the family’s recipes. You can choose white beans and create the perfect quick beans hummus, or buy chickpeas and prepare the most exquisite humus with freshly chopped herbs such as basil and oregano. You only need a can of any kind of beans, a chopper/blender, fresh or dry herbs, salt, and crackers or nachos to use for dipping.
Another way of taking full advantage of canned beans is to add them as a side dish next to almost anything. Brazilian and other cuisines use black beans next to rice as their staple ingredient. Besides using beans as a side dish or simply adding some protein to your salad, you can create stews and other hot dishes.
Bean stews are made with any type of beans (kidney beans, black beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.) as the star ingredient, and you can add grown meat, red meat or sausages, onions, potatoes, bell peppers, and tomato juice. An easy way to cook a bean stew is to use your slow cooker/ multicooker or Thermomixer and simply dump the ingredients in and wait a couple of hours.
Why are beans healthy and nutritious?
Beans are packed with fibers and proteins and are low in fat. They can make you feel full for longer, and you can find unsalted canned beans on the market.
Canned Tomatoes: your base for any decent soup/salsa/pasta
There is a wide variety of canned chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and other derivates. Tomatoes have high amounts of lycopene, especially canned ones. This nutrient has antioxidant properties, and it has many health benefits. Lycopene protects our heart, it protects our skin from getting sunburnt, and it can protect against cancer.
How to use canned tomatoes?
You can use canned tomatoes or chopped canned tomatoes to make pasta, lasagne, pizza, and salsas. You can use a scoop of canned bullion to add flavor to your soups and stews, and the list of recipes goes on and on. Many brands include herbs with canned tomatoes, meaning you only need to add a bit of spice, decide on a side dish, and your meal is done. Some people add a little bit of sugar when cooking recipes with canned tomatoes to make sure the sauce/salsa is not too acid.
Canned fish and meat
If you buy canned fish, canned beans, and canned tomatoes, you can eat all three as they come. Just add all to a plate, and your lunch/dinner is ready. Nutritionists recommend going for the canned fish in its own juice rather than the oil packs. They are nutritious and come with fewer calories. What is great about canned fish is that you can experiment with your family and try the different types of fish on the market, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc. Some fish cans come with tomato sauce, and they are ready to be eaten next to a rice portion or some polenta.
Canned meat and chicken offer a decent source of protein, and they can be used to cook any patties, nacho dips, salads, pasta, and stews. The great thing about canned fish and meat is that you do not need to waste extra time cleaning your chicken to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat and other ingredients.