10 Tasty Tips for Cooking with Canned and Frozen Veggies

Article posted in: Nutrition South Beach DIY
healthy cooking tips

With the recent issuing of stay-home ordinances due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), people are adjusting their weekly shopping lists to make their inventory last longer. Stocking up on shelf-stable and frozen foods can help minimize trips to the grocery store while you practice social distancing and self isolation. Canned and frozen produce is often pushed aside and underestimated. However, these convenient ingredients are now taking the forefront in many of our meals while we’re spending more time cooking at home.

If you haven’t checked out our Registered Dietitian’s grocery list for a quarantine, click here to read her shopping advice! > Canned and frozen veggies are some of her top picks. Transform your persevered vegetables with a few of our simple tips and tricks. We’ve rounded up some creative and unique ways to utilize canned and frozen veggies that fit easily into our meal plan.

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Here are five simple tips for cooking with frozen veggies:

1. Choose plain varieties.

cooking tips frozen veggies

According to the New York Post, Samantha Heller, a dietitian with NYU Langone Health, credits plain frozen vegetables and fruits with being just as nutritious as fresh. She explains that plain frozen foods are quickly flash-frozen when ripe to preserve the optimum amount of nutrients. However, many frozen veggies are paired with sugar-filled sauces that contain unhealthy ingredients. When shopping for your frozen veggies, make sure to choose plain varieties that are free of added sauces. Add your own Free Foods and Extras while you’re cooking to save calories and avoid additives. Check out our Grocery Guide for South Beach Diet-approved additions. >

2. Add them to smoothies and shakes.

green smoothie

There’s no better way to sneak those three vegetable servings into your day than by adding them to a smoothie or protein shake. Using frozen spinach and kale in a creamy smoothie gets those nutrients into your diet without the bland taste of plain greens. Maybe whip up some berry “ice cream” with frozen berries, spinach and your favorite milk or milk substitute! Learn more about berries on our meal plan here. >

3. Steam to retain nutrients and texture.

cooking steamed veggies

According to LiveStrong.com, vegetables contain water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. They explain that these nutrients very heat-sensitive and can easily be ruined during the cooking process. You can decrease the amount of the precious vitamins that are lost by steaming your veggies in lieu of high-heat cooking like boiling.

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4. Roast on a sheet pan with herbs and spices.

roasted veggie cooking tips

There’s no simpler meal than throwing frozen veggies and chicken on a pan and roasting them to perfection in the oven. It’s quick, flavorful, effective and delicious! Baking frozen veggies is also a great way to preserve their nutritional qualities and texture. According to LiveStrong.com, “pressure-cooking and boiling vegetables leads to the greatest antioxidant loss. Grilling, microwaving and baking, on the other hand, were touted as methods that cause the lowest nutritional losses.”

5. Toss them into soup or stir fry.

cooking soup frozen veggies

According to HuffPost, there’s no need to thaw veggies before cooking certain dishes. Lisa Shepherd, a nutrition and food science instructor at Middle Tennessee State University, explains that frozen veggies thaw fast during cooking and can retain the best texture by doing so. Throw still-frozen veggies into your soups and stews for a hearty and healthy home style dinner.

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Now check out these five easy tricks for transforming canned veggies:

6. Rinse well to remove extra salt.


Canned veggies are a quick and easy way to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet. Many canned foods, however, have added sodium to increase their self-life. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension attributes a short two-step process with greatly reducing the sodium content in canned food: Rinse the food for about 10 seconds under lukewarm water, then drain for about two minutes.

7. Avoid overcooking.

healthy cooking tips

Just like frozen vegetables, canned goods can be overcooked as well. This results in the loss of taste, texture and vital nutrients. According to Louisiana State University College of Agriculture, you can avoid overcooking canned food by steaming or microwaving in lieu of boiling. Remember to always remove fruits and vegetables from the can before using them.

8. Make homemade sauces and soups.

soup and pasta

Canned foods provide yummy and straightforward ingredients in bulk. Use them to make your own versions of restaurant favorites! Plan a simple night of chips and salsa, soup and salad around the goodies you find already taking space in your pantry.

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9. Buy varieties that are difficult to prepare raw

healthy cooking tips

Sometimes, especially now, we just need simple. Right? Look for the canned alternatives to veggies that are more challenging to tackle when raw, such as artichokes, beans and beets. According to NBC News, beans are chock-full of protein, fiber, magnesium and potassium. Buy every variety from garbanzo beans and black beans to kidney beans and white beans.

10. Add to pasta or salad.

tomato sauce

Lacking in your protein for the day? Need a quick and nutritious meal? Throw together a salad or pasta dish with canned goodies. According to NBC News, black olives are the perfect addition to salads, omelets, pasta and tacos. They also recommend adding canned diced tomatoes to your pantry, which is great for chili, homemade pasta sauce or salsa and other delicious dishes.