Convenient, Safe, and Nutritious Foods:
It's in a Can


When it comes to eating right for a healthy lifestyle, you have more food options than ever before. These options are available in a number of packages-in bags, cartons, bottles, and cans. For those seeking convenience, safety, and a variety of nutritious foods, canned foods offer one smart choice. Busy cooks are returning to using canned foods to fit into their hectic and nutrition-conscious lifestyles.

How does the nutrition profile of canned foods compare with fresh and frozen?

Canned food is a convenient and versatile option for nutritious eating. Fresh, frozen, and canned foods can help you prepare easy and nutritionally balanced meals for the whole family. Canned food is as nutritious as its fresh and frozen counterparts upon preparation. Because fruits and vegetables are processed a few hours after harvesting, canning food locks in taste and nutrients. It can also offer a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that the body needs to stay fit and healthy.

What varieties will I find in the canned food aisle?

More than 1,500 varieties of canned food are available, ranging from artichokes to zucchini. Most brands offer canned food varieties in sodium-free, low-sodium, and lowfat, reduced-fat, and fat-free options for balanced food choices and for those with special dietary restrictions. Many out-of-season foods, such as pineapple and asparagus, can be found in cans year-round.

How do I include canned foods as part of a sensible meal plan?

Nutrition experts recommend eating a variety of foods to stay healthy and using the Food Guide Pyramid as a practical tool to make wise food choices. Canned food is represented in all of the five food groups of the Pyramid. For example, you can enjoy rice and pasta in soups as a good selection of grain; evaporated milk fits in the milk, yogurt, and cheese group; and canned chicken and beans fit into the meat, poultry, and fish group. You can find your favorite canned fruits and vegetables in all shapes and sizes.


Tortellini Salad with Shrimp

Tortellini Salad with Shrimp


  • 1 package (9 ounces) fresh cheese-filled spinach tortellini
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 can (7 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 can (3-1/2 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 pound shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Italian Herb Dressing (recipe follows)
  • Grated parmesan cheese


Cook tortellini as directed; drain. In large bowl gently toss all ingredients, including dressing. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

For Italian Herb Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 1 clove garlic, minced; and 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup.


Down South Sweet Potato Pie



  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) mashed yams
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 9-inch deep-dish pie shells
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

For garnish: lightly whipped cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the sugar. Reduce mixer speed and add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in yams, evaporated milk and pumpkin pie spice.

Pour filling into pie shells. Bake pies 30 to 35 minutes until edges puff, crusts brown and custard sets.

Meanwhile, mix the pecans, brown sugar and butter. Set aside.

Remove pies form oven. Sprinkle with pecan mixture and return to oven 7 to 10 minutes longer, until topping is golden brown and crisp. Cool pies on rack completely. Garnish with whipped cream.


Provided by Steel Packaging Council, American Iron and Steel Institute

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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