Healthy canned foods. If you’re looking for canned foods to stock up on that are plant-based friendly, here are some of our favorites to put on your canned foods list.
Canned foods are often passed over as an everyday item. But we love them for more than their long shelf life.
And while we love a rotation of fresh foods as much as possible, we’re also big fans of having healthy frozen and canned foods available.
Not only are canned foods inexpensive, with many coming in at $1.00 or less, they’re versatile and packed with nutrition.
And with the right approach, you can stock your shelves with healthy canned foods, These can be long-term pantry staples, or be used multiple times a week in batch cooking.
If you’re picking out plant-based canned beans and other foods, check the ingredient label. Make sure they don’t contain animal-derived products, like lard or milk.
Here are 10 of our favorite healthy canned foods and some ideas for how to use them on a plant-based diet.
1. Black beans
In a 1/2 cup serving of canned black beans, you’ll find 5 grams of fiber, 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron, and 6 grams of protein.
Some of our favorite ways to use black beans are in black bean soup or enchiladas. Did you know you can even use black beans in a peanut butter protein smoothie? Check out this one!
Plus, black beans are great for baby-led weaning. You can serve them drained, rinsed, and slightly smashed for to practice pincer grasp, or mash the beans onto slices of toast for babe to explore.
2. Kidney beans
A 1/2 cup of kidney beans offers 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 10% of the DV for iron.
Furthermore, kidney beans are also a great source of choline. This nutrient is needed for mood, memory, liver health, muscle control, and other important brain and nervous system functions.
Kidney beans work wonderfully in Mexican-inspired dishes, like slow cooker beans and rice, or a vegan tortilla bean casserole.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, have a unique flavor that can actually be used in place of traditional chicken or tuna-based dishes.
A 1/2 cup serving of chickpeas contain a whopping 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 8% of the DV for iron and calcium.
Chickpeas are awesome to use in cookie dough protein balls, chickpea tuna-free salad sandwiches, and chickpea noodle soup.
For older kids, seasoned and roasted chickpeas make a great snack or as a topper for salads.
4. White beans
White beans, like navy, great northern, or cannellini, are full of nutrients and have a mild flavor that can be used for a number of recipes.
A 1/2 cup serving of white beans offers 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 6% of the DV for both calcium and iron.
We love white beans for hummus and creamy dips for veggies and pitas, as a spread for avocado toast, or for a flavorful white bean chili.
Lentils are a nice change of pace and can be used in several ways. And while they’ve traditionally been found in dry form, it’s now pretty easy to find canned lentils too.
In a 1/4 cup serving of lentils, you can get 8 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and 15% of the DV for iron.
We like them to make lentil falafels, a lentil-based “meat” loaf, and as taco meat or sloppy joes.
Peas are another great plant-based protein, especially if your kids don’t love beans or lentils.
In a 2/3 cup serving of green peas, you’ll find 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 15% of the DV for vitamin C, and a little bit of vitamin A and iron.
Toss peas into cold salads and curry veggie pastas. They work well in homemade veggie burgers and fried rice. Even add them to smoothies for a unique plant protein!
Corn on the cob is great, but when it’s not summertime? Canned corn is a convenient and tasty option that can be used in a lot of similar ways.
A 1/2 cup serving of corn provides 2 grams of fiber and protein, as well as a little bit of vitamin C and iron.
Try canned corn to make a sweet creamy corn pasta, corn chowder, or zucchini and corn tacos. It’s also a great side dish to just about any entrée.
Many canned fruits are packed in heavy syrup or have added sugar. Read the ingredient lists to choose healthier ones packed in water instead.
Canned fruits, like peaches, pears, pineapple, and mandarin oranges, make simple and nutritious sides to pretty much any dish.
Additionally, they’re also an easy add for smoothies, to top oatmeal, pancakes, and waffles, or for sweetness atop jackfruit sandwiches when you don’t have fresh fruit available.
9. Canned tomatoes
A variety of stewed, diced, crushed, peeled, and pureed tomatoes on hand is helpful when planning for plant-based batch cooking.
Plus, tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, iron, potassium, and copper. They’re also a great source of the antioxidant lycopene.
Canned tomatoes are great for making a homemade tomato sauce for pastas, creamy slow cooker tomato soup, or vegan chili.
10. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is calorie-dense and creamy, and can be used to make both savory and sweet recipes. It makes hot dishes thick and satisfying, and freezes well.
A 1/4 cup serving of full-fat canned coconut milk contains 100 calories and 9 grams of fat, which can fit well on a plant-based diet for growing kids.
In addition, coconut milk is rich in B vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
Some of our go-to recipes for coconut milk are chocolate nice cream, coconut curry, mango chia pudding, and fruity popsicles.
Healthy canned foods are a great addition to a predominantly plant-based diet, and we hope this helps you find canned foods to stock up on. Making a canned foods list can be a helpful tool for planning your family’s plant-based meals.
Chime In: What canned foods do you keep stocked in your pantry?
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I am 56 and have been diagnosed with some health issues I appreciate these tips I am starting my new way of eating thank you