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Plus, five salt bombs you should definitely skip.
Mar 27, 2020
Most canned foods are cheap and convenient, but not all cans satisfy the nutritional checklist. We asked Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN to come up with the best healthy canned food options you can reach for again and again (and she delivered). We also have some tips on the foods you may want to avoid (hello added sugar and salt!). While you’re at it, don’t forget to browse our guides to the best healthy frozen meals and healthy recipes to try when you have some time on your hands.
Del Monte’s Canned Spinach
If your spinach always goes bad before you get a chance to eat it, canned spinach is the way to go. Canned spinach actually contains more vitamin c per serving than its fresh counterpart!
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365 Everyday Value
365 Everyday Value’s Refried Black Beans
Looking to add some more fiber and protein to your diet? This can of refried beans has 6 grams of each! Not a bad way to step up your taco recipe.
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Bumble Bee’s Canned Mackerel
Chock full of Omega-3’s and B12 vitamins, canned mackerel is a great protein alternative if you’re getting sick of tuna.
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Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk
Dairy-free but insanely creamy, canned coconut milk last longer than most other dairy alternatives.
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They may not be the first munchie that comes to mind, but with anti-inflammatory properties and loads of vitamin C, canned prunes are not a bad sweet snack.
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Freshé Gourmet Aztec Ensalada Canned Tuna
Spice up your green salad with a pre-prepped mix of skipjack tuna, red beans, corn, sweet red peppers, and simmered onion. Freshé is also certified by nonprofit Friend of the Sea as sustainably caught seafood.
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Dr. McDougall’s Split Pea Soup
Okay, okay — it’s not a can, but this carton offers the same ready-in-minutes convenience and the health benefits of a plant-based, veggie-packed stew.
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Bumble Bee Pink Salmon In Water
Opt for fish packed in water instead of oil when making a protein-packed salmon recipe. You can also switch it up from tuna with skinless and boneless salmon.
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Amy’s Light in Sodium Spicy Chili
If you’re looking for a canned soup that doesn’t OD on salt, Amy’s light-in-sodium line has got you covered. This option has an extra kick for spicy food fans with half the amount of salt found in other brands.
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Bush’s Reduced Sodium Pinto Beans
Pulses — a.k.a. the edible seeds of legumes — can lower your risk of many chronic diseases as part of a plant-based diet. Load up by mixing low-sodium beans into stews, chilis, and sandwiches.
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Ortega Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles
Good news: Eating spicy food regularly can actually help you lose or maintain weight. That’s because people tend to consume foods with heat more slowly, allowing more time for the body to cue that you’re full.
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Market Pantry Diced Green Chiles
If you’re not ready for “fire-roasted” chiles, mild peppers might just do the trick. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
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Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
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Bush’s Reduced Sodium Garbanzos
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) can beef up stews, but try roasting and tossing with spices for a flavorful low-fat snack. If only there was an easy way to decide between honey-sesame and spicy buffalo …
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Health Valley No Salt Added Chicken Rice Soup
At less than 100mg of sodium per serving, this homey chicken soup contains just a fraction of the salt found in traditional options. That’s a guilt-free choice when you’re short on time to make dinner.
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Hunt’s No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
Pasta lovers, take note. It’s a good rule of thumb to look for low-sodium versions of tomato sauce whether you buy cans or jars.
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Simply Balanced Organic Cannellini Beans
Delicious dinner idea: Baked foil packets of shrimp, cannellini beans, and vegetables tossed with olive oil, lemon zest, and spices. Yes, please!
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Amy’s Light in Sodium Minestrone
Tons of organic veggies, beans, and potatoes make this Italian option a total thumbs-up. Equally important, it keeps the salt in check at 290mg, only 12% of your daily value.
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Season Sardines in Water
Just one serving of sardines contains 20% of your daily value of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for nerve function and cognitive health. They’re basically brain food!
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Del Monte Low Sodium Corn
Don’t worry about the side dish. Classic corn has got you covered. Try mixing it into herbed salsa or zesty pico to go with your entree.
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365 Everyday Value
365 Everyday Value Pitted Black Olives
It’s not just olive oil that packs health benefits. The monounsaturated fatty acids in these little fruits boost your heart by lowering LDL (“bad” cholesterol) while maintaining HDL (“good” cholesterol).
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Simply Balanced Organic Diced Tomatoes
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GOYA Low Sodium Black Beans
You don’t have to go to Chipotle to get your fix. Black beans pack both protein and fiber in one smart serving.
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Market Pantry No Salt Added Cut Green Beans
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Amy’s Light in Sodium Lentil Vegetable
Take the night off from cooking and heat up a pulse-filled stew instead. Green beans, tomatoes, and spinach round out the lentils.
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Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna
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Del Monte Sliced Beets
You can’t beat beets. The pigments (called betalains) in these colorful veggies can lower your risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation.
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Health Valley No Salt Added Vegetable Soup
A single serving of this stew contains 45% of your daily value of Vitamin A, the nutrient in carrots that helps protect vision and keep eyes healthy.
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365 Everyday Value
365 Everyday Value Artichoke Hearts
No one wants to deal with those spiny and time-consuming petals. Go straight to the heart (actually an edible bud!) with the canned version and serve with chicken or squash.
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Bush’s Reduced Sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans
Yep, more beans. They don’t call them the “magical fruit” for nothing (but it’s not for the reason you’re thinking of).
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