Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's better for you? Fresh/frozen/canned

I watched a little nutrition video thing in my sports nutrition class this week. The guy was very practical and grounded in his philosophies. I've been asked recently a lot about what kind of vegetable is better for you, frozen or canned. This guy's response was, it's not the canned vegetables that are bad for us, it's the canned twinkies. Meaning, most Americans just need to get more vegetables in their diet however they will take them.

I agree with that absolutely. If you prefer canned vegies, go for it and leave the guilt behind you. Personally, I like fresh the best because I think they taste better. My preference. However, once you cook those fresh vegetables they lose some of their nutrients. It puts them about even with canned vegis. Frozen is the same deal. Once defrosted and cooked, you lose some nutrients. So, overall fresh, raw vegis are the best, but do you like raw vegis? I do, but I'm weird.

Most studies show, we aren't getting our recommended 3-4 servings of vegis every day. If you are getting 3-4 a day, then let's start splitting hairs over where they're farmed or shipped from, how they're preserved, and how you prepare them. Until then, just find some vegis you like and eat more of them.

Here's a little recipe to inspire you.

I ate this in China and managed to replicate it pretty closely by trial and error.

Szechaunese Green Beans

1 lb green beans (I hate to say it but get them fresh, the texture is better when stir-fried)
1 tbl chopped ginger
1/2 tsp chilli paste
1 Tbl dark soy (if at all possible use the dark soy, your standard table soy will not give you the same results)
1/2 tsp sugar
About 2-3 tsp peanut oil for cooking
2-3 oz ground pork (you can use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter meat)

Wash and snap off the ends of the beans. If they are really thick you may want to cut them length-wise, but I'm too lazy too, so I usually just toss them in whole.

Combine all the ingredients except the beans and meat if you use it.

Put the oil in a wok and heat it up. Add the meat (is using) and stir fry for about a minute. Then add the beans and continue stir frying for about another 2 mins. The meat should be cooked all the way through and the beans should be starting to brown on the outside. Brown, not burn.

Add all other ingredients and cook until most of the liquid is cooked off. About a minute.

This is a really quick dish. The longest part is snapping the bean ends. Since I'm single, I'll make this and eat most of it in one sitting. You can put it over rice too if you like rice. Another option is to toss in some peanuts instead of the meat. Peanut + rice = complete protein, good option for vegetarians.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I recently read a blog that had this same issue. It said that fresh is best. But frozen can be just as good because sometimes it is frozen faster than other fresh fruit can get to certain areas.

Then of course canned last. But to watch out for the ingredients in canned fruit/veggies. If there is added sugar or tons of salt, not the best. But like you said, if you choose between twinkie and canned veggies, canned veggies are better for you.