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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

You CAN Eat Healthy!

So, we are halfway through the first month of the New Year. Everyone is off to a roaring start on their resolutions, still holding strong at two weeks in (they say that it's not until after two months that the average person tends to fall off the wagon on those.) As this list compiled by the US government shows, goals for 2014 remain similar to those of the past: "get fit," "lose weight," and "eat healthy food" all made the list. As we all know, eating a healthy, balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity is the path to achieving these goals. The only caveat to this million dollar plan is that it is winter time! It's cold, snowy, and blowy outside-a barrier to getting out and getting active. Also, winter isn't the best time of year for the produce section here in Illinois. The selection is less than optimum for locally grown vegetables/fruits, not to mention those that garden and are encouraged by eating their own grown.

While we might prefer fresh produce to amp up our diets, don't be afraid to look to your pantry for assistance on this one. Convenient and affordable canned fruits and vegetables can boost nutrition and save time in favorite home cooked meals. Relying more on canned foods (which come pre cleaned, chopped and cooked) can help with quick assembly of delicious and nutritious meals. However, a recent consumer survey revealed that Americans are unsure of the benefits canned foods bring to the table. Keep these 5 canned food facts in mind as you hit up the grocery store next:

  1. Canned food is filled with important nutrients, including fibers, vitamin and minerals essential to a healthy diet. A study done by our very own University of Illinois confirmed that often, canned fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as their fresh and frozen counterparts.
  2. Canned foods offer comparable nutrients often at a lower cost than their fresh or frozen counterparts, particularly when waste and prep time are considered.
  3. Canned food contributes less than 1% for the sodium in American's diets, and there are more no-salt added, low sodium options on shelves today now more than ever. (Note: a quick drain and rinse with water will further reduce sodium by 40%)
  4. Canned foods are considered minimally processed foods
  5. Steel food cans are strong, tamper resistant and airtight sealed-completely safe! And steel cans are the most recycled food package!

February is National Canned Food Month-it will be here soon! So reap these benefits and stock your pantry now!

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