Can canned foods be made healthy?

Canned foods are generally safe to consume, and it is fine to use canned foods to add on to fresh foods every once in a while, when preparing meals for the family. The canning process itself, which requires heating the food at high temperature, preserves the food, sealing in the freshness, flavour, and nutrients.

Canned food, much like other processed foods, contains added preservatives and additives, such as colourings, and flavouring agents. However, if you read the labels and choose the food you buy wisely, you will notice that there are also canned foods that do not contain preservatives or other additives.

When choosing canned foods, use these tips:

  • Check the Nutrition Informational Panel (NIP) to examine the ingredients list Take particular note of the unhealthy food additives added to the food, e.g. preservatives, colourings, flavourings, etc.
  • Check the expiry date and quality of the packaging: do not purchase dented, leaking, cracked,
    or bulging cans as the food inside may be contaminated with bacteria.
  • Choose wisely: Opt for low fat, low or no salt, reduced sugar, or sugar-free varieties.
  • Avoid foods that are in heavy fructose or corn syrup or oil.

Storage of canned foods is also very important; store the canned foods that you have purchased in a cool or dry place – not near pipes, the stove, a furnace or in direct sunlight. Always keep the cans dry to avoid the metal lids from rusting. Rust can cause leaks, which could also lead to food spoilage.