Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by the Can Manufacturers Institute, as part the Cans Get You Cooking initiative. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
February is National Canned Food Month! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of blogging, it’s that you guys crave simple, tasty and nutritious recipes – and that’s where canned food comes into play. Canned food is not only delicious – it is nutritious, good for the environment and supports the economy. To celebrate this important month, I’ve got a new recipe today that’s made up almost entirely of ingredients from your cupboard, or ‘cantry’ as I like to call it. Thanks to the help of canned foods, this Coconut Fried Rice is ridiculously easy to make, proving that you CAN make a healthy and tasty dish with the ingredients you already have in your home (I had to make that joke at least once in this post—don’t hate me).
To make a healthier alternative to a take-out staple, I used canned coconut milk, canned carrots, canned peas, brown rice, eggs, ground ginger and soy sauce. If you’re wondering why I chose canned veggies instead of fresh, I’ve got five stellar reasons:
1. My fridge is pretty empty at the moment, but I don’t like to eat a meal without some sort of veggies. Rather than running out to the store, canned foods help make eating healthy more convenient. Plus, studies show that people who frequently eat canned foods tend to have healthier diets (Comerford, 2015).
2. Between working, half marathon training and a social life, I don’t always have hours to spend in the kitchen. Cooking with canned foods cuts down on prep time, meaning less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family.
3. Canned foods reduce food waste. We’ve all had that moment where we reach for a piece of produce and find it’s already gone bad. As a matter of fact, most Americans throw away approximately 15 to 20% of the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase every year (Buzby, 2014). Rather than buy more veggies than I can eat, I keep canned foods on hand to help prevent food waste.
4. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, people who eat canned foods are more likely to have diets consistent with four popular healthy eating patterns: Mediterranean, American Heart Association (AHA), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and a Healthy American Diet. Plus, canned food consumers eat more fiber, vitamins and minerals as compared to non-canned food consumers.
5. Lastly, canned fruits and veggies are just as good for you as fresh! Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness and canned within four hours. The high heat used in canning keeps food fresh and flavorful without the need for preservatives and additives, providing year-round access to your favorite fruits and vegetables. Check out this fun explainer video from Cans Get You Cooking to learn more.
Now you know why I love canned foods, I hope you’re ready to jump on the can bandwagon. If you’re a newbie to canned foods, this recipe is a great place to start and National Canned Food Month is the perfect time to get cooking with cans in the kitchen. Just cook up some brown rice with coconut milk and ground ginger, scramble a few eggs, throw in the canned veggies and season with soy sauce. Voila—you CAN get a healthy side dish on the table quickly (sorry, I had to do it!).
And remember – even though National Canned Food Month is just one month of the year, cans get you cooking all year round. Choose canned fruits, veggies and protein every month and reap the many benefits of cans. In fact, there are over 1,500 varieties of canned foods available year-round, which means easy access to ingredients is always at your fingertips, no matter what the season. (Can Central, 2017)
Happy National Canned Food Month – may your “cantry” always be fully stocked!
Coconut Fried Rice
This simple side dish uses a few SECRET ingredients to make it healthier, easier and more affordable than takeout
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup canned peas
- 1 cup canned sliced carrots cut in half
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
In a large saucepan, combine the brown rice, water, coconut milk, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the three large eggs.
Once the rice is cooked, add the vegetable oil to a large frying pan and bring to medium heat. Add the eggs to the pan and cook until the eggs start to set—about 3 minutes. Add the rice to the frying pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the peas, carrots and soy sauce and heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve!