1. Fresh: Nothing beats a crisp salad full of seasonal ingredients and vivid colour. Fresh vegies are best used as soon as possible. This is because the longer they sit in the bottom of the fridge, the fewer nutrients they retain, especially vitamin C.
To get the best all-round value from your produce, stick to what’s in season. Where possible, opt for food that is grown locally.
BEST BUYs: Seasonal greens, cucumber, celery, Asian greens.
2. Frozen: Convenient and pre-prepared, some varieties of frozen vegies can have as many, or even more, nutrients as their fresh counterparts, particularly vitamin C.
This is because most frozen vegies are blanched (cooked briefly in boiling water) and snap-frozen shortly after harvest. This minimises the loss of nutrients. Frozen vegies keep for up to a year if stored properly, so you’re much less likely to waste them.
BEST BUYs: Beans, peas, spinach, corn.
3. Canned: Because they’re already partially cooked, canned vegies don’t require as much cooking as the fresh and frozen types, so there’s less chance of more nutrient loss.
Studies have shown that a diet with plenty of canned tomatoes has been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. They are also a super source of the antioxidant lycopene.
On the downside, the canning process depletes vitamin C. Canned vegies may contain lots of added salt, so choose salt-reduced or no-added-salt varieties.
BEST BUYs: No-added-salt tomatoes, beans, lentils, beetroot.