Semi-Sweet Reader Challenge: Can You Ban The Can?

canned food

Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while probably saw the list of 10 for ’10 that I published back in January.  How’re you doing on those?  Specifically, have you worked to reduce your canned-goods exposure?  You know you don’t want to consume more BPA than you have to.  If you’re still cracking cans regularly, I have a challenge for you . . . can you go one week without using anything that comes in a can?  This includes soft drinks, people, if you drink those (which you shouldn’t, but maybe that’s your vice?).  Read on for tips ‘n’ tricks and decide whether you’re man- or woman-enough to commit . . . .

5 sweet tips for reducing your canned-goods use:

  1. Gather an arsenal of recipes that don't require canned foods. Many of the recipes here on Semi-Sweet don’t call for canned goods . . . and there are a billion on the ‘net.  Plan your menus for the week on the weekend and shop accordingly.  See also, number 2 below.  
  2. Plan ahead to have more fresh fruit and veg on hand.  Again, planning your meals for the week in advance can help with this.  You might also want to consider buying a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA share.  And when you can’t get to the market, frozen fruits and vegetables are a great alternative to canned.  Always have some fan-favorites on hand.
  3. Make soup from scratch. Take a little extra time on the weekend and prepare a big vat o’ soup - pop extra servings in the freezer or eat off the vat all week.  Indulge your kid’s chicken-noodle obsession by floating her favorite noodles (pre-cooked) in low-sodium chicken broth (from a box, people!) or better yet, use your own homemade stock.
  4. Go with dried beans. Canned beans are über-convenient, but cooking dried is cheaper and pretty simple, with a little forethought. Check out my post here.  Remember, you can freeze your home-cooked beans so they’ll be just as convenient as canned.
  5. Seek safer packaging. Look for tomato paste in glass jars, stock in a box, tomatoes in glass jars or tetra packs.  Choose soups, juices and other foods packaged in cardboard cartons made of layers of aluminum and polyethylene plastic (labeled with a number 2 recycling code).  Choose plastic, or even better, glass bottles for beverages. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a re-usable water bottle - stainless steel is best.

Do you have a need to read?  The EWG provides a boat-load of information on BPA exposure from canned foods

What's the hardest canned-good for you to give up?  I'll start - I love tinned sardines in mustard sauce.  I don't eat them every week (lots of salt), but once in a while I love them on toast.  Little unusual, I know, but I've not seen an alternative packed in glass .  . . .