This is a sponsored blog post I was happy to write in partnership with the California Cling Peach Board. The options for incorporating canned peaches into meals and snacks are many, gorgeous, and nutritious!
If I could use only 3 words to sum up the secret to healthy eating those very carefully chosen words would be ‘consistency’, ‘moderation’ and ‘variety’. Steadily applying these 3 concepts drastically increases odds of staying healthy, satisfied, and energized to pursue more exciting things in life than micro-managing every morsel, trying the latest fads and worrying about food all the time.
Consistency means applying basic healthy living strategies day in and day out, every week and every year of life rather than jumping on and off the latest trendy approach. Are the healthiest people you know constantly trying a new diet? Do they have a garage full of dusty, unused exercise equipment? Or, do they seem to steadily maintain life long healthy habits like getting good quality sleep, staying active, surrounding themselves with like-minded optimistic people, enjoying the great outdoors, buying healthy groceries week after week, making wholesome meals at home and other permanent positive choices?
Moderation, boring as it seems, means not over doing it with anything. It also means not denying yourself. It implies balance and results in permanent success.
Variety is about constantly keeping healthy eating delicious, interesting and nutrient-packed by taking advantage of the vast array of flavours, natural colours and textures available in our food supply. Eating a varied diet avoids putting all your eggs in one basket. You enjoy the benefits of many different foods and significantly reduce risk.
In the winter months in Canada, keeping variety up with fruit and vegetables isn’t quite as easy as in the late spring and summer when a bounty of locally-grown fresh produce is available. Yet for optimal nourishment and enjoyment in eating, it’s important to avoid limiting our food choices to just a few. Fresh, frozen and certain canned goods all make a very important, nutritious contribution.
About a decade ago, singing along to that famous song, we moved out to the country to grow peaches. As avid gardeners, we actually relocated to a more rural area for a bunch of healthy living reasons – including to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables that we’re able to enjoy fresh and freeze extras for use throughout the year. Peaches are a favourite. In August, being able to go out in the backyard and pick a ripe, juicy peach off the tree in the photo below is mighty special for this foodie dietitian. But even though we grow our own, we aren’t able to grow the entire supply we desire for the whole year.
Throughout the year, especially in the winter months, canned peaches are always on hand in our pantry. We use them in many ways including to add sunny natural colour, flavour and nutrition to fruit salads, smoothies, muffin batter, oatmeal, desserts, salsa for white fish, to roll up in crepes and more!
The canned peaches available for sale in Canada come from California farms. There are two categories of peach, Clingstone and Freestone, distinguished by the ease with which the edible area pulls away from the stone (pit). California cling peaches are the variety most commonly used for commercial canning as they are exceptional in their ability to retain their flavour and consistency.
A few other sunny facts about California cling peaches:
- They’re grown on small family farms and don’t threaten the BC-grown peach supply
- California cling peaches are picked and packed usually within 24 hours so that they retain their appearance, texture, flavour and nutrients
- They’re often packed in water or their own juice – the best, no-sugar-added ones to choose!
- Heat sealing perfectly preserves them and the canning process has been proven to increase nutrients – just as lycopene levels increase when tomatoes are canned. According to a study by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU), canned peaches are higher in antioxidants and vitamin A and are nearly four times higher in vitamin C and 10 times higher in folate than fresh peaches
- Canned peaches have 57% less sugar than flavoured yogurt
February is National Canned Food Month in Canada. A perfect time to open up a can of sunshine and enjoy the benefits of Californina Cling Peaches. Give these 3 delicious recipes a try if you like and find more gorgeous peach creations at www.calclingpeach.ca
Peach and Chia Overnight Oats Makes 4 Servings
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1 can (14oz / 398 mL) California cling sliced peaches, drained and patted dry
You will also need:
4 x 1 cup jars with airtight lid
Set out 4 jars. Into each jar, put the following:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup milk
Stir well to combine. Cover jars with lids and place in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, remove lid and add to each jar the following:
1 tbsp honey,
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
Sliced peaches, divided evenly into each jar.
Sweet Chili Chicken and Peach Wraps Makes 8 Wraps
- 1¼ cups cooked chicken, cut into strips
- 3 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 can (14 oz/ 398 mL) California Cling peach halves or slices, in fruit juice concentrate or water, drained and patted very dry
- 8 large rice paper rounds
- 4 very small leaves of Boston or leaf lettuce, torn in half
- 3 inch (7.5 cm) cucumber piece, cut into julienne strips
- ½ small red pepper, cut into julienne strips
- 8 to 12 mint leaves (optional)
- Additional Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping
- Prepare all ingredients: In a small bowl, stir chicken with sweet chili sauce. Fill a pie plate with warm water. Lay damp smooth kitchen towel on the counter. Thinly cut peach halves into slices or use peach slices.
- Working with 1 wrap at a time, dip wrap in water until it is just pliable, 20 to 40 seconds. Place on kitchen towel. Place ½ a lettuce leaf near bottom of circle. Place 2 peach slices on top of lettuce, followed by 1/8 of chicken, then 1/8 of cucumber and red pepper and 2 to 3 mint leaves, depending on leaf size.
- Fold bottom (edge closet to you) of rice paper wrap over filling towards centre. Fold in sides to slightly cover filling. Then roll to totally enclose filling and form a roll. Set seam side down on a cutting board. Repeat with remaining ingredients. If sending for lunch, leave whole. If serving as an appetizer, slice in half diagonally. Serve with additional sweet chili sauce.
Best eaten right away but if storing, make sure they aren’t touching each other as they’ll stick. Cover with a barely damp paper towel, then seal tightly with plastic wrap.
Peach Wellness Smoothie Makes 2 servings
1/2 can (7 oz / 200 mL) California Cling peaches, drained
1 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 frozen ripe banana
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp flax seeds
1 tsp hemp hearts
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and enjoy immediately.