The key to living healthily is variety 

In the context of food insecurity, rising inflation and a lack of access to fresh fruit and vegetables, many South Africans incorporate canned and frozen produce into their diets to help meet their daily fruit and vegetable quota” – Arthur Ramoroka, Tiger Brands’ Company Nutritionist and an Eat Well Live Well (EWLW) ambassador.

What Constitutes a Balanced Diet?

We all know that we need to eat a balanced diet. But what exactly does that mean?

Well, let me tell you – a balanced diet includes eating at least two fruits and three vegetables daily. This ensure that you get an adequate amount of fibre, nutrients, vitamins and minerals each day. These can be enjoyed in various forms from fresh to canned and frozen. The beauty of veg is that it can be prepared in so many different ways. Caulflower for example can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, air fried or grilled and taste different each time. Let’s not even get into all the crazy things you can turn cauliflower into! Cauliflower pizza bases anyone?

Cooking certain fruits and vegetables may make them easier to digest, while others may be more nutritious when eaten fresh, canned or frozen. Kids may also prefer some fruit and veg cooked and others raw so make sure to try out different ways of preventing food before declaring that your child hates vegetables. For example, my kids hate cooked peppers but can snack on red and yellow peppers and ask for more. Taste and texture make a big difference.

What is the State of Nutrition in South Africa?

Last year’s State of Nutrition in South Africa report by The Eat Well Live Well Institute found that the average South African does not eat enough fruit and vegetables each day either because they are unable to buy fresh produce regularly or do not have access to a vegetable garden. 

A Tyme Bank study found that as many as 76% of South Africans run out of money before month-end. And so, there is a time and place for every kind of food in our diets, as we try to find balance and eat mindfully. There’s nothing stopping you from mixing fresh ingredients with canned and frozen ones when cooking at home. 

What can you change in your diet?

Stocking up the pantry with canned goods is a great way to make sure that you always have access to fruit and especially vegetables. Remember though that certain canned foods may include added sugar and/or salt as preservatives – drain and rinse these of their natural brine or syrup, before preparing a meal. Where possible, choose foods canned in water or low-sodium brine instead of oil, as well as ‘lite’ canned foods that contain little to no added sugar and salt. 

Canned foods are equally nutritious, must-have pantry fillers that offer a convenient, affordable and more sustainable way to help consumers meet their daily five fruit and vegetables quota, while reducing possible food waste.

You will find a whole range of recipes at – here are two of my favourites:

Spicy Baked Beans Shakshuka

Serves: 4 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes 

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes 

1 530KJ/per single portion


1 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ onion, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

½ red pepper, de-seeded and chopped

1 tin (410g) All Gold Tomato & Onion Mix

1 tsp dried origanum

¼ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

1 tin (410g) Koo Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce Lite

1 tin (410g) Koo Whole Kernel Corn, drained and rinsed

4 eggs

Feta, crumbled, to garnish

Fresh Italian parsley, chopped, to garnish

2 slices Albany Toaster Thick Slice Brown Bread, toasted, to serve

Salt and pepper, to season


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

2. Heat vegetable oil in an oven-proof pan, then add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until onion has softened.

3. Add garlic and red pepper, while stirring continuously for 1 minute, do not allow garlic to burn.

4. Add the tin of All Gold Tomato & Onion mix, dried origanum and chill flakes (if you choose to add some) and season lightly with salt and pepper.

5. Stir to combine and cook for 5-8 minutes.

6. Add the Koo Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce Lite and the drained and rinsed Koo Whole Kernel Corn and stir to combine. Use a casserole dish here, if you do not have an oven-proof pan.

7. Make 4 wells in the pan and break an egg into each well.

8. Transfer your pan to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

9. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle over the crumbled feta and chopped parsley before serving.

10. Serve with a slice of toasted Albany Toaster Thick Slice Brown Bread.

Veggie and Falafel Wholewheat Pitas

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes and 1 hour refrigerated

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

1 381 KJ/per single serving

For the falafels

1 tin (410g) Koo Chickpeas in Brine, drained and rinsed

½ onion, cut into pieces

1 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 fresh jalapeno

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin powder/seeds

2 Tbsps. Golden Cloud Brown Wheat Flour

½ tsp baking powder

Spray n’ Cook, for baking

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

For the hummus

1 tin (410g) Koo Chickpeas in brine, drained and rinsed (keep the brine)

½ cup tahini

2 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsps. Brookes Tru-Lem Lemon Juice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp paprika

½ cup water

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the salsa

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, finely diced

2 carrots, wash thoroughly and finely diced

2 Tbsps. fresh coriander, chopped

1 stick of celery, finely sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to season

4 wholewheat pitas

warmed and sliced open (you can substitute with tortillas or homemade flatbreads).


1. Drain and rinse chickpeas and shake until excess water is removed.

2. Add chickpeas, onion, coriander, parsley, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper into a blender.

3. Pulse-blend until you have a coarse mixture.

4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the flour and baking powder, mix well to combine.

5. Cover your mixture and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the mixture to set and rest.

6. While the mixture is in the fridge, make the hummus.

7. Place all the hummus ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

8. Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt, if required. If you feel your hummus is too thick, you can add one teaspoon of water or the chickpea brine at a time, while blending to thin it out.

9. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

10. To make the salsa, place all the salsa ingredients into a bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, mix well and set aside.

This post has been sponsored by Tigerbrands Eat Well Live Well.


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