ask the nutritionist: how to shop for frozen meals

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As much as we all wish that we could lovingly prepare delicious, healthy meals at home for every meal, it simply isn’t always the case.

I’m a fan of frozen meals as they can easily replace take-out or fast food and can be much healthier and much less expensive.

There are a number of great frozen food companies out there providing quick meals that are relatively healthy. You just have to weed the good from the bad. It’s a big aisle. :)

What to Look For: 

  • Contains vegetables
  • Made with some whole grains
  • Less than or around 500 mg of sodium per meal (though I must admit that I’m not really a stickler when it comes to sodium)
  • Calories – since frozen entrees are usually the main component of my meal – I need there to be about 300-350 – and then I’ll usually add more vegetables as a side dish
  • At least 10-15 grams of protein
  • At least 5-10 grams of fiber

Great Options: 

  • Kashi: Red Curry Chicken, Mayan Harvest Bake, Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Amy’s: Brown Rice & Veggie Bowl, Indian Tofu Spinach Wrap, Indian Palak Paneer
  • Cedarlane’s: Chicken Burrito Grande, Fajita Chicken Burrito
  • French Meadow Cafe: Chicken Curry, Chicken Pomodoro Pasta
Love or hate frozen meals – and – what is your favorite kind? 

Comments

  1. says

    Can’t remember the last time I had a frozen meal… I don’t generally like the taste. I “make” my own by simply randomly freezing portion sizes of homemade pizza, lasagna, baked falafel, chili, soups, etc. etc. Just take a portion of whatever you make and freeze it for those times you don’t want to cook!

    Oh, I do really like the Alexia sweet potato waffle fries! Not really a “meal” but definitely a yummy pre-made frozen food, haha.

    • Emily says

      That is so smart! I’ve done that with soup, I need to remember to make enough to freeze!
      Alexia’s sweet potato fries are amazing, I agree. :)

  2. says

    I love that there really are some great frozen options out there- we all need to use them every once and a while, and I’m glad we’ve come a long way since Hungry-Man and Lean Cuisine were the only real choices. I also LOVE Amy’s Mexican meals- the enchilada bowl and the bean+cheese burrito are my favorites. Oh, and Trader Joe’s has a lot of awesome frozen meals, too! Now that you have one close by, you should definitely check them out!

  3. says

    My favorite frozen meal is Michael Angelo’s Vegetable Lasagna. Here are the nutritional facts:

    Calories: 360
    Total Fat: 13 g / 7g Saturated / 0g Trans
    Cholesterol: 45 mg
    Sodium: 570 mg
    Carbohydrates: 40g
    Dietary Fiber: 5g
    Sugars: 10g
    Protein: 21g

    Vitamin A: 45% DV
    Vitamin C: 60% DV
    Calcium: 40% DV
    Iron: 10% DV

    The sodium is a little higher than your recommendation but I think the 21g of protein and high doses of A and C make up for it. It’s organic, all of the ingredients are in English (not scientific mumbo-jumbo) and most important: it is DELICIOUS.

  4. says

    I definitely avoid frozen meals at all costs. I’m just not a fan of the preservatives and insane sodium amounts…That being said, I will often make a crockpot meal on the weekend and just portion it out and freeze it when I am on the run!

  5. says

    My kids love the Alexia olive oil & sea salt frozen fries. They make a veggie burger dinner much more exciting for them. :)

    I like the Kashi meals too. They are nice in a pinch and on days when I don’t feel like making a big lunch for myself, but want more than a PB&J.

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