The healthiest frozen meals for weight loss

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

When considering the healthiest meal planning for weight loss, don't overlook frozen meals as a nutritious, convenient part of your plan. These dietitian-approved strategies will help you find the best frozen meal options.

Healthiest Frozen Meals

Frozen meals can be one of your healthiest assets for weight loss

Your meeting ran late, and numerous chores await you at home. Tired and stressed, you need comfort food. Tonight calls for takeout on your way home. After all, you are strapped for time and still need to eat, right?

Before pulling up to the restaurant, you take a mental inventory of your freezer and realize you have a handful of healthy, appetizing frozen meals at home! Your caloric budget is saved, and dinner is on the table in minutes!

Several studies show that using meal replacements, including frozen meals, is an effective strategy as part of a structured weight-loss plan. How can this be so? A frozen meal saves hundreds of calories if used to replace a high-calorie restaurant meal. Such pre-portioned meals don't allow for serving-size errors or going back for "just a few more bites." Choosing a frozen meal may prevent skipping lunch or dinner, nibbling on nutrient-poor snacks, or feeling excessively hungry and overeating later.

The nutrition quality of frozen foods can be a surprising asset. Compared to preservation by canning, freezing retains more vitamin and mineral content. When frozen just after harvest, fruits and vegetables may have a higher vitamin content than fresh foods that spend days in warehouses, trucks, and shelves.

Find the healthiest frozen meals

Frozen meals may conjure thoughts of freezer-burned, colorless fare. If you haven't visited the frozen food aisle lately, take another look. While the typical, high-calorie, high-fat options remain, we will help you find the healthiest frozen meals to help support your weight-loss goals.

Finding the right frozen meal goes beyond finding an entrée with an appealing photo or checking to see what is on sale. Read the Nutrition Facts label to see if your selection meets your goals. Check these essential sections on the label:

Certain brands tend to fall closer to our nutrition guidelines than others. For example, all Healthy Choice entrées are no more than 600 mg sodium. Smart Ones, Amy's, and Luvo tend to have healthy varieties. There are always new offerings in the frozen food aisle, so keep checking the labels and use MyNetDiary's Grocery Check tool to compare items.

Check out our chart for several possibilities that meet or come very close to our recommendations.

Product: Amy's Light in Sodium Vegetable Lasagna
Calories: 300
Fat (g): 10
Protein (g): 15
Carb (g): 38
Fiber (g): 4
Sodium (mg): 280

Product: Evol Chicken Enchilada Bowl
Calories: 380
Fat (g): 6
Protein (g): 20
Carb (g): 13
Fiber (g): 6
Sodium (mg): 510

Product: Healthy Choice Basil Pesto Chicken Power Bowl
Calories: 230
Fat (g): 9
Protein (g): 20
Carb (g): 17
Fiber (g): 7
Sodium (mg): 600

Product:  Healthy Choice Simply Steamers Beef Chimichurri
Calories: 220
Fat (g): 6
Protein (g): 16
Carb (g): 24
Fiber (g): 5
Sodium (mg): 550

Product:  Kashi Creamy Cashew Noodle Bowl
Calories: 360
Fat (g): 14
Protein (g): 15
Carb (g): 46
Fiber (g): 10
Sodium (mg): 400

Product:  Luvo Chicken Chile Verde
Calories: 290
Fat (g): 13
Protein (g): 20
Carb (g): 27
Fiber (g): 7
Sodium (mg): 490

Product: Luvo Southwestern Breakfast Wrap
Calories: 270
Fat (g): 12
Protein (g): 15
Carb (g): 27
Fiber (g): 6
Sodium (mg): 500

Product: Smart Ones SmartMade Mexican-Style Chicken Bowl
Calories: 260
Fat (g): 5
Protein (g): 21
Carb (g): 33
Fiber (g): 6
Sodium (mg): 530

Product: Smart Ones SmartMade Rosemary Grilled Beef and Vegetables
Calories: 270
Fat (g): 8
Protein (g): 17
Carb (g): 30
Fiber (g): 5
Sodium (mg): 600

Round out the meal

Is your frozen entrée selection just short of meeting your nutrient goals? While it is easy to find frozen entrées within recommended calorie range, they often lack protein, fiber, and fruit/vegetable portions. Here's how you can help round out your meal's nutrition (and satisfaction).

Protein add-ins

Fiber, fruit, and veggie boosters

Flavor enhancers

A little extra seasoning goes a long way to make your meal more appealing. Try adding:

Bottom line

Frozen meals can be a tasty and wise addition to your weight-loss plan. Stock your freezer with the healthiest frozen meals to anticipate busy days and times you don't feel like cooking.

Meal Planning & Diets->Meal Replacment Plans Meal Planning & Diets->"Plan, Shop, Prep, and Cook"
Jan 5, 2022

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