The healthiest frozen meals for weight loss

  • 3 Minutes Read
  • Dec 16, 2019

Frozen meals can be a nutritious, convenient part of your weight loss plan. These strategies will help you find the healthiest frozen meal options.

The healthiest frozen meals for weight loss

You had a work meeting that ran late, and numerous chores await you at home. You are tired, stressed and in need of comfort food. Tonight seems to call for grabbing take-out 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 several healthy, appealing frozen meal options to choose from. The strain on your caloric budget has been avoided and dinner is on the table in minutes.

A weight-loss tool?

Frozen meals can actually support your weight loss goals. Several studies have shown that the use of meal replacements is an effective strategy as part of a structured weight loss plan. How can this be so? A frozen meal can save hundreds of calories if used to replace a high-calorie restaurant meal. Frozen meals don't allow for portion errors or going back for "just a few more bites." A frozen meal may keep you from skipping lunch or dinner or choosing poor quality-snacks over a balanced meal. This often leads to feeling excessively hungry and overeating later.

The nutrition quality of frozen foods can be a surprising asset. Compared to canning as a method of preservation, freezing better retains vitamin and mineral content. Frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen just after harvest, may have a higher vitamin content compared to fresh foods that have spent days on the produce shelf (and after even more days in transport).

Find the healthiest frozen meal options

Frozen meals may conjure thoughts of freezer-burned, colorless foods. If you haven't visited the frozen food aisle lately, check again. While the typical, high calorie, high-fat options remain in place (1449 calories and 58 grams of fat for a Hungry Man XXL Roasted Carved Turkey Dinner, anyone?), we will help you find the healthiest frozen meal options to help support your weight loss goals.

Finding the right frozen meal option goes beyond finding a meal 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 important sections:

Certain brands tend to fall closer to our nutrition guidelines than others. For example, all Healthy Choice entrees are 600 mg sodium or less. Smart Ones, Amy's and Luvo are other brands that tend to have healthy options. There are always new offerings in the frozen food aisle, so remember to keep checking the labels and try using MyNetDiary's grocery check tool to compare items.

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

Healthiest Frozen Meals

Product Calories Fat (g) Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
Amy's Light in Sodium Vegetable Lasagna 320 9 16 44 4 340
Healthy Choice Basil Pesto Chicken Power Bowl 230 9 20 17 7 600
Healthy Choice Simply Steamers Beef & Red Chili Sauce 270 6 17 3 5 550
Kashi Creamy Cashew Noodle Bowl 360 14 15 46 10 400
Luvo Chicken Chile Verde 290 13 20 27 7 490
Luvo Southwestern Breakfast Bowl 450 15 18 42 6 450
SmartOnes SmartMade Mexican-Style Chicken Bowl 260 5 21 33 6 530
SmartOnes SmartMade Rosemary Grilled Beef and Vegetables 270 8 17 30 5 600

Round out the meal

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

Protein add-ons

Fiber, fruit and veggie boosters

Flavor enhancers

A little extra seasoning goes a long way to make your meal more flavorful. 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 meal options to anticipate busy days and times you don't feel up to cooking.

Meal Planning & Diets->Meal Replacment Plans Meal Planning & Diets->"Plan, Shop, Prep, and Cook"
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RD, CDE, BC-ADE, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator

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