Frozen meals are quick and easy, but how healthy are they? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between your health and convenience. There are a lot of healthy options out there, but it’s important to read the nutrition facts label and not just go by the claims on the front.
Five components of a healthy meal
Ideally, your frozen meal should mimic the type of nutrition you’d get from a homemade meal. Look for the following when picking a frozen meal:
- Inclusion of whole grains and vegetables
- 8 grams of protein or more to help satisfy hunger
- At least 3 grams of fiber or more
- A ratio of 3 grams of fat per 100 calories
- No more than 600 milligrams of sodium
To increase nutrition and make your meal more satisfying, try pairing it with a salad, fresh fruit or even cottage cheese. Many meals are on the small side and can leave you roaming the kitchen within an hour or two after eating. By adding a side dish or two, you can increase the vitamin and mineral count of your meal, and if you add protein, it will keep you satisfied longer.
Homemade can be just as quick and easy
Although there’s nothing wrong with an occasional frozen meal, by planning ahead, you can easily whip up a fresh, homemade meal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Stir fry chicken + frozen vegetables + brown rice
- Combine pre-washed salad + pre-cut fresh vegetables + canned tuna
- Sauté whole-grain pasta + marinara sauce + turkey sausage
- Bake sweet potatoes and top with black beans + salsa + reduced-fat cheese