Healthy Eating Shortcuts: Top Picks From The Freezer Section
By Michèle Turcotte, MS, RD/LDN
What do you keep in your freezer? Hopefully unsweetened fruits, colorful veggies, lean meats and light desserts. But what about frozen meals? Everybody runs short on time once in a while and these are handy in a pinch. What should you look for? For a whole meal, the recommendations are to choose lower sodium, fat controlled meals that are a good source of dietary fiber (contains approximately 500mg sodium for a meal, and roughly 3 grams of fat per 100 calories). Limit your saturated fat intake to 10 grams each day and shoot for as little trans-fat as possible. Luckily, there are many nutritious options in 'freezer-land.'
As a dietitian, I see a lot of options that are touted as healthy and nutritious. However, oftentimes these meals fall short of their promises. Here are just a few choices in the freezer section I think are some excellent options:
Kashi® Go Lean™ Waffles
These aren’t wimpy waffles, but are thick, crunchy and delicious. They are made with all natural ingredients and packed with protein and fiber. Per serving (two waffles): 170 calories, 8g protein, 32g carbohydrates, 3g fat (0g saturated), 6g fiber and 310mg sodium. Top with 3/4 cup blueberries for an antioxidant punch (only 80 calories but a whopping 4g fiber).
Amy’s Organics® Breakfast Burrito Black Bean
Looking for something portable, tasty and different? One of these burritos will provide the right fuel for your morning activities! Black beans are very rich in disease fighting compounds. Per serving (one burrito): 250 calories, 9g protein, 38g carbohydrates, 7g fat (0.5g saturated), 5g fiber and 45mg sodium.
Lean Cuisine® Café Classics™ Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta
Selenium-packed shrimp with delicate angel hair pasta in a light white sauce. Sit back, relax and enjoy this delightful entrée. Per entrée: 240 calories, 14g protein, 35g carbohydrates, 5g fat (1g saturated), g fiber and 640 mg sodium.
DiGiorno® Harvest Wheat Rising Crust Pizza™ (12” Roasted Vegetable)
This pizza contains the perfect balance between fat, carbs and protein with delicious toppings and a filling wheat crust. The roasted veggies give it a kick! Per 1/6 pizza: 230 calories, 12g protein, 36g carbohydrates, 6g fat (2.5g saturated fat), 4g fiber and 480mg sodium.
Lean Cuisine® Cafe Classics™ Beef Portobello with Red Skin Potatoes
Flavorful, tender beef plus homemade-like red skin potatoes. Per package: 220 calories, 14g protein, 24g carbohydrates, 7g fat (3.5g saturated), 2g fiber and 590mg sodium.
Healthy Choice® Chicken Sweet & Sour with Rice & Broccoli
Most chicken dinners skimp on the chicken. This version satisfies with five or six large chunks, crisp-tender broccoli and lots of fiber. Per package: 350 calories, 15 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 6 g fiber and 600 mg sodium
Amy's Organics® Whole Meals™ Black Bean Enchilada with Rice & Pinto Beans Organic
Are you in the mood for authentic Mexican food but want to skip the crowd and the lard? Try this flavorful, zesty entrée (made with all natural ingredients) for a fabulous meatless meal! A little higher in sodium than ideal, so don’t eat it every day. Per package: 330 calories, 9 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 9 g fiber and 740 mg sodium
Best frozen fruit bar
Edy’s® Whole Fruit™ No Sugar Added fruit bar
Unlike the sickly-sweet popsicles you remember, these are made with fruit juice and bits of real fruit (strawberry, tangerine or raspberry). Per bar: 30 calories, 0g protein, 7g carbohydrates (approximately 1/2 starch exchange), 0g fat, 0g fiber.
Best ice-cream sandwich
Skinny Cow® Ice Cream Sandwiches
Come in great flavors; this is a nice sized portion, better than all the rest, but with 35% fewer calories. Per sandwich: 130 calories, 5g protein, 23g carbohydrates, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 2g fiber and 145mg sodium.