How To Choose Convenient and Healthy Frozen Food

by How To Mommy on 12.14.11

This time of year is so packed with holiday parties, last minute shopping, and traveling.

I don’t know about you, but for me it leaves very little energy for cooking.  My poor family is lucky if they get one homemade meal a week recently.

I was reading an article from Kids eat right that offered a quick and healthy solution – frozen food!

The freezer case is stocked with every kind of convenience food from bagels, waffles, fruit and fruit juice, pizza and burritos, vegetables, full dinners, fish and poultry, and frozen yogurt.

Many of these foods are pre-portioned, or partly or fully cooked, so you can serve them with little time or effort.

How To Choose the Right Frozen Foods

Frozen Vegetables and Fruits

  • To control fat and calories, choose frozen plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces. Some sauces mixed with frozen vegetables add fat, saturated fat and calories.
  • Look for frozen fruits as an option when fresh fruits are out of season but make sure you get the unsweetened varieties to avoid unnecessary sugars.
  • Frozen fruit bars make a nutritious snack, as long as they’re made with real juice and not artificial sweeteners.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables in loose-pack plastic bags.  This way you’ll only need to pour out what you need and can return what you don’t use to the freezer.

Frozen Meals and Entrées

  • Use nutrition labeling to compare frozen prepared meals, bowl meals and entrées.  Compare items to find the one with fewer calories and with less fat, including saturated fat and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • Checking nutrition labels are also a great idea when choosing frozen pizza, lasagna, enchiladas and burritos.
  • When you’re comparing the nutrients in one frozen dinner {or entrée} with another, make sure to check the label serving size. Some servings may be 7-ounce dinners while others are 11 ounces.
  • Whether vegetables, fish or poultry, go easy on breaded and fried frozen foods. They supply more calories and fat.  If you do choose breaded or fried items, check the package directions for oven heating rather than deep-fat frying, to control added calories and fat.
I love shopping for frozen food at Target because many of their frozen cases offer a “Better for You” section so you’re sure to get more natural items.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy and {more} natural frozen foods:

What are some of your favorites?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mel S December 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM

It is so tough to make a healthy meal from the frozen foods section! I stumbled on Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes at Whole Foods. They are a staple in my house because they are a quick veggie supplement. They are low in sodium and have no saturated fat. Plus, they have 10% DV of Vitamin C. You have to be careful because even if an item has veggies in it, it doesn’t mean that there is much Vitamin C in it. Here is a link to Dr. Praeger’s: http://www.drpraegers.com/Spinach-Pancakes-P106.aspx

Note–they sell a case–I only buy a box of 8.

I also like the Black Bean and Cheese Taquitos at Trader Joe’s. They are low in sodium and also have 10% DV of Vitamin C. I pair them with salsa and a salad to make a healthier meal.

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2 How To Mommy December 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Thanks for the tips. I wonder if my girls would like the spinach pancakes. Where do you buy those?

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3 ann pipa December 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

My kids love the frozen pastas…tortillini, ravoli..with a litle bit of pesto, olive oil , or red sause..fast and easy…and yummy!

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4 How To Mommy December 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Pasta is a great staple! Thanks Ann.

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5 Kayse December 14, 2011 at 10:50 PM

I love love love frozen meals from Trader Joes. Super healthy, mostly organic, and easy peasy! My favorites are the gnocchi sorentino and pesto pizzas. I also love the Rolled Eggplant Parmesean from Costco (comes in a 2 pack!), and anything by Bertolli, especially their soups.

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6 Chasing Fireflies January 8, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Awesome ideas! Thanks for linking up!

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7 Amber January 8, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Great tips! I know that I’ve been tricked by the “diet” frozen entrees out there, when they actually had similar calories than their non-diet counterparts but a ton more sodium added.

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8 How To Mommy January 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Sodium is the real killer in those things! They’re TERRIBLE some times.

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