This article was updated on March 10th, 2021.
As healthy and fresh as we should all strive to eat, it’s also good to know about any quick and easy time savings frozen options out there on the market. Frozen food may get a bad rap because of its simplicity, or simply because of the overwhelming push for “fresh,” but there are actually a huge number of benefits to keeping your freezer stocked with frozen goods. Firstly, if you live alone you know how difficult it can be to use up produce all by yourself before it goes bad. Keeping food in your freezer is a great way to waste less of your kitchen goods. Another awesome thing about frozen options is that they are usually even more nutritious than fresh produce! Frozen fruits and vegetables are typically picked at their peak ripeness, meaning they are frozen with the highest amount of nutrition intact. By keeping frozen produce, you can comfortably know that you are putting the best nutrition possible into your morning smoothie or after-dinner ice cream! Of course, we aren’t saying that you should fill your freezer with endless amounts of frozen pizza or ready-made Mac and Cheese, but it’s important to know how to shop smart, healthy, and convenient in the frozen food section during your next grocery run.
Like anything, all frozen foods are not created with the same standards, so is key to pay close attention to the labels and ensure that you are getting the right nutrients for you. Gabrielle McGrath, MS, RD, LDN, provided in her blog a great guideline you may want to follow when looking for healthy frozen food.
- Fruit and vegetable content: Check the ingredient label and product photos and aim for meals that have a good amount of produce in them.
- Nutrient content: Look for meals that provide some of the following nutrients: potassium, calcium, vitamins A and D, and iron.
- Fiber: Look for meals with at least 5g of fiber to help keep you full.
- Sodium: There’s not a magic number here, but for a frozen meal, it can be helpful to look for options that provide less than 30% of your daily recommended sodium.
- Saturated fat: This type of fat can impact your cardiovascular health so aim for meals with less than 5g.
- Trans fats: Most food companies have been forced to switch to ingredients that don’t contain this type of fat, which can have a negative impact on your heart health but double-check the Nutrition Facts label to ensure you’re choosing options with no trans fats.
This National Frozen Food Month, check out these 5 healthy frozen food alternatives to expand your food options:
- Saffron Road: If you’re worried about frozen food lacking flavor, then Saffron Road is the route for you. An Indian based frozen food line, Saffron Road offers a variety of frozen meals from tandoori chicken to Chana saag. With all-natural and halal ingredients, this is a brand you can count on for flavor and healthy ingredients.
- Evol: The mission of Evol is simple. Love what you eat! This frozen food company uses no antibiotics in their meats, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no GMOs and nothing but cage-free eggs! It’s these choices that companies make that impact is, and that we need to be more careful about when considering what brands, we choose to buy from and support. These promises that Evol makes ensures that their meals are supplying us with the most nutritionally dense foods possible, while still being easy and convenient to prepare.
- Hillary’s Eat Well: If you’re in the mood for a clean and tasty veggie burger, Hillary has got your back! With real ingredients that are free from any allergens, Hillary’s is a great option for anybody concerned about possible allergies that you or anyone in your life might be faced with. And with everything from veggie burgers to casserole bites, you’re sure to find something delicious and nutritious to store in your freezer.
- Trader Joe’s Frozen Cauliflower Crust: Ok ok, we know we said that filling your freezer with pizza generally isn’t the best idea. But when it comes to the Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Crust, we retract that statement. With the only ingredients being cauliflower, cornflour, water, corn starch, potato starch, and olive oil, these bad boys get two thumbs up from us as a healthy option. Only 80 calories per serving, this crust gives you a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and make a custom pizza without worrying about the extra carbs and calories.
- Kashi: Mainly known for their super healthy cereals and granola, we bet you didn’t even realize that Kashi offers frozen food selections as well! Kashi only uses simple and wholesome ingredients that are specifically meant to nourish! With a focus on plant-powered nutrition, Kashi is healthy frozen food at its finest.