15 of the healthiest frozen meals you can find in the freezer aisle

Healthy frozen entrees
Trader Joe's/Walmart

When you’re at the grocery store, looking to stock your kitchen with healthy foods, frozen entrees probably aren’t the first place you think to look. That’s because many premade meals lean heavily on everything you are likely trying to stay away from — high quantities of sodium, calories and saturated fat. Luckily, that’s not the case for every frozen dish; there are some great options on the market.

Why not pick up a few to help you the next time you reach hanger level before you pick up the phone to place that not-so-healthy-but-tasty takeout meal? In that case, it would be quicker, easier and more cost-effective to simply pop a frozen entree in the microwave instead.

However, trying to decipher which frozen entrees to choose from can seem overwhelming. There are several nutritional factors to consider, including calories, carbohydrates, sodium and more. We talked with two registered dietitians about how to select the healthiest premade entrees out of a sea of options.

Stylish woman buys frozen food at a supermarket. Attractive young woman stands beside a freezer and chooses frozen foods. Purchase of products in a supermarket.
Adobe

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Doctor of clinical nutrition and registered dietitian Su-Nui Escobar encourages patients to eat fresh foods most days and choose frozen meals only for those times when fresh alternatives are not possible. While she aims for meals to have between 25-30 grams of protein per serving, that can be hard to find in the frozen food aisle. She says the main idea is to find ones as high in protein as possible. She also suggests that for any entrees that fall short, you can add additional protein by pairing it with Greek yogurt.

Registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of The Lifestyle Dietitian Jerlyn Jones says that people should consider choosing “lean” or “light” frozen meals, especially when watching portion sizes and your waistline. She recommends choosing frozen entrees with high-fiber foods, such as beans, vegetables and whole grains. Jones also advises choosing meals with 600 milligrams or less of sodium and under 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Though the experts we interviewed did not endorse most of the specific products highlighted below, we selected the following entrees based on their general nutritional guidelines.

MORE: Nutritionists share what they order at 10 fast food restaurants

1. Lean Cuisine Tex-Mex Rice and Black Beans

Lean Cuisine Tex Mex Bowl
Target

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 15 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrates, 14 g protein

“Lean Cuisine has several frozen food products that meet the nutritional guidelines for the American Diabetes Association Better Choices for Life program,” Jones says.

And this Tex-Mex bowl is included in the list. A mix of whole-grain brown rice, black beans, corn and peppers smothered in a spicy enchilada sauce, this frozen Lean Cuisine Balance Bowl hits the spot. It also advertises 0% added sugar. Jones aims for 6 grams or less of added sugars per serving.

2. Trader Joes Chicken Tikka Masala

Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala
Trader Joe's

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories, 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 50 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 21 g protein

If you’re hankering for a healthy, creamy curry entree, this Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala will get you there in a flash. It comes with cumin-infused basmati rice on the side and is ready to eat in under five minutes.

“The only frozen meals I eat are Trader Joe’s Indian meals,” Escobar says. “They are under 500 calories, adequate in protein, contain some fiber, and, most importantly, I enjoy the flavor. Indian cuisine is something I don’t typically cook, so these meals are a treat.”

3. Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Pineapple Chicken

healthy choice cafe steamers pineapple chicken
Walmart

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 35 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein

This Healthy Choice entree packs less than 300 calories with a solid amount of protein. That’s the kind of easy-to-make meal that can energize you for the rest of the day without making you feel sluggish and bloated. Jones cautions that people should avoid trans fats when selecting frozen entrees. She advises inspecting the ingredients list for “partially hydrogenated oils,” another term for trans fats.

4. Bell & Evans Gourmet Chicken Burgers

bell and evans frozen chicken burgers
Amazon

Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 90 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 0 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein

This is a great choice for people who want a healthier option than a beef burger but just aren’t into plant-based patties. Bell and Evans says it uses 100% natural chicken meat for its patties, which are low in calories, carbs, cholesterol, fat and sodium. The amount of protein you’ll get from a single patty is also outstanding — you can slice one up and put it on your salad, if you like.

Whenever possible, Escobar says to aim for high-protein meals, ideally between 25-30 grams of protein per serving.

5. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken With Almonds

lean cuisine marketplace chicken and almonds
Walmart

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 25 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein

Lean Cuisine is another brand that’s synonymous with the freezer section, but not all of its entrees live up to its name. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken With Almonds, however, is very lean indeed. In addition to having under 300 calories, this meal has a low amount of saturated fat but good protein levels. The 490 milligrams of sodium also make it far better in that department than many ready-made meals or soups you’ll find at the store.

6. Green Giant Harvest Protein Bowl

Green Giant Harvest Protein Bowl
Walmart

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 5 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 14 g protein

Eat a rainbow of colors and nutrients in one sitting. Created without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, the Green Giant Harvest Protein Bowl is a healthy choice. Quinoa, lentils, kale, edamame and other superfoods, drizzled with a lemon and herb sauce, make up this meat-free bowl. It still manages to hold a decent amount of protein, too.

7. Kashi Black Bean Mango Bowl

Kashi black mean mango bowl
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein

If you’re looking to cut meat out of your life, this is one of the better frozen meals you’ll be able to find. Kashi’s Black Bean Mango Bowl is ideal for lunchtime, as it packs just 250 milligrams of sodium, which is remarkably low for a frozen entree. That means it’s less likely to make you feel bloated and should help energize you to power through the rest of your to-do list. Use Dr. Escobar’s trick of pairing it with a serving of Greek yogurt to up your protein intake.

8. Amy’s Brown Rice, Black Eyed Peas and Veggies Bowl

Amy's brown rice bowl
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein

As a brand, Amy’s has a reputation for nutritious, convenient meals, and you’ll find several of its frozen options on this list. This Brown Rice, Black Eyed Peas and Veggies Bowl is another plant-based entree that manages to cram in plenty of protein without a trace of meat. This bowl has no cholesterol and a low carb count, eating up just 300 of your precious daily calories.

“If a frozen meal is lacking in protein, up to 20 grams per serving, I suggest adding beans, lentils, edamame, baked tofu, quinoa, or unsalted nuts to boost the nutrient profile,” Jones says.

9. Alexia Butternut Squash Risotto

Alexia Butternut Squash Risotto
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 10 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein

Chicago-based Alexia Foods offers frozen, vegetable-based sides that sound delicious. This Butternut Squash Risotto is billed as a side, but could also be treated as a main dish. Either way you serve it, you’ll find low carb and fat content. While the sodium content is a bit higher than other offerings on our list, people love the flavor of this product and you can always supplement.

10. Lean Cuisine Features Butternut Squash Ravioli
Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 20 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein

Speaking of butternut squash-based dishes, that versatile plant stars in this offering from Lean Cuisine. A cup of vegetables is included in each entree, with carrots and snap peas making appearances alongside the featured ingredient. It all adds up to a meal that’s low in calories, fat and cholesterol.

11. Kashi Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

kashi sweet potato quinoa frozen meal
Walmart

Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein

If fiber is something you’re trying to add to your diet, this frozen meal from Kashi will give you 12 grams in each serving. The Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl has some protein but no cholesterol, which should please your doctor. The sodium content is also extremely low, as it is with many of Kashi’s healthiest freezer options. The ingredients include sweet potatoes, black beans, kale, red quinoa and brown rice.

“The top frozen meals are balanced with colorful vegetables, a lean protein source, and whole grain or starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes or corn,” Jones says.

12. Kashi Chimichurri Quinoa Bowl

Kashi Chimichurri Quinoa Bowl
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein

Yet another option from Kashi, this will give you South American-inspired flavor from the freezer. This meal is vegan-friendly and packs in 12 grams of fiber to go with the protein. The veggie medley in this bowl includes red bell peppers and zucchini, with a chimichurri sauce that has jalapeños, cilantro and parsley.

13. Amy’s Light & Lean Quinoa And Black Beans Bowl

Amy's light and lean quinoa and black beans
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein

From Amy’s Light & Lean line, this plant-based bowl lives up to that title when you check its label. It is low-calorie and low-fat with no saturated fat, making this an ideal lunchtime choice for anyone who is trying to limit their meat consumption. The lack of gluten and dairy also makes this one a great option for people with food sensitivities who still want a convenient, microwavable option.

14. Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers

Dr. Praeger's california veggie burgers
Instacart

Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein

If you eat these tasty meat-free patties without a bun, you’re getting a very low calorie total, low fat levels and no cholesterol. The list of 10 types of vegetables that are combined to create these burgers includes corn, broccoli, peas, carrots, onions and soybeans, according to the New Jersey-based brand.

15. Gorton’s Natural Catch Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets

gorton's lemon pepper grilled fillets
Meijer

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 50 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 0 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein

If you think of Gorton’s as only selling frozen fried fish fillets, you haven’t seen the company’s ultra-healthy Natural Catch line. These 100% wild-caught Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets may be the tastiest in that line and have one of the most impressive nutrition labels in the freezer section. They’re low-calorie, low-fat, and have some protein, too.

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About the Author
Emily OBrien
Emily O'Brien is a freelance writer based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to Simplemost, she also writes for Don't Waste Your Money and loves to shine the spotlight on products worth buying.

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