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When you’re hunting for healthy foods at the grocery store, the freezer section isn’t exactly the first place you’ll think to hit. Busy people have been counting on frozen foods as a convenient way to conjure up a meal for decades and while Hot Pockets, Pizza Rolls and Toaster Strudels are still guaranteed home runs, there are lots of companies making frozen meals today that will please both your dietitian and your tastebuds.
Here’s a look at some of the healthiest frozen meals on the market, based on nutritional information and customer reviews. And because no one wants to eat bland TV dinners, these frozen meals are tasty, too.
1. Jafflz Enchilada Toasted Pocket
Nutrition information per serving: 320 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 50 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein
If you love the ease of a handheld meal like Hot Pockets, but can’t get over the fact that you’re eating more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium and a whopping 12 grams of saturated fat, you should try Jafflz Toasted Pockets. The Utah-based brand boasts that it uses no artificial ingredients and antibiotic-free chicken in crafting its pocket sandwiches. The Enchilada Toasted Pocket has about half the calories, half the sodium and a third of the saturated fat of a Hot Pocket, while packing more protein.
2. Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen Cali Chicken
Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 35 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrates, 24 g protein
Stouffer’s is known for comforting frozen classics like its lasagna, French bread pizza and macaroni and cheese, but you get a healthier meal from the brand with this pick. The Fit Kitchen Cali Chicken bills itself as a protein bowl and that makes sense when you consider it’s got 24 grams of protein per serving, which is the most of any meal featured on this list. Its sodium content is a bit higher than others on the list, but is still only 25% of your recommended daily intake, which means it has far less than most entrees you’ll find in the freezer section.
3. Performance Kitchen Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 15 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 56 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein
You wouldn’t necessarily think of macaroni and cheese as a healthy meal, especially out of the freezer, but this offering from Performance Kitchen pulls it off. Each serving of this entree, which is made with brown rice macaroni in a Monterey Jack, cheddar and butternut squash sauce, has far less fat, cholesterol and less than half the sodium of Stouffer’s frozen Macaroni & Cheese. The carb content is a bit higher than many of the options on this list, but it’s tough to keep that low with any noodle-based entree.
4. Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Pineapple Chicken
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
Healthy Choice is one of the most readily available brands on our list and its Cafe Steamers line has a couple of healthy options you can probably find at your local store. The single-serving Pineapple Chicken entree is one of the best, as it packs less than 300 calories but a solid 16 grams of protein. That’s the kind of easy-to-make lunch that can energize you for the rest of the workday without making you feel sluggish and bloated.
5. Bell & Evans Gourmet Chicken Burgers
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
We’ve got a few healthy alternatives to hamburgers on our list, and this is a great choice for people who just aren’t into plant-based patties. Bell & Evans uses 100% natural chicken meat for its patties, which are low in calories, carbs, cholesterol, fat and sodium. The 22 grams of protein you’ll get from a single patty is also outstanding and makes these burgers a great choice to slice up and put on top of a lunch salad. Customers at Amazon have given them an average grade of 4.5 stars out of five, showing that they apparently don’t sacrifice anything in flavor, either.
6. Applegate Well Carved Organic Asian Style Pork Meatballs
Nutrition information per serving (three meatballs): 220 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 40 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein
Applegate is known for its deli meats, but it also offers a line of frozen entrees under the Well Carved banner. The Asian Style Pork Meatballs are a great choice for a healthy weeknight dinner if you are short on prep time. Each box has a little more than three servings of three meatballs, which eat up just 220 calories from your daily total, leaving plenty of room for a side. While they are billed as pork meatballs, these actually contain 1/4 cup of vegetables in each serving, as well as some brown rice mixed in.
7. Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Cajun-Style Chicken and Shrimp
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 40 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein
Another option from the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers line is this take on Cajun chicken and shrimp that’s served on a bed of rice. The nutrition facts between this and the Pineapple Chicken option are very similar, with this being the slightly lower-calorie one, so you can feel good popping either one into the microwave. This one also packs more protein and boasts 3 grams of fiber, if that’s something on your radar.
8. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken With Almonds
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 less than 300 calories, one of these meals has less than 1 gram of saturated fat and packs 16 grams of protein. Containing less than 500 milligrams of sodium also makes it far better in that department than many ready-made meals or soups you’ll find at the store.
9. Green Giant California Style Harvest Protein Bowl
Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 5 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates, 14 g protein
While it’s not the healthiest option on the list of frozen meals we researched, the California Style Harvest Protein Bowl is a great choice. Quinoa, lentils, kale, edamame and other superfoods make up this meat-free bowl, which still manages to hold 14 grams of protein.
10. Kashi Black Bean Mango Bowl
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 won’t make you feel bloated and, with 9 grams of protein, it should help energize you for the last half of your workday.
11. Amy’s Brown Rice, Black Eyed Peas And Veggies Bowl
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 less than 40 grams of carbs, eating up just 300 of your precious daily calories.
12. Alexia Butternut Squash Risotto
Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 25 mg cholesterol, 680 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 a scant 13 grams of carbs and 3.5 grams of fat per serving. While the sodium content is a bit higher than other offerings on our list, the reviews are stellar, with dozens of shoppers giving it an average grade of 4.4 stars at Alexia’s site.
13. Lean Cuisine Features Butternut Squash Ravioli
Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 15 mg cholesterol, 620 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein
Speaking of butternut squash-based dishes, that versatile plant stars in this offering from Lean Cuisine. This Butternut Squash Ravioli is a huge favorite of shoppers at Kroger, with hundreds of reviewers at the retailer’s website giving it an average grade of 4.5 stars. 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 with just 260 calories, 4 grams of fat and 15 milligrams of cholesterol.
14. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken Cashew Stir Fry
Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 40 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrates, 19 g protein
Another healthy offering from Lean Cuisine, this Chicken Cashew Stir Fry boasts one of the higher protein counts of any single-serving entree we researched. Inside each of these meals, you’ll find 19 grams of protein and a nutrition label that keeps almost everything else near zero. Just 5 grams of fat and less than 300 calories make this a great option for anyone looking for a frozen lunch while watching their weight.
15. Kashi Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl
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. This Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl also has 9 grams of protein and 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.
16. Kashi Chimichurri Quinoa Bowl
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 Chimichurri Quinoa Bowl 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 10 grams of protein. The veggie medley in this bowl includes red bell peppers and zucchini, with a chimichurri sauce that has jalapeños, cilantro and parsley.
17. Amy’s Light & Lean Quinoa And Black Beans Bowl
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. Less than 250 calories and only 5 grams of fat, none of which comes from saturated fat, make 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.
18. Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers
Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein
If you eat these tasty meat-free patties without a bun, you’re getting just 120 calories, 6 grams of fat and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. The list of vegetables that are combined to create these burgers includes corn, broccoli, peas, carrots, onions and soybeans, according to the New Jersey-based brand.
20. Kashi Blueberry Waffles
Nutrition information per serving (two waffles): 170 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein
If you like frozen breakfast waffles, these fruity ones from Kashi are likely the healthiest option you’ll find. Kashi Blueberry Waffles are only 100 calories each, with no cholesterol and scant carbs. Their natural blueberry flavor means you can probably eat them without syrup, which is where normal frozen waffles will mess up your diet. These also pack in 23 grams of whole grains into each serving, which is two waffles.
21. Gorton’s Natural Catch Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets
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 Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets are maybe the tastiest in that line and have one of the most impressive nutrition labels you’ll see in the freezer section. At just 70 calories, less than 1 gram of fat and zero carbs per fillet, the 16 grams of protein you’ll get seem to come from nowhere.
22. Caulipower All Natural Frozen Chicken Tenders
Nutrition information per serving (two tenders): 120 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 40 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein
Customers at Kroger are in love with Caulipower’s line of natural chicken tenders. These tasty tenders get their name from the cauliflower-based coating that gives them a crunchy finish. Caulipower’s tenders are baked, not fried, and thus have just 120 calories per two tenders, along with just 1.5 grams of fat, none of which comes from saturated fat. The reviews for the regular tenders at Kroger’s website are phenomenal and the grades for Caulipower Spicy(ish) Chicken Tenders are even better, with similar nutrition content.
23. Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable Enchilada
Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein
Frozen enchiladas are a staple of the frozen offerings from Amy’s, and we found the nutrition label of these Black Bean Vegetable Enchiladas to be the most pleasing of them all. At just 160 calories and 6 grams of fat per enchilada, these are diet-friendly entrees that don’t sacrifice anything in flavor. Even if you opt to eat both the enchiladas that come in one package, you won’t feel like you’re left with no wiggle room at dinner.
24. Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi
Nutrition information per serving (1 cup): 140 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 0 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein
Trader Joe’s is known for concocting some brilliant culinary experiments and this Cauliflower Gnocchi is one of the chain’s best ever. Gnocchi is a guaranteed crowd-pleasing dinner and this version keeps the nutrition high and the carb content low. Pair it with a light, tomato-based sauce or just a bit of olive oil and you’ll have a healthy, tasty dinner.
25. Boca All-American Veggie Burgers
Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 5 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein
Boca has long been synonymous with meatless burgers and the brand’s All-American Veggie Burgers are the healthiest ones we found in our research. Each patty has 100 calories apiece — less than a quarter of what would be found in a frozen beef patty — and hardly a trace of fat, cholesterol and carbs. If you eat it without a bun, it’s like getting full with no consequences and the 13 grams of protein are just another bonus.
26. Gorton’s Natural Catch Classic Style Grilled Salmon
Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 20 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 19 g protein
In all of our research of frozen entrees, these grilled salmon fillets from Gorton’s were arguably the single most healthy option we found. Looking at the nutrition label is like a dietitian’s dream, with 19 grams of protein coming with absolutely zero bad consequences. Hardly a trace of sodium, fat, cholesterol and carbs and just 100 calories is not the kind of label you typically see in the freezer section. Slice one up and put it on top of a salad for a perfect lunch that takes just minutes of preparation.