Eat Healthy for Under
The Best Frozen Meals for Weight Loss
Healthy frozen meals can be a good option when you're trying to lose weight and too busy to shop and cook. "The biggest advantage for frozen meals is portion control," says Jessica Bartfield, MD, an internist who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago. "I often recommend a healthy frozen meal a few times per week for my weight-loss patients. Instead of trying to figure out how many calories you are going to get in a home-cooked meal or at a restaurant, you just flip the package over and you get everything you need to know." Here are top choices from the freezer case.
Healthy Choice Sundried Tomato and Chicken Alfredo With Broccoli
This chicken dish has protein, whole-grain pasta, and veggies, plus just the right number of calories for a healthy frozen meal when you're on a diet. "Even if your main goal is weight loss, don't try to find the meal with the absolutelowest number of calories," says Lanah J. Brennan, RD, CDE, a nutrition consultant in Lafayette, La. "Even someone on a reduced-calorie diet should have at least 300 calories for a meal. A smaller meal can often leave you unsatisfied and more likely to overeat later."
Amy's Light in Sodium Shepherd's Pie
This meatless, dairy-free, and lower-fat turn on the original makes a great meal — as long as you add a healthy side of a fruit or vegetable to help you feel full. "If you are having a low-calorie frozen entrée, add a piece of fruit to go with it," suggests Dr. Brennan.
Weight Watchers Smart Ones Spaghetti With Meat Sauce
This is a pasta dish with 14 protein grams and 5 grams of fiber, both plusses of this healthy frozen meal for weight loss, though like a lot of frozen dishes, it is relatively high in sodium. "Many frozen foods tend to be higher in sodium, so you need to be careful," Bartfield says. "Most people should limit sodium to less than 600 milligrams. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you should probably try to stay below 400 milligrams."
Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli
This dish is bursting with vegetables, including butternut squash, which is full of disease-fighting carotenoids. For a vegetarian pasta dish, it has a decent amount of protein, but to add a bit more, sprinkle on a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese.
Lean Cuisine Spa Collection Hunan Stir Fry With Beef
- Fat:8 g
- Sodium:460 mg
- Protein:16 g
- Sugar:12 g
The strength and staying power of this meal comes from both its protein and fiber. Brennan suggests aiming for 3 to 6 grams of fiber per meal, and thanks to whole-wheat vermicelli, this one fits the bill with 5 grams. And while you're reading the nutrition panel, avoid any choices that contain partially hydrogenated oils, asource of unhealthy trans fat, she adds.
Amy's Indian Vegetable Korma
"Amy's has very good vegetarian options," Brennan says, and Amy's meals are also all organic. This option has 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and no cholesterol, though it is at the high end for salt. If you're looking for Kosher, dairy-free, nut-free, andcholesterol-free meals, Amy's is also a good place to look.
Organic Bistro Wild Salmon
Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
Kashi is a healthy frozen meal brand that usually offers meals with a good amount of fiber and protein, Brennan says. This concoction will appeal to lovers of Thai food in particular. Frozen meals should appeal to your taste buds, but they can also make sense for weight loss as long as you choose wisely.
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