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21 Frozen Dinners That Actually Aren't Terrible For You


Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

If you’ve been non-stop cooking since quarantine started, it makes sense you’d want a break already (if not from meal prep, then from DISHES.)

And if you’re looking to stock up on some frozen meals to help get you through the week, you’ll find a ton of starter ideas below. All of these meals:

• Keep the focus on most (or all) whole foods. The fewer ingredients listed —especially ones you can’t pronounce — the better.

• Opt for little-to-no added sugar, and less than 800 mg of sodium.

And while we know nothing beats fresh, from-scratch meals — made with whole foods and quality ingredients — it’s also true that’s not always an option.

For those times? There *are* ways to eat well, even if you’re in the frozen aisle. No meal is perfect or has everything for everyone, but here are 21 ready-made frozen meals that pack some nutrients on top of being incredibly convenient.

1.

Trader Joe’s Chicken Burrito Bowl


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 370

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 4.5 g)

Sodium: 630 mg

Carbohydrates: 51 g

Fiber: 9 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 22 g

Worth noting: If you like this and want to try a from-scratch version in the future, you can make a one-pot Mexican quinoa and add in a protein source!

2.

Beetnik Organic Thai Beef With Coconut Rice


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 250

Total Fat: 8 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 350 mg

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 12 g

Protein: 11 g

Worth noting: This is a solid option because it has a higher number of whole ingredients — plus comparatively less sodium than similar dishes in the category.

3.

Amy’s Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 37 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 7 g

Protein: 11 g

Worth noting: Plant-based meatballs, veggies, and a dairy-free sauce make this dish more balanced — without skimping on protein.

4.

Trader Joe’s Kale Gnocchi


BuzzFeed

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 3 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 480 mg

Carbohydrates: 32 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 0 g

Protein: 7 g

Worth noting: These don’t come with a sauce, so make sure you use one that’s not loaded with sugar or sodium. (We like it with sautéed cherry tomatoes or a bit of olive oil or butter and Parmesan.)

5.

Trader Joe’s Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 230 mg

Carbohydrates: 26 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: Less than 1 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: These are only $3.99, which makes them a great budget-friendly meal. For more healthy fats, serve with a side of avocado or guacamole, or boost protein by adding a scoop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

6.

Amy’s Harvest Casserole Bowl


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 360

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 640 mg

Carbohydrates: 51 g

Fiber: 8 g

Sugar: 11 g

Protein: 17 g

Worth noting: This vegan, veggie-heavy bowl packs a ton of fiber and protein.

7.

Trader Joe’s Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers with Mango Chutney


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 170

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 670 mg

Carbohydrates: 12 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sugar: 8 g

Protein: 19 g

Worth noting: Since the sauce is higher in sugar and sodium, you can also just not use all of it, or use some as dressing for a side salad.

8.

Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai With Rice Noodles


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 420

Total Fat: 13 g (Sat: 2.5 g)

Sodium: 600 mg

Carbohydrates: 64 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 18 g

Protein: 15 g

Worth noting: While a bit higher in sodium and sugar, this vegan dish makes up for it with more protein.

9.

Trader Joe’s Jackfruit Cakes


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 150

Total Fat: 6 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 470 mg

Carbohydrates: 21 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: 1 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: Although these cakes are vegan-friendly, they’re also lower in protein — so you might want to pair with a high-protein side, or make a Greek yogurt-based dip.

10.

EVOL Fire-Grilled Steak Bowl


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 400

Total Fat: 22 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 40 g

Fiber: 7 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 18 g

Worth noting: This is a protein-packed meal that manages to bring a lot of flavor without a ton of sugar.

11.

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 210

Total Fat: 1.5 g (Sat: 0 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 42 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 4 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: This is lower in protein, but can go well with an added protein source — such as meat, seafood, tofu, etc.

12.

Amy’s Tofu Scramble


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 420

Total Fat: 27 g (Sat: 4 g)

Sodium: 790 mg

Carbohydrates: 24 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 4 g

Protein: 20 g

Worth noting: This one’s definitely higher in sodium than the rest — but it’s also among the highest in protein.

13.

Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 140

Total Fat: 3 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 460 mg

Carbohydrates: 22 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: Less than 1 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: It doesn’t come with sauce, so this meal can be less healthy if you opt for a jarred one with lots of sugar and sodium. Keep it balanced with a veggie-based pesto — like this one.

14.

Saffron Road Palak Paneer with Basmati Rice


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 400

Total Fat: 21 g (Sat: 11 g)

Sodium: 690 mg

Carbohydrates: 39 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 17 g

Worth noting: While higher in fat, this dish also has less sugar and more protein.

15.

Trader Joe’s Sriracha Shrimp Bowl


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 320

Total Fat: 8 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 640 mg

Carbohydrates: 47 g

Fiber: Less than 1 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 15 g

Worth noting: While lower in calories, this one’s higher in fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar, mostly due to the sauce. However, it’s still a great source of protein and has a good number of veggies.

16.

Frontera Al Pastor Taco Bowl


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 300

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 650 mg

Carbohydrates: 35 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: 10 g

Protein: 16 g

Worth noting: For a slightly lower-fat option, you can also try Frontera’s veggie taco bowl.

17.

Amy’s Light & Lean Quinoa & Black Beans Bowl With Butternut Squash


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 440 mg

Carbohydrates: 38 g

Fiber: 11 g

Sugar: 6 g

Protein: 10 g

Worth noting: This comes with 44% of your daily recommended fiber and protein intake.

18.

Trader Joe’s Organic Green Vegetable Foursome


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 30

Total Fat: 1.5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 90 mg

Carbohydrates: 3 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 0 g

Protein: 1 g

Worth noting: These already have a little seasoning (leek, onion, and garlic powder) and don’t need much to be a full meal. You can easily pair this with your protein of choice or throw into a whole-grain pasta.

19.

Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 50

Total Fat: 2 g (Sat: 0 g)

Sodium: 190 mg

Carbohydrates: 7 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: If this doesn’t fill you up on its own, add a protein source — like grilled chicken, turkey sausage, sautéed tofu, or crumbled soyrizo.

20.

Amy’s Brown Rice, Black-eyed Peas & Veggies Bowl


Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 290

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 590 mg

Carbohydrates: 40 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 9 g

Worth noting: This lighter, low-sugar meal gets its flavor from ingredients like ginger puree and cilantro.

21.

Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl


Trader Joe’s / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 120

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1 g)

Sodium: 160 mg

Carbohydrates: 11 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: To make it feel more like a complete meal, wrap it in a tortilla or whole wheat wrap with some veggies like pictured above.

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Written by Angle News

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