Whether it’s due to convenience, affordability, or sheer laziness, we’ve all enjoyed a frozen meal at some point in our lives. There’s something so satisfying about a dinner that only requires a microwave (without the meal prep).
The only catch is that most frozen meals are on the same level as junk food: loaded with sodium and fat. But in this day and age, frozen meals are so much more than processed crap. Many varieties now contain plenty of protein, fiber, and veggies, and they won’t fill you up with unnecessary sodium.
While there aren’t any steadfast “rules” for picking healthy frozen meals, here are a few guidelines to follow: First, look for frozen meals that have at least 10 grams of protein. While that may not be enough for one sitting, it’s a good starting point and can easily be doubled or tripled with additions like two eggs, three ounces of chicken, or a half-cup of beans or quinoa.
Try to stay under 750 milligrams of sodium, which is about 33 percent of the daily sodium recommendation in a typical 2,000-calorie diet. Lastly, look for options that are loaded with veggies because, well, veggies are good for you. Get the nukers ready because these nine healthy frozen meal options fit the bill.
This vegan Asian noodle bowl contains all the flavor of Thai food with a creamy cashew sauce. Made with red pepper, lemongrass, ginger, edamame, cashews, and buckwheat and semolina noodles, this bowl is loaded with protein and fiber, and the flavor will give you all the feels of a home-cooked meal.
Per serving: 390 calories, 18 g fat, 460 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 13 g protein
2. Luvo Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta
Yes, you read that right. This fancy frozen bowl features red wine-braised beef, polenta, and veggies, including collard greens and butternut squash. Each bowl has a serving of beef with a side of fiber and flavor. Double win for meat lovers and red wine drinkers who don’t have time to marinade.
Per serving: 300 calories, 10 g fat, 410 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 19 g protein
This frozen meal needs to be prepared in the oven or grill, but it’s worth it. Love the Wild uses sustainable fish, and each dish comes with homemade frozen saucy ice cubes (the ingredients list only contains items you have in your kitchen). This version brings the flavors of “bold red coconut curry sauce, with notes of Thai basil and kaffir lime” to your plate. If that’s not worth lighting up the oven, then we’re not sure what is.
Per serving: 430 calories, 27 g fat, 360 mg sodium, 5 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 37 g protein.
Saffron Road offers delicious Indian food without the hassle of ordering takeout. Chicken tikka masala is a fan favorite, and this version has chicken simmered in Tandoori spices and basmati rice straight from your freezer.
Per serving: 300 calories, 9 g fat, 690 mg sodium (29%), 39 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 17 g protein
Finding a vegetarian frozen meal that has protein and veggies can be tough. Luvo made it easier with this So Cal Kale and Beans bowl, made with red rice, kale, white beans, and shiitake mushrooms. The bowl boasts one and a half cups of veggies and tons of fiber.
Per serving: 300 calories, 7 g fat, 360 mg sodium, 53 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 10 g protein