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Saving Money and Nutrients with Frozen Foods

By: Marly Schuman

These days, everyone is too busy to cook. Parents work late, kids have practices after school and no one has time to sit down for a family dinner. offers tons of free quick and healthy recipes. Even if you don't always have fresh ingredients to cook with, we are here to help you stay healthy and save time.


If you absolutely cannot cook once in awhile, there is a fairly healthy and affordable solution out there, and eating out is not it! Frozen meals can be an easy fix for a well-balanced meal instead of ordering pizza delivery. There is a whole tundra of options in the frozen food aisle, so you need to be extra-careful of what you purchase.


First, narrow down your brand of frozen meal. Registered Dietician Heather K. Jones, author of  "The Grocery Cart Makeover" and "What's Your Diet Type?," has researched frozen meals and suggests all Lean Cuisines Spa entrees and pizzas, Healthy Choice Pizzas and most Kashi flavors. Jones and Dietician Ilona Fordham agree that no meal should contain trans fats. They shouldn't contain any more than 4 grams of saturated fat or 700 mg of sodium.


This brings us to another downside in frozen foods. Many contain a dangerous amount of sodium to compensate for their lack of flavor. This is why you should not make it a habit to regularly eat frozen meals. According to Dietician Jessica Butcher, these meals commonly contain over 1,000 mg of sodium per serving, which is half the amount you should consume in a day! Butcher also advises to check ingredients when buying anything frozen. You should be able to recognize the ingredients. Look for whole grains and proteins at the top of the ingredient list.


Once you find a meal that works for you, make sure it includes a vegetable, suggests Registered Dietician Laurie Beebe. If you are just getting a meat and a starch, like pasta or potatoes, you won't be eating a well-balanced meal. After you find the balanced meal, Beebe believes you should still add a nutritious side. These 300-calorie meals aren't enough to fill you up, so try adding a side salad, fruit or yogurt. Even if you're on a diet, don't skimp on the calories too much! You can end up hungry and start snacking on unhealthy foods. Jones even points out that starving yourself can slow your metabolism, producing the reverse effect. She suggests Birdseye Steamfresh Singles or Green Giant Simply Steam frozen veggies to fill up on fiber and fill up your stomach.


Even though complete frozen meals might not give you full nutrients, frozen fruits and vegetables are a great side dish or ingredient in any meal. Dietician Deanna Minich suggests Trader Joe's for frozen slice mangy, blueberries, pineapple and more. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies, in homemade sauces or other desserts. Minich claims even if produce is frozen it still retains its vitamins and minerals to a large extent. Frozen veggies are also great for casseroles, stir-fries, and as a side-dish.


At a time when it is often difficult and expensive to obtain fresh produce, frozen foods are the hot ingredient. Just be sure to stay away from eating full frozen meals too often. For easy, healthy recipes for any occasion check out


For more information about the healthiest frozen foods, please contact Marly Schuman at

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