The frozen food section in your grocery store can be a great option for finding healthy, convenient and varied foods for today's fast-paced lifestyles. Look for frozen entrees that range from eight to twelve-ounces in weight, contain 200 to 400 calories, have less than ten grams of fat, less than five of those saturated and 600 to 800 milligrams of sodium.
Frozen foods store well in the freezer for up to 18 months from the time of manufacture. Many entrees or frozen stir-fry bags serve two to four people and are easy to microwave or cook in only one pan. Add a slice of bread and another fruit or vegetable for a balanced but speedy meal.
Frozen vegetables preserve nutrients at their peak level and in some cases, are even higher in nutrients than their fresh counterpart! If you often eat alone or just need enough for one meal, keep resealable bags in your freezer for easier heating of one serving at a time in your microwave.
Ten Top Rated Frozen Meals
These are fast, diet-friendly and tasty, too!
1. Stouffer's Lean Couisine Cafe Classics Grilled Chicken with Penne Pasta
Calories: 250, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 690mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g
This meal has a rich, garlic-herb sauce and tender pieces of chicken. Even the penne pasta was flavorful.
2. Weight Watchers Smart Ones Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl
Calories: 260, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 790mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g
This delicious meal boasts tender strips of beef and crispy vegetables, a sweet-and-sour sauce and fluffy white rice.
3. Gorton's Shrimp Bowl Alfredo
Calories: 290, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 980mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g
Al Dente pasta in a rich, creamy sauce. The shrimp and vegetables were in very tiny pieces and did not amount to much food.
4. Healthy Choice Bowls Chicken Teriyaki With Rice
Calories: 310, Fat: 6g, Sodium: 600mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g
High fiber and low sodium, this meal has an impressive nutritional value. Plus, the separate sauce pouch provided custom seasoning. One "small" drawback - this is a rather small portion size.
5. Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics Beef Portabello
Calories: 220, Fat: 7g, Sodium: 690mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g
With this entree you get a generous portion of roast beef with whipped red-skinned potatoes accented with chives and onions. It is a little lean on flavor, but does provide a full serving of vegetables so it's worthy of a try. Some taste testers said they were a little on the "rubbery" side.
6. Gorton's Shrimp Bowl Garlic Butter
Calories: 280, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 680mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g
Nice, tangy sauce - if you like tangy - and the portion size is perfect. It is filling without being too heavy. Only one small disappointment - the shrimp were a little on the chewy side. One taste-tester said she liked it that way because it made her slow down and chew more...
7. Uncle Ben's Mexican Style Bowl Beef Fajita
Calories: 300, Fat: 4.5g, Sodium: 1,130mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g
High sodium count loaded with vegetables and rice, but a little shy on meat. Best bet - make the fajitas yourself.
8. Weight Watchers Smart Ones Macaroni and Cheese
Calories: 240, Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 800mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g
The cheese in this dish is left a bit wanting of flavor, but dieters say the calorie budget cannot even compare to the "real" thing. This is a good dish to keep on hand for those low-calorie comfort food emergencies.
9. Uncle Ben's Noodle Bowl Spicy Thai Style Chicken
Calories: 400, Fat: 8g, Sodium: 980mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g
This is a lively blend of chicken, noodles and vegetables. The red curry sauce is very hot though, so this has to be to your liking or you may be disappointed.
10. Uncle Ben's Noodle Bowl Spicy Peanut Chicken
Calories: 420, Fat: 8.5g, Sodium: 1,190mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 15g
Last and least - this contains almost 1/2 a day's sodium intake and is very scant on chicken and vegetables.
Some frozen vegetables may actually be better than fresh. Produce headed for the freezer case usually goes directly from the field or orchard to the processing plant. It doesn't languish in railroad cars or tractor trailer trucks, waiting to be shipped cross-country to end up at your supermarket a week later. The nutrients in frozen fruits and vegetables are nearly as high as fresh-picked and are often better than in produce that has undergone temperature changes, exposure to light and other rigors of travel.
Frozen Treat: Easy No-Drip Pops
Use the time-tested favorite Kool Aid to make these sweet and cool summer time treats that won't drip.
1 envelope Kool Aid
1 package (4-serving size) Jello gelatin
2 cups boiling water and 1/1-2 cup cold water
Dissolve Kool-Aid Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix, any flavor and 1 package JELL-O Brand Gelatin (flavor of choice) in 2 cups boiling water. Add the 1-1/2 cups cold water. Stir until completely dissolved. Pour into 8 (5 ounce) paper cups or Tupperware molds. Cover cups with aluminum foil, insert sticks and freeze until firm.
Note: Foil keeps the sticks from falling to the side while freezing. Makes 8 pops.
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