Staying healthy in the frozen food aisle: Brands to buy


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In the beginning, there were frozen meals. And some were good. But they were also notoriously high in fat, calories and sodium.

Then came early frozen “diet” foods, and they were bad.

But now, we live in a different world — a world in which convenience doesn’t have to be synonymous with unhealthy. Frozen foods are better than ever and can be an easy lunch for the working mom or a quick weeknight meal for the on-the-go professional.

From now on, take control in the frozen food aisle with our easy guide to eating healthfully:


Look for products with fewer than:

  • 400 calories per serving
  • 600 mg of sodium per serving
  • 3 g of saturated fat per serving and no trans fat


Our recommendations:

  • Check out Kashi, the food company with a conscience and an unabashed whole-grains agenda. We love their black bean and mango entrée, which meets our recommended nutrition criteria and boasts seven whole grains, 150% of your daily value of vitamin A and 100% of your vitamin C.
  • Lean Cuisine produces a whole stable of frozen products — some good, some not so good. You can’t go wrong with their butternut squash ravioli, which provides two servings of veggies, plus potassium, protein and dietary fiber.
  • Amy’s Kitchen is the Holy Grail for vegetarians, vegans and people with food allergies — the company makes all its own food and never uses meat, seafood, peanuts or eggs. If you’re concerned about sodium intake, check out the low-sodium versions of Amy’s favorites — each has 340 mg of sodium or less.


New kid on the block: Ina Garten is the most recent celeb chef to launch a line of frozen products. The bagged Barefoot Contessa meals, which serve two, include penne pasta and tequila lime chicken — no word yet on whether they’re any good, but we’re betting they’re not healthy.

Helpful hint: Don’t limit yourself to just a frozen meal at lunch or dinnertime. Portion sizes are not always large, so supplement with fresh fruit or veggies and hummus to keep your healthy kick going.