Trying to figure out a quick, easy and healthy dinner option can be stressful― especially in the midst of a packed schedule. Frozen dinners provide quick and inexpensive meal options that appear to be healthy and work within your diet.
A quick look at the nutrition label shows less than 300 calories, a perfect dinner option right? Not so fast. Although the calories may be reasonable, the rest of the nutrition label will reveal the ugly truth about your microwavable meal.
When it comes to frozen dinners, there are a few things you want to look out for.
First of all, a low-calorie meal may seem healthy, but sometimes pre-portioned foods actually don’t contain enough calories to keep you full. This could lead to alternative snacking on foods high in calories and fat.
Second, check the sodium content. The average person’s sodium intake should be about 2300 milligrams per day, but some frozen dinners have anywhere from 700 to 1500 milligrams of sodium for one meal. Frozen meals also contain a lot of fat, much of which is trans fat. This type of fat has been linked to heart disease, and is even being banned in fast-food restaurants (if it isn’t allowed in a McDonald’s meal, it’s not something you want to be putting into your body).
Finally, frozen dinners are packed with chemical preservatives to keep them fresh. Although some preservatives are okay, there are many that have been linked to cancer.
Honestly, the occasional Lean Cuisine meal won’t destroy your diet. After all, they’re convenient and inexpensive. But eating them every day is not a healthy choice.
Jenna Manera, sophomore, agrees. Although she usually goes for the healthier options when she can, “such as Lean Pockets instead of Hot Pockets, they’re definitely not an everyday meal because of how much fat and sodium they usually have.”
If you must, choose an option that is low in calories and fat, and below 600 milligrams of sodium. Frozen foods are okay once in a while, as long as you don’t make them a part of your daily routine.
Photo by Audrey Cillo