I may be super picky, but I love food. And up until recently, I had never really paid attention to nutritional facts or what was actually going into my body. My diet literally consisted of fast food, processed junk, and lots and lots of sweets. Now I’m a little more conscious of what I eat. I find myself counting calories and actually reading the nutritional facts on the backs of items when deciding what to purchase at the grocery store. When you start to pay attention to how many awful ingredients and crazy portion sizes are going into your body, I can almost promise you’ll want to start eating healthier. I’m still nowhere close to being the healthiest person in the world, but I have tried (and actually been successful for the most part) to limit my intake of unhealthy foods.
So today, I’m going to tell you how frozen dinners have helped me start a healthier diet. I’m not talking about those Kid Cuisine meals we all ate when we were kids (dinosaur chicken nuggets for the win), nor am I talking about those endless mountains of pizza rolls we all love to make. I’m talking about the healthier options made by companies like Healthy Choice, Weight Watchers, and Lean Cuisine — the ones that literally advertise that they’re the smarter choice.
Frozen dinners may not be a permanent option for you, but if you’re having a hard time getting into the general gist of eating healthy, they’re a good way to start.
I know what you’re thinking. Eating prepackaged frozen lasagna is nowhere near as good as fresh lasagna made from your own kitchen. And you’re right. You’re definitely right. However, when you make your special homemade lasagna, how much of it do you eat? How much is the correct portion size? That’s the hard part about cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. But when I do, I tend to make way too much. There are ALWAYS leftovers. I’m not very good at portioning a correct serving size for myself, which is why I turned to frozen dinners. With frozen dinners, your entire meal is right in front of you. The box tells you all of the nutritional information, without you having to add together your calories one by one. Without you having to decide, “okay the serving size of milk is one ounce, but how much is one ounce?” Frozen dinners are entirely prepared and proportioned for you, leaving no work for you. Because let’s be honest, you probably aren’t going to take the time to measure and weigh every single one of your ingredients to create the ideal serving size. I know I wouldn’t.
If I’m still “hungry” after eating a frozen dinner, it’s usually not because I’m actually hungry. It’s usually because I’m used to overeating rather than portioning correctly. It’s like, when I’m making spaghetti, I’m going to eat everything I made (or at least until I’m too full to move, AKA overeating) because I don’t want to waste it. But frozen dinners don’t allow you to overeat. With frozen dinners, you’re able to know exactly how much of what is going into your body.
Not only that, but frozen dinners contain healthier ingredients in comparison to what I’d cook myself. A lot of healthier frozen dinners come with the entrée and two sides — usually something like potatoes and green beans. So they basically force you to eat your veggies, whereas at home, if I don’t want to eat vegetables, I don’t have to, and I probably won’t. I can just make a burger with french fries and call it a day.
Plus, frozen dinners are super fast to make. So if you’re dealing with the chaos of school, work, family, and maintaining a social life, you might not have time to cook something from scratch. When I’m busy, I usually pick up fast food on my way home because it’s the quickest option. But in reality, frozen dinners are actually way faster than fast food. After school or work, I just pop a frozen dinner in the microwave for around four minutes and I’m done. It’s that easy. So, in short, frozen dinners are literally like Panda Express, but healthy.
Plus, if you’re on your lunch break at work or just hanging out in your dorm room, you know what’s perfect to eat? FROZEN DINNERS. If you don’t have very many healthy options in your dorm (or around the proximity of your job during your lunch break), heat up a frozen dinner. It’ll solve all your problems.
I don’t know about your local supermarket, but my grocery store is constantly having deals on frozen foods. I mean, 10 frozen dinners for $10 or about $1.50 each? Repeat that to yourself again. A DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS FOR AN ENTIRE MEAL. Let’s add that to our list of pros. Frozen meals are healthier, help with portion control, they’re fast, and they’re super INEXPENSIVE.
And you know what else? FROZEN DINNERS TASTE PRETTY DANG GOOD. I know, I know. Nowhere close to your delicious homemade lasagna. But for being a frozen dinner, they’ve got some really tasty options. You’re in the mood for chicken alfredo? There’s a frozen dinner for that. Turkey with gravy? There’s a frozen dinner for that. Sweet and spicy orange chicken? Yep, there’s a frozen dinner for that. Cajun shrimp? Yep, that exists in a frozen dinner. BBQ Steak? Yep. Chicken enchiladas? Yep. Now you’re probably thinking, “okay cool. There is a lot of options and they sound really good, but do they taste as good as the picture looks?” My answer is YES. For the most part anyways. I’ve definitely tried many frozen dinners that I didn’t like, but they’re so inexpensive and quick to make that you can generally throw it away without a problem. There are so many options and so many brands to try, so decide what you like or don’t like. I guarantee you’ll find at least a week’s worth of dinners that you will like.
Here are some of my favorites. Healthy Choice has a line of frozen dinners called Café Steamers. These are SO GOOD, hands down my go to frozen dinner. I also enjoy practically every pasta dish from most, if not all, frozen food companies. Lean Cuisine sells some really yummy paninis, too. But seriously, if you look at an item and think, “I would definitely try that at a restaurant,” THEN GET IT. You never know how good it might taste.
My point here is this: Frozen meals are definitely advancing. There are so many new and different flavors, and there are so many different health benefits from each package. You aren’t limited to that piece of nasty, rubbery chicken in a frozen dinner anymore. And when you weigh your pros and cons of frozen food, the pros definitely surpass the cons in my book. But again, this is 100% my own advice, and keep in mind, I’m definitely not a dietitian.
I know I’d get super sick of eating frozen meals daily, but when you’re in a hurry and you’re close to starving, skip fast food and heat up your frozen meal instead. They’re a good way to get you started on a healthy diet. I’m new to the whole “eating healthy” thing and frozen dinners have definitely helped as a gateway to good health, so maybe they’ll help you too.