Is Frozen Food Healthy? Here’s What You Need to Know About Ready-Made Meals

Is Frozen Food Healthy? Frozen meals have long been associated with being unhealthy or laden with preservatives. However, the landscape of frozen foods has changed dramatically over the years.

Here’s what you need to know to make informed choices when it comes to selecting the right (frozen) meal for you.

The Evolution of Frozen Meals

Remember, modern frozen meals have come a long way from the TV dinners of the past. With advancements in food technology and an increased focus on health and nutrition, many frozen meal providers now offer a diverse range of options that cater to various dietary needs and preferences.

Take our Delugo range of frozen meals for example. We offer everything from meaty homestyle comfort food like our Beef Curry to vegetarian options such as our scrumptious Roasted Country Vegetables or a light and healthy Couscous dish.

Nutritional Value of Frozen Meals: A Closer Look

When it comes to nutrition, not all frozen meals are made equal. 

Some heat-and-eat meals are made for only microwaves and don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. However, many of today’s offerings contain high-quality ingredients, are low in sodium and added sugars, and contain a balanced mix of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some frozen meals can even be healthier than their restaurant counterparts due to their controlled portion sizes and lower calorie content. No jokes. 

Flash Freezing vs. Normal Freezing

Flash freezing is a process by which food is rapidly frozen, preserving its nutritional value, texture, and taste. Unlike traditional freezing methods, which can result in the formation of ice crystals that damage cell structures and degrade food quality, flash freezing locks in nutrients and keeps the food as fresh as possible. This means that when you enjoy a flash-frozen meal, you’re getting a meal that is both nutritious and delicious – like it was made only a few minutes ago. 

Choosing the Right Frozen Meals

  • Check the label

When selecting a frozen meal, it’s crucial to read the nutritional label and ingredient list to ensure you’re making a healthy choice. Here are some specific things to consider when evaluating frozen meals:

  • Balanced macronutrient profile: 

Aim for a meal that has a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. For example, look for a dish that offers at least 15 grams of protein, 45-65% of its calories from carbohydrates, and no more than 30% of its calories from fat

  • Minimal added sugars: 

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day, and men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day. Choose frozen meals with as little added sugar as possible, ideally less than 10 grams per serving.

  • Low sodium content: 

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of 1,500 milligrams for most adults. When selecting a frozen meal, aim for options with less than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving.

  • Limited artificial preservatives: 

Although some preservatives are necessary for maintaining the quality and safety of frozen meals, it’s best to avoid options with excessive amounts of artificial additives. Look for meals with a shorter ingredient list, featuring recognizable, whole food ingredients.

  • Consider your dietary preferences
    Frozen meals cater to various dietary preferences and requirements, making it easy to find options that suit your needs:
  • Vegetarian and vegan: 

Look for plant-based meals featuring protein-rich ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, or tempeh, and double-check for animal-derived ingredients.

  • Gluten-free: 

Choose meals labeled as gluten-free and verify the ingredient list to ensure no gluten-containing ingredients are included.

  • Health-conscious: 

Opt for frozen meals with whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, lower calorie counts, reduced sodium, and minimal saturated fats.

  • Specialty diets: 

Find frozen meals that cater to specific diets like keto, paleo, and low-FODMAP by checking for clear labeling and compatible ingredient lists.

  • Allergen awareness: 

Read ingredient lists carefully and choose meals free from potential allergens. Look for allergen-friendly options from frozen meal manufacturers

  • Wholesome vs Healthy Frozen Food:
    It’s important to understand that healthy food doesn’t necessarily mean comfort food, but comfort food doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy food. You get the green-eating healthy frozen meals prepared for specific dietary requirements and the more wholesome frozen food options that are still packed with nutrients – and flavour.

    Essentially, your lifestyle determines where you fit on the Healthy Food to Wholesome Food scale. It’s all still good food. Just don’t tip the scale by binging on junk food. 

Portion Control and Overeating

One of the key advantages of frozen meals is their pre-portioned serving sizes. This can be beneficial in preventing overeating and promoting portion control, as studies have shown (and we all know) that larger portion sizes can contribute to increased calorie consumption and weight gain.

Finding the Right Frozen Meal Provider

Choosing the right frozen meal provider or brand is crucial in ensuring that you’re consuming high-quality, nutritious meals. Look for brands that prioritize sourcing quality ingredients, have a diverse range of options, and provide full transparency – like us. Reading reviews and testimonials can also give you insight into the experiences of other consumers.
By understanding the benefits of modern frozen meals, the process of flash freezing, and how to choose the right options, you can enjoy the convenience of frozen meals without compromising your health.

You’re welcome to contact us should you want more information on the ingredients we use and the nutritional value of our premade meals.