The New Wave of Frozen Dinners
Have you taken a stroll down the frozen-foods aisle lately? Dinner options are a lot different than you might remember. There are way more choices to select from, including many that claim to be a healthier choice. As if that weren't confusing enough, there are also delivery services that bring frozen meals to your doorstep. But are these frozen meals really healthier, quick alternatives to a home-cooked meal? Here are four you may want to give a try.
Luvo believes that frozen meals should be delicious, nutritious, convenient and environmentally friendly. They use antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. The meals contain no high-fructose corn syrup, no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors or colorings, and no hydrogenated fats. All entrees contain one or more servings of fruits and vegetables. Sample meals include Kale Ricotta Ravioli, Chicken & Harissa Chickpeas, Quinoa & Vegetable Enchiladas and Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta.
Evol, which is “love” spelled backward, has a Lean & Fit line of delicious meals like Parmesan Polenta & Veggies, Coconut Lemongrass Chicken and Fire Grilled Chicken Poblano. The Lean & Fit line is low-fat, gluten-free and made from chicken raised without antibiotics. Meals range from around 250 to 300 calories, and their sodium content is between 15 and 25 percent of the daily recommended amount.
This healthy-meal delivery service uses flash-freezing to help maintain the quality of their food. They have also found it to be the best method to help preserve the quality and taste of their products. Meals are prepared with calorie balance in mind, using high-quality proteins, small amounts of healthy fats and low-glycemic-index carbs. The meals are additive- and preservative-free, with low amounts of sugar and sodium, and the meats in them are hormone- and antibiotic-free. Dishes include 3-Bean Chili, Asian Stir Fry with Chicken Over Brown Rice and Heart-Healthy Salmon. The cost is the downside of these meals, which run between $8.95 and $12.50 each if you order a la carte; you can choose a package plan to save.
Although the Amy’s brand isn’t new to your grocery aisle, its Light & Lean choices are a newer addition. Amy’s offers 18 products in this lighter line, such as Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet & Sour Bowl and Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas. Amy’s doesn’t use additives, preservatives or GMO ingredients. All foods are vegetarian and a good choice paired with a fresh green salad on the side.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.