Are freezer meals bad for you? Sometimes convenience can come at the cost of our health. If you’re like me, finding time to cook a balanced and nutritious meal can be difficult. With our busy schedules, it’s tempting to just throw a frozen meal in the microwave and call it a day. But sometimes convenience can come at the cost of our health.
Commercially prepared frozen meals are often high in sodium and saturated fat, two things that can lead to serious health issues if you consume too much of them. They also tend to be low in fiber, which is important for keeping us full and digesting food properly. On top of this, many of them contain added sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that can damage our bodies over time.
Rest assured that our Freezer meals have been selected with both your health and convenience in mind. We have a great database of healthy and easy freezer meal recipes for you. Sign up to get full access to our recipe database and more!) Whether you are looking for a make-ahead casserole, hearty meatballs, enchiladas, or cheesy stuffed shells, you can find it here.
But let’s talk for a minute about commercially prepared frozen meals.
The dangers of sodium
When talking about the dangers of frozen meals, there’s one ingredient that stands out—sodium. Eating too much sodium is bad for you. It can raise your blood pressure, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. It also causes water retention which leads to bloating and weight gain.
Americans eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day on average, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) That’s 1,000 mg more than the USDA’s daily recommended value for healthy adults and nearly 2,000 mg more than the American Heart Association recommends for optimal heart health.
The truth about saturated fat
Frozen meals are also often high in saturated fat—another ingredient that should be limited in our diets. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol levels which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. It also contributes to inflammation in the body which has been linked to many chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Frozen meals can be notoriously high in sodium and saturated fat. “The worst frozen meals have more than 700 grams of sodium and more than 4 to 5 grams of saturated fat,” says Taylor.
It’s best to limit the sodium in your frozen meals to 600 milligrams or less, and the saturated fat to 3 grams or less.
Unfortunately, many popular brands of frozen meals contain large amounts of saturated fat! This is why it’s important to check nutrition labels when buying any kind of prepared food so you know exactly what’s going into your body.
Or stock your freezer with fresh and delicious freezer meals from out database! Just thaw and pop them into a slow cooker or Instant Pot, and enjoy home made comfort food.
Low fiber content
Fibre is essential for digestive health as well as keeping us feeling full after eating a meal. Unfortunately, most frozen meals contain very little fibre, especially if they are based on meat, dairy, and whipped potatoes. You need to look for whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. There are some commercially available “fit” or diet freezer meals that focus more on this aspect of your health and help keep you feeling full longer.
Added sugar & preservatives are bad for you
Many brands of frozen food also add sugar or other sweeteners such as corn syrup solids or dextrose to their products to make them taste better (and more addictive!). They also use preservatives such as BHA or BHT which have been linked with cancer when consumed in large amounts over time. So while these ingredients might make food taste better at first bite, they are bad for your long-term health if you consume too much of them regularly.
Artificial additives & colors
Many companies add artificial colors or flavors such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) or hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) to make them more appetizing. While these ingredients may make food look or taste more appealing they have no nutritional value whatsoever—plus they may cause allergic reactions or other adverse reactions! So it’s best to avoid these types of additives whenever possible by reading labels carefully before buying anything from the store shelves.
Fortunately there are healthier alternatives out there if you want something fast and convenient without all the added junk! For instance there are lots of options available now like microwavable veggie burgers, whole-wheat pitas with hummus, pre-cooked quinoa bowls, bean burritos, etc. All these choices provide protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals without all the processed stuff found in most store-bought frozen foods. Plus they usually take less than 5 minutes !
A better alternative
Make your own freezer meals!
Another option is making your own freezer meals ahead of time by cooking double batches when preparing dinner so that you have leftovers ready when needed. This way you get all the benefits without sacrificing flavor or nutrition! Sound familiar? You bet it does.
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Ultimately it comes down to making informed choices about what we put into our bodies. Buying commercially prepared frozen meals may seem like an easy solution but unfortunately many brands contain unhealthy amounts of sodium, saturated fat, added sugar & preservatives. By making your own freezer meals with fresh, quality ingredients, you can ensure you get all the necessary nutrients while still enjoying delicious food!