In 1954, Swanson launched the very first frozen dinner. The aluminum tray of turkey, salty cornbread and rubbery vegetables sold for 98 cents — and tasted like it.
Thankfully for time-strapped dieters, microwave meals have come a long way in the last 61 years. In today’s food landscape, the words “healthy”, “delicious” and “frozen” co-exist, with offerings ranging from fresh kale and wild salmon (one ofThe Best Fish for Fat Loss) to savory grass-fed beef and amaranth. The trouble is, waist-friendly offerings are often hiding among salt- and chemical-laden fare reminiscent of Swanson’s original.
To help you find the best frozen meal for your taste buds and weight loss goal, we scoured the supermarket. Keep a few of these options in your freezer, so you’re always prepared with a portion-controlled, nutritious meal, no matter how hectic life may get.
ARTISAN BISTRO WILD SALMON WITH PESTO
Filled with 50 percent of the day’s vitamin C — a nutrient that fights off stress hormones that trigger belly fat — and waist-whittling omega-3s, this lemon, Parmesan and rosemary-dusted meal is a must-buy for fish lovers who are counting calories. We love that Artisan Bistro uses health-promoting wild salmon instead of farmed fish — thanks to its diet of soy pellets, poultry litter (that’s poop) and hydrolyzed chicken feathers, it serves up a fraction of the nutrients.
EVOL BOWLS CHICKEN TERIYAKI
To create this Asian-inspired meal, Evol combines grilled chicken with brown rice and a plethora of fresh veggies such as snap peas and bell peppers. To top it all off, they drizzle on a delicious — and surprisingly low-sodium — teriyaki sauce. One 250-calorie bowl serves up 90 percent of the day’s vitamin A, which is essential for proper immune system function and bone strength. It’s also one of the Vitamins You’re Not Getting Enough Of, so load up!
KASHI LEMONGRASS COCONUT CHICKEN
Chicken, veggies and nutrient-packed grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, and triticale (one of our go-to Meat Free Proteins for Weight Loss play a starring role in this heat-n-eat dish while coconut, ginger and jalapeño elevate it to the next level in terms of taste. The stellar protein and fiber content counteract the meal’s lower calorie count, ensuring you’ll be satiated long after your last bite.
ARTISAN BISTRO GRASS-FED BEEF WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE
At most supermarkets, this frozen meal retails for less than five bucks, and you get a lot of nutrition for your money. Because Artisan Bistro uses naturally lean grass-fed beef instead of conventionally raised meat, this savory and delicious dish is low in calories and teeming with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The meat is perfect accompanied by fibrous sweet potatoes and protein-filled lentils and edamame beans.
KASHI CHICKEN PASTA POMODORO
Whoever said you had to give up pasta to lose weight obviously never discovered this waistline-friendly meal. Overflowing with fiber- and protein-packed grains (including oats, brown rice and triticale) and topped with vegetables and grilled chicken, this dish is as nutritious as it is flavorful. The addition of a fresh tomato, garlic and basil sauce and a generous serving of savory parmesan cheese ensures you won’t feel like you’re eating “diet food.” And speaking of pasta, for the nights you have time to make some yourself, be sure to check out the 10 Ways to Slim Down Your Pasta Dinner.
Luvo stuffs their restaurant-quality ravioli with iron-rich spinach and creamy ricotta. It gets better: They dress it up in a hearty, perfectly seasoned turkey Bolognese sauce that’s sure to make your taste buds dance. Going on a diet never tasted so good.
KASHI MAYAN HARVEST BAKE
What do you get when you combine plantains, roasted sweet potato, black beans, kale, a spicy ancho sauce and a crunchy pumpkin seed garnish? The mouthwatering meal by Kashi. It serves up a day’s worth of vitamin A and might just be the furthest thing from Swanson’s 98-cent original we’ve come across yet.
LUVO WHOLE GRAIN PILAF
This low-sodium dish is filled with fiber and protein, making it a smart pick for vegetarians and carnivores alike. The bulk of the entree comprises brown rice, quinoa and wheat berries while kale, artichokes and zucchini add a splash of appetizing color and health-promoting nutrients. The addition of toasted almonds adds a pleasing crunch and a hit of the amino acid L-arginine, a nutrient that can boost your fat and calorie burn during workouts. But almonds aren’t the only food that can take your gym sessions to the next level. For more delicious pre-workout eats, check out our guide to the The Best Fuel For Every Workout.