On a busy night when you have no time to cook, picking up a frozen dinner may be the better choice than hitting a drive-through, according to a data analysis presented this week at the Experimental Biology Conference.
Adults who consumed frozen meals ate 253 fewer calories and ate more vegetables, greens, beans, whole grains, and protein foods, and less refined grains and empty calories than those who ate quick-service restaurant (QSR) meals, researchers say. "We are excited about the results of this study as it shows that frozen meals can play an important role in helping Americans meet the US Dietary Guidelines,” Kim Krumhar, Ph.D., scientific advisor of nutrition at Nestlé (who funded the analysis) said in a press release.
I am a little excited too. I think frozen foods sometimes get a bad rap and they do seem to be improving in the industry. With so many individuals’ busy lives, they can be a healthier choice at times. I recommend picking one that has 300 to 400 calories, 10 to 20g protein, at least 4g fiber, and no more than 5g saturated fat and 800mg sodium. I also like to add additional veggies to help fill you up.
And remember that it's not one meal but how you eat the entire day that matters. It's unknown if the frozen meal eaters simply ate healthier all day long than the fast food diners, or if this one meal made the biggest impact on the results the researchers found.