5 Worst, 5 Best Frozen Foods for Your Fridge
In case you’ve missed the many grocery store flyers crammed inside your daily paper, March is National Frozen Food Month. And although it’s a holiday created by the people who make and sell frozen foods, today is a great time to take inventory of your freezer and determine what deserves to stay.
How popular are frozen foods? The frozen food market is expected to reach $306 BILLION by 2020. More than half of all U.S. households rely on frozen dinners at some point.
At my home, you’ll routinely find frozen foods like fish sticks, chicken nuggets, breakfast waffles, assorted veggies, pizzas and Hot Pockets. Knowing it’s National Frozen Food Month got me wondering how my home staples stack up in the realm of good foods/bad foods.
So as I tend to do when faced with an assignment involving foods, I turned to my friend, Leanne Ely, for help. Leanne is a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of SavingDinner.com.
After warming up to the task, Leanne provided her expertise.
1) Chests o’ Chicken
You know the kind I’m talking about—the ever-present, almost always on sale boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Yes, you want those.
2) Veggies Galore
The freezer section of the supermarket is full of frozen veggies of every kind. A great budget saver, picked at their peak, this is something to stock up on.
3) Wacky for Waffles
There are great whole-grain, ready-to-go waffles, even the gluten-free ones for those who need them. A terrific canvas for a swipe of nut butter for a quick breakfast.
Bags of berries, peaches, mangoes, pineapple — the makings for a perfect smoothie. I buy these bags by the barrelful and keep my freezer flowing with fruit!
5) Garlic and Herbs
A particularly fabulous product—little ice cube-like trays of fresh herbs (cilantro, basil) and garlic and ginger, too. These fresh frozen, portion controlled herbs and garlic are something I always have on hand for convenient cooking. They’re made by a company called Dorot; check your local grocery store for availability or visit the website.
1) Mistaken Chicken
Don’t buy and store the breaded, fried and ready to go stuff that you heat and eat. Read the nutritional info on each pack. Not so bad? Go back and look at it again, this time with what a real serving size would be. Uh-huh. See what I mean?
2) Vicious Veggies
Beware the veggies that are afloat with sauce, goo and cheese! Talk about turning around a good situation for bad! Run, don’t walk. This is a case of veggies gone bad.
3) Botched Breakfast
Waffles with a bit of nut butter is one thing; the other breakfast stuff in the freezer section is cause for alarm! You don’t need hundreds of calories, gobs of fat and sugar taking you down before noon. Keep it safe with aforementioned waffles.
4) Felonious Fruit
The plain Jane stuff is great, highly nutritious and naturally low in sugar (especially the berries). But juice is another thing … even 100% fruit juice can be hard on blood sugar levels. If you do juice at all, go EASY. There’s a reason why there is such things called juice glasses — because you don’t need much!
5) Ay, Caramba!
My good friend, Mr. Bad Food, warns of the El Monterey XX Large Chimichanga he encountered while shopping at Walmart. The mushy Spicy Red Hot Beef & Bean XX Large Chimichangas did a Mexican fat dance on his diet – to the tune of 920 calories, 57g of fat (15g saturated; 1g trans fat), 40mg cholesterol, 1,140mg sodium, 83g carbs and 22g protein.
Your best bet is to chill out, read labels and stick to the frozen foods that have few ingredients.
Frozen foods are a great time-saver. Just be sure to set yourself up for dieting success by keeping healthier choices on hand.
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.