Are Frozen Foods Bad for Weight Management?

Are frozen foods bad for weight management?

Frozen foods are known for convenience and being easy to cook. They pop nicely into your freezer and don’t require a lot of hard work to eat. All you have to do is heat them up! You can unwrap them and stick them in your oven, or even heat them up in a microwave. They’re also fairly cheap to buy, depending on the item. But are they healthy?

Frozen Foods at a Glance

The Basic Principle:

The act of freezing in and of itself doesn’t affect how healthy your food is. Things like calories, fiber, minerals, carbs, fats and proteins aren’t changed during the freezing process. What CAN be changed though is the amount of vitamins, which may decrease slightly. However, overall, the nutritional quality of your food doesn’t change by freezing.

The Good News:

Freezing foods like raw fruits and vegetables, meats, chicken, fish and even some whole grains can be very helpful to your healthy diet. These foods last longer and save you money if you buy them in bulk. They can also come in handy if you meal prep for the work week or if you need to heat something up quick when you’re short on time.

The Bad News:

On the other hands, many prepared frozen meals are loaded with extra sugars, sodium, calories and more. You’ve probably seen this in pre-packaged frozen dinners like a pizza, lasagna, pasta or tasty appetizers. These extra ingredients are added to enhance the food’s flavor and help preserve it so it last longer. They are often found in sauces, dressings and gravies, and are usually considered “unhealthy.”

Making Frozen Meals Work for You

If you are trying to manage your weight, try limiting the amount of boxed and bagged frozen dinners you buy. Instead, if you want the convenience of frozen food, buy individual ingredients that are frozen (i.e. broccoli and chicken breast).
Don’t rely on foods like frozen pizzas, snack rolls, breakfast sandwiches, TV dinners, burritos, fried foods and appetizers (like breaded cheese sticks).

However, if you’d like to whip-up a quick meal without too much assembly, home-cook your meals in advance and then freeze them for future use. For instance, you can make a burrito bowl ahead of time with brown rice, black beans, grilled chicken and veggies. Then just stick it in the freezer in a sturdy piece of Tupperware to pull out when you’re short on time.

The Bottom Line:

Frozen foods themselves are not unhealthy. The nutritional quality of your food all depends on whether you buy raw foods or pre-packaged meals, and what ingredients are added (if any). Always read the nutrition facts label on any item you buy. Look for facts about fat, calories, sodium, carbs and sugars. Opt for the most whole ingredients you can find.

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