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10 Frozen Dinner Finds You Won't Believe Are Healthy

By , Elizabeth Lowry, Staff Writer
When you think of "frozen meals," what comes to mind? Do you conjure up memories of eating off the metal TV trays that conveniently folded up and tucked away nicely between the couch and the armchair?

If so, then it may come as no surprise to you that those trays were created in 1952 with TV dinners in mind. The official name "TV dinner" and accompanying frozen food items were invented the following year by Swanson out of necessity to use up a gross miscalculation of Thanksgiving turkeys the company thought the American public would consume.

Thankfully, frozen dinners have come a long way from the original cold slabs of turkey served up on aluminum trays alongside ice cream scoop-shaped servings of cornbread dressing with gravy, sweet potatoes and peas. Not only are they more appetizing, but some varieties are also a lot healthier.

Although eating in front of the TV isn't recommended, we all do it from time to time. Armed with guidelines from our dietician, Becky Hand, for frozen dinner selection and serving sizes (a calorie count between 300-400, no more than six grams of saturated fat and the sodium should be no more than 600 milligrams), we pored through the freezer aisles to bring you 10 of the healthiest options available. Now when you pull out that TV tray, you don't have to feel guilty about what you put on it.
 
Meat Entrees

1. Evol Fire Grilled Steak Skip the fast-food burrito bowl and fire up this beauty, instead. Coming in at 400 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 20 grams of protein and 520 milligrams of sodium, you'll shave off about 200 calories, four grams of saturated fat and 835 milligrams of sodium from Chipotle's similar offering.
 
2. Lean Cuisine Craveables Supreme Pizza With all the taste of delivery pizza but so much less guilt, this 340-calorie, single-serving pie is packed with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, roasted pepper, onion and four cheeses. Three grams of saturated fat, 16 grams of protein and 470 milligrams of sodium round out the nutrition on this freezer gem.
 
3. Luvo Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta A side of roasted broccoli would pair well with this hearty, low-calorie entrée. It's hard to believe this flavorful pre-packaged meal only contains 250 calories, two grams of saturated fat, 17 grams of protein and 300 milligrams of sodium, but it's true.
 
Poultry Entrees

4. Luvo Chicken Chile Verde This tasty Southwestern meal contains chicken that actually looks and tastes like chicken, beans for extra protein and polenta for a new twist on cornbread. With just 300 calories, four grams of saturated fat, 25 grams of protein and 490 milligrams of sodium, you can add on a side of asparagus to round out your meal. 
 
5. Evol Fire Grilled Chicken Poblano Containing real, easy-to-pronounce ingredients and just 250 calories, two grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of protein and 340 milligrams of sodium, this gluten-free chicken dish is one you can feel good about eating again and again.
 
6. Healthy Choice Café Steamers General Tso's Spicy Chicken Healthy Choice entrees such as this slimmed-down version of a traditional Asian chicken dish are easy to find in your grocer's freezer. Containing 290 calories, one gram of saturated fat, 16 grams of protein and 580 milligrams of sodium, go ahead and stock up.
 
Meatless Entrees

7. CedarLane Burrito Grande with Salsa Roja Boasting a respectable 240 calories, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 10 grams of protein and 540 milligrams of sodium, this isn't your average frozen burrito. Made with an organic tortilla, black beans, basmati rice and other real ingredients, you won't have to wonder what other mystery foods you might be eating.

8. Kashi Black Bean Mango Kashi's take on a classic black beans and rice dish adds a layer of complexity by combining both savory veggies and a pop of sweetness from diced mango. This dish's nutritional count is also satisfactory, containing only 340 calories, one gram of saturated fat, eight grams of protein and 380 milligrams of sodium.

9. Amy's Cheese Ravioli with Sauce Jump on the bowl bandwagon with this hearty organic pasta and tomatoes dish, which will help keep you fuller longer due in part to each serving's 14 grams of protein. Add to that 380 calories, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 14 grams of protein and 680 milligrams of sodium and you have yourself a healthy comfort food to enjoy when you just don't have time to cook.

10. Lean Cuisine Craveables Four Cheese Pizza When you want pizza but not the meat, this frozen option is perfect. Packing just 380 calories, three grams of saturated fat, 19 grams of protein and 600 milligrams of sodium into a sizeable portion, you can satisfy your pizza craving and stay within your daily nutritional needs.

Which healthy frozen dinners do you like to eat? Share them in the comments.

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Comments

ALILDUCKLING
I am unfamiliar with a lot of these brands other than Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. We seldom do the TV dinner thing - maybe once every few months, so my usage is pretty limited. Good to know. Report
Frozen dinners are disgusting. I guess I'm a food snob because I don't understand how people can eat them. Just the smell makes me nauseous. Not all foods freeze well & I can usually tell if they have been frozen. Report
DAN_BEASLEY
What great recipes! Excellent list. I am a big fan of crockpot cooking and casseroles in the oven for healthy, frozen food recipes. I wrote about my favorite recipe resources at my blog: Chest Freezer Portal.
Report
Please include carbs in such articles. Thanks! Report
SWEETBIPPY
CedarLane spinach & feta tamale - wrapped in corn husks - delicious!
Amy's Light & Lean spinach lasagna - best tasting 250 calories on the planet Report
Kashi has a new quinoa bowl that's vegan that looks pretty good. Less than 500mg of sodium. Report
We like the Luvo and Evol and we "cheat" with the pizzas. We add a salad or just some extra veggies and keep the rest of the days sodium low. Report
...and then take a potassium supplement for the sodium bloat. Oy, vey! Report
HUNTCARS01
My wife and I currently eat the Healthy Choice Café Steamers, and they are very tasty. I pack them for lunch 2-3 times a week. I haven't tried the Lean Cuisine or the Amy's frozen dinners yet, but they look good and I'm going to buy them this next trip to the supermarket. Report
Unfortunately, the sodium content is quite high if you have to watch your salt intake. Report
These sound like interesting suggestions, but my personal issue with frozen entrees is that they don't have nearly enough vegetables for my preference, and not nearly enough volume for me to feel satisfied. They might be okay as a snack, but for a meal I would need to add 4 or 5 servings of vegetables to them.

Oh - and it would be appreciated if the editor could check a dictionary for the actual definition of "fuller". The incorrect usage here is quite jarring, and should be corrected to either "full" or "more full". I am assuming that this is an editorial error, since it is one that I've seen in almost every blog / article on Spark lately and it seems unlikely that all of the writers would make the same error. Report
T.V. Dinners
ZZ TOP
"TV dinners there's nothin' else to eat
TV dinners they really can't be beat
I like 'em frozen but you understand
I throw 'em in and wave 'em and I'm a brand new man oh yeah!
TV dinners they're goin' to my head
TV dinners my skin is turnin' red
Twenty year old turkey in a thirty year old tin
I can't wait until tomorrow.... and thaw one out again oh yeah!
TV dinners I'm feelin' kinda rough
TV dinners this one's kinda tough
I like the enchiladas and the teriaki too
I even like the chicken if.... the sauce is not too blue.
And they're mine, all mine, oh yeah
and they sure are fine.
Gotta have 'em
gimme somethin' now."
https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-uZSnVbny0
Report
Hmmm maybe I'll consider a few of these for those times I just don't feel like cooking. Nine months ago, you would of found MOSTLY frozen stuff in my freezer, but now I am again cooking and enjoying the taste and NOT MUCH SALT ! Report
Gosh darn it. Now I'm hungry. Lol. Report
Thanks for the suggestions. I tried the Evol steak bowl and liked it. I'll probably try a few of their other varieties as well. All the lean cuisine pizzas are good but the spinach and mushroom is my personal favorite! Report
Lean Cuisine pizzas are pretty good. Love the Healthy Choice Café Steamers General Tso's Spicy Chicken! Report
I love the lean cuisine pizzas and so do my children. We never get take out pizza anymore since we all love them and they are much healthier for all of us than the local pizza place Report
KHAMEL1077
I tried the lean cuisine supreme pizza, it was really good. I will buy it again. Report
HOLS1001
I am old enough to remember the frozen tv dinners in the metal trays that took like 45 minutes to cook in the oven because microwaves hadn't been invented yet.. WOW do I suddenly feel old... The food was actually good. My favorite was spaghetti. It tasted much better than the junky ones made today. Report
This is great; i've been staying away from frozen dinners for the most part so good to know that there are some that are on the healthy side. Might try that Kasha black bean dinner tonight. Report
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