Healthy Frozen Food Guidelines

Get all the convenience of frozen foods and boost your health at the same time by sticking to these easy guidelines.

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The allure of the frozen food aisle can have a strong pull, with prepackaged meals that proclaim to be fast, easy and healthy. But many frozen foods contain hidden ingredients and calories that could be sabotaging your health. Fortunately, if you know how to make smart choices, you can give your diet a boost and cash in on convenience at the same time – just stick to these easy frozen food guidelines.

Avoid "pre-seasoned" meat: If you're tired of having fresh meats go bad before you use them, opt for frozen meats (or freeze your own). While a fresh steak only lasts three to five days before it goes bad, a frozen steak can be stored from six months to a year! Plus, high-protein foods take more work to digest and metabolize, which means they help you burn more calories and keep you fuller, which is great for weight loss. However, avoid any packaging that says the meat is pre-seasoned – this could mean that it's packed full of sodium and unhealthy processed ingredients. Instead, season your meat yourself using herbs and spices like cayenne, turmeric and ginger, which may help you with weight loss.

Keep sodium under 200: Surprisingly, frozen vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh ones. This is because frozen vegetables are usually picked at their peak and then immediately frozen, saving them from days to weeks sitting on trucks and in stores. Plus, buying frozen veggies allows you diversify your diet by adding in veggies that aren't in season. Vegetables are great for weight loss because they're low in calories and packed with filling fiber. Just be wary that you're not picking up vegetables that have been preserved or packed with a lot of sodium – this can cause you to retain water and feel bloated. Make sure the label says it has less than 200 mg of sodium.