(Kashi Harvest Bake is a blend of roasted sweet potatoes, kale, black beans and is topped with pumpkin seeds)
By Brittany Anas
Never thought you’d hear “healthy” and “frozen dinner” in the same sentence? Because of high-sodium content and preservatives, frozen dinners have never really been thought of as health food. And, while fresh produce and foods are ideal, there are some days where frozen meals and your microwave can come in handy — and keep you away from the traps of fast-food drive thru lanes or cafeteria vending machines.
Microwaveable dinners have come a long way, now with organic, low-fat, vegetarian and steamed options.
A few tips: Don’t eat just the microwaveable meal. Up the nutritional value of your meal with some sides of fresh fruits and veggies for more vitamins and fiber. When you’re steering your grocery cart down the frozen food aisle, look for frozen meals that include at least a serving of vegetables, whole grains and a lean protein and compare sodium content.
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Here are 5 of the healthiest frozen dinners:
- Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake: The 340-calorie baked entree mixes spices with plantains, roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and kale and is topped with a spicy ancho sauce served over Kashi Pilaf and garnished with pumpkin seeds. It packs 8 grams of fiber.
- Amy’s Light & Lean Quinoa and Black Beans: For a simple but filling meal this quinoa-and-beans dish also includes Swiss chard and butternut squash that is high in fiber (11 grams), low in fat (just 5 grams). The whole meal is just 240 calories.
- Kid’s Rice Mac n’ Cheese: Need a quick meal for your little ones? Mac n’ Cheese is usally a hit — and Amy’s uses rice macaroni, paired with broccoli and topped with a cheese sauce. For a healthy dessert, they’ll get served up apple crisp with sweetened with agave nectar.
- Smart Ones Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal: You know those days you’re rushing out of the house and you forgot to eat breakfast. OK, that’s almost every day except maybe Sunday. Keep a microwaveable apples and cinnamon oatmeal dish at your desk. It’s under 200 calories — and packs protein and fiber.
- Smart Creations Chicken Fajitas: The fat is trimmed from this Mexican classic. The grilled chicken with a blend of seasoned peppers and onions, along with a side of rice and beans is 290 calories, 5 grams of fat and has 5 grams of fiber.
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