National TV Dinner Day

 

When most people hear the word “diabetes,” they typically think about things like carbs and sugar. But salt plays a role in diabetes health, too. Dialing back on salt can help lower your blood pressure, and in turn, your risk for heart attack or stroke, two diseases commonly associated with diabetes. Most frozen dinners are teeming with sodium to act as a flavor-enhancer and preservative, it’s best to keep consumption of the heat-and-serve food to a minimum.

There’s really no need to feel guilty about eating frozen dinners as long as you’re making better choices. Frozen meals really do have quite a lot to offer. Here’s the rundown:

Convenience – Only minutes from the microwave to table with easy clean-up.

Portion – The meal is portioned-out for you. No guesswork out of how much to put on your plate or in your bowl.

Nutrition – TV dinners could be a great source of vitamins and minerals: The freezing process results in most of the nutrients in these foods being retained, unlike prepared or packaged meals that may have been sitting out for hours…or weeks.

Budget-friendly – A frozen dinner is less expensive than eating out or ordering takeout.

Decide By the Numbers

Helpful Guidelines for choosing a healthy frozen meal:

  1. Aim for those that keep calories in the 250-300 range
  2. Choose meals with less than 4 grams of saturated fat.
  3. Choose meals with less than 800 milligrams of sodium.
  4. Select meals with at least 3-5 grams of fiber.

 

Best picks

Some brands of frozen dinners are obviously a better bet than others. To save time when you’re shopping, consider the following brands:

  • Healthy Choice
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Smart Ones
  • Kashi
  • Amy’s

Always check the Nutrition Facts label because dinners vary in calories and nutrients, even within a brand.

Calories
Total Fat (g)
Sat. Fat (g)
Sodium (mg)
Fiber (g)
Amy’s Asian Noodle Stir Fry
300
4.5
0.5
680
4
Lemongrass & Basil Chicken
380
9
5
310
5
Michelina’s Budget Gourmet Shrimp w/ Pasta & Vegetables
230
5
2.5
35
2
Lean Cuisine Mushroom & Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
150
3
1
680
4
Lean Cuisine Herb Roasted Chicken
160
3
1
520
3
Healthy Choice Classic Meat Loaf
300
8
3
600
4
Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan
280
5
3
580
5
Healthy Choice Lemon Pepper Fish
240
3.5
1
800
3
Smart Ones Rigatoni with Broccoli and Chicken
260
4
3
680
6
Milton’s Cauliflower Crust Roasted Vegetable Pizza
280
8
5
570
2
Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Beef Merlot
180
4
1.5
600
4
Michelina’s Lean Gourmet Chicken Alfredo Florentine
250
7
3
650
2

 

Write it Down! Keep a Journal

American Journal of Preventive Medicine study of nearly 1,700 participants shows that keeping a food journal can double a person’s weight loss. The study found that the best predictors of weight loss were how frequently food diaries were kept and how many support sessions the participants attended. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. Read: Food Journal is a Diet Tool