17 Frozen Dinners That Aren't Terrible For You

    Not all frozen dinners are created equal.

    The frozen food aisle tends to get a bad rep.

    But we all end up there at some point — whether it's because we're short on time, money, kitchen motivation, and/or sheer life options.*

    But you know what? There's no shame in the freezer game.

    Or there shouldn't be, anyway. Because while it's true that nothing beats fresh, from-scratch meals — made with whole foods and quality ingredients — it's also true that that's not always an option. For those times, there ARE ways to eat well, even if you're in the frozen aisle.

    Frozen meals can be fine in moderation, as long as you know what to look for.

    And if you down the pre-made stuff frequently, it's worth thinking about choosing options that are better for you: ones with more protein and fiber — and fewer excess calories, sodium, and ingredients you can't pronounce.

    Our picks below were based on these guidelines:

    • No more than 500 calories.

    • At least 10 grams of protein. Fiber = also good.

    • The fewer ingredients listed, the better — with an emphasis on whole foods.

    • Little-to-no added sugar, and less than 800 mg of sodium.

    *Also: There's no such thing as a perfect meal. What you're looking for most — maybe it's fewer carbs, maybe it's a meatless version — will differ from person to person. Below, we've listed a range of options.

    1. Chicken & Spinach Alfredo from Healthy Choice

    2. Chickpeas & Spinach (Chana Saag) with Cumin Rice from Saffron Road

    3. Chicken Penne Pomodoro from Evol

    4. Santa Fe Enchilada Bowl from Amy's

    5. Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza from Kashi

    Calories: 290

    Fat: 9 g (Saturated: 4 g)

    Sodium: 640 mg

    Carbohydrates: 37 g

    Sugar: 3 g

    Fiber: 5 g

    Protein: 15 g

    Worth noting: The thing to watch here is portion size — which in this case is about 2 slices. Craving a meat version? Kashi's BBQ Chicken Pizza has more protein (22.5 g) and fiber (7.5 g), but also more sodium (885 mg).

    6. Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast from SmartOnes

    7. Italian Sausage Pasta Bake from Healthy Choice

    8. Brown Rice & Vegetable Bowl from Amy's

    9. Braised Chicken, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Burrito from Red's

    Calories: 280

    Total Fat: 8 g (Saturated: 2 g)

    Sodium: 660 mg

    Carbohydrates: 34 g

    Sugars: 1 g

    Fiber: 7 g

    Protein: 12 g

    Worth noting: An easy way to amp the protein, fiber, and healthy fat? Serve this with fresh avocado and a side of black beans. Or add a quick homemade salsa fresca — chopped tomato, jalapeño, and lime — for vitamin C.

    10. Pepperoni Pizza from SmartOnes

    11. Thai Basil Chili Tofu with Basmati Rice from Saffron Road

    12. Wild Salmon with Pesto, Vegetables, and Brown Rice from Artisan Bistro

    13. Mexican Casserole Bowl from Amy's

    14. Pesto Pasta Primavera from Kashi

    Calories: 290

    Fat: 11 g (Sat: 2 g)

    Sodium: 750 g

    Carbohydrates: 37 g

    Sugar: 4 g

    Fiber: 7 g

    Protein: 11 g

    15. Fire Grilled Steak Bowl from Evol

    16. Savory Turkey with Vegetables and Brown Rice from Artisan Bistro

    17. Chicken Tandoori with Spinach from Tandoor Chef