Frozen dinners are no longer things reserved for an evening spent in front of the television. After 71 years on the market, they’re now part of many American’s weekly routines. And if we’re being frank, it’s because we’re busier and lazier than ever. (Be honest with yourself: How many times have you bought something pre-made because you just simply didn’t feel like cooking?)
Yet while the freezer aisle has come a long way in improving the nutritional quality and taste of its offerings over the past few decades, it’s still laden with fat traps waiting to assault your weight loss progress and good health. The worst part: Bad-for-you frozen dinners can be tricky to spot. Many brands that advertise themselves as healthy choices often don’t provide enough calories or nutrients to be considered a wholesome meal—and then there are those dishes that are overflowing with salt, fat, calories, and chemicals, despite showing images of seemingly-innocent dishes on the packaging.
To make it easier for you to pick a healthy frozen dinner, we scoured the supermarket shelves for the tastiest, most nutritionally-sound options. All of our picks fall between 200 and 500 calories, less than 15 grams of sugar, and serves up a fair share of protein and fiber. Not to mention, they’re all made with quality ingredients and taste delicious, too. We’ve also called out some of the worst picks in the freezer aisle so you know which ones to avoid tossing into your grocery cart. Thanks to us, you won’t have to waste time reading food labels in the coldest part of the grocery store.
These frozen dinner brands are low in calories, sodium, and preservatives while being rich in protein and whole foods.
Per 1 pocket: 250 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 350 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19 g protein
Love the taste of Hot Pockets, but hate how high the sodium count is? Jafflz is a great alternative to that! You can get these “healthier” pockets in all different flavors including Sloppy Joe, Indian Curry, and Chicken Enchilada. Compared to a typical Hot Pocket, Jafflz has half the amount of sodium and double the amount of protein. Plus, no artificial preservatives! If you’re trying to keep your sodium count low, watch out for these 21 Foods With More Sodium Than A Pack of Ramen.
Per 1 entrée: 270 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 280 mg sodium, 48 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 9 g protein
Quinoa bowls are all the rage right now—and it’s easy to see why. They make it easy to mix and match healthy grains, produce, and proteins with a wide variety of flavors and spices. Plus, everything just looks more appetizing (read: Instagram-worthy) when it’s served in a bowl. We’re fans of this South American-inspired Kashi Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl because it relies on meat-free proteins (black beans and red quinoa) instead of chicken or beef to boost its staying power. And considering all of us eat far too many animal products, it’s always a win when there’s an easy way to sneak in a meat-free meal without sacrificing important nutrients.
Frontera Chicken&Chorizo Taco Bowl
Per 1 bowl: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 660 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 19 g protein
Craving a burrito bowl for dinner? Skip the line (and the calories) and snag the Frontera Chicken&Chorizo Taco Bowl instead. Only 290 calories a serving and 660 milligrams of sodium, this bowl is packed with fiber and protein, and it’s full of delicious flavor.
Caulipower Uncured Turkey Pepperoni Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Per 1/2 pizza: 380 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 940 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 15 g protein
Although cauliflower crusts do have some carbohydrate in it—typically brown rice flour or tapioca flour—it certainly is a lot lower than other pizzas you would find in the frozen food aisle. This Caulipower Uncured Turkey Pepperoni Cauliflower Crust Pizza is a great choice when you’re craving a slice of pepperoni but don’t want to totally overdo it on your calorie budget. You can enjoy 1/2 of the pizza (that’s right, half of it!) for just 380 calories, and a whopping 15 grams of protein. However, this pizza is slightly higher in sodium, so just make sure to keep your sodium count low for the rest of your meals throughout the day.
Primal Kitchen Beef&Mushroom Bowl
Per 1 bowl: 250 calories, 7 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 850 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 24 g protein
If you’re in the mood for a bowl of beef stew, but don’t feel like having to do all the laborious effort of making a stew yourself, Primal Kitchen has you covered. This Primal Kitchen Beef&Mushroom Bowl has 24 grams of protein and it’s only 250 calories. It’s paleo-friendly, doesn’t have any added sugars, and works for those who need to avoid gluten, grains, or soy. Enjoy it with a big side salad for a well-rounded meal! Or if you really want to make it yourself, here’s our Best-Ever Beef Stew in Red Wine Recipe.
Birds Eye Fiesta Chicken Bowl
Per 1 bowl: 210 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 660 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 17 g protein
Another easy low-carb frozen dinner option! This Birds Eye Fiesta Chicken Bowl is made with cauliflower rice and topped with chicken, black beans, corn, and poblano peppers. Only 210 calories in a bowl with 15 net carbs and 17 grams of protein.
Applegate Well Carved Organic Asian Style Pork Meatballs
Per 1 serving: 220 calories, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 470 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 10 g protein
These meatballs are packed with pork and vegetables, making it the perfect well-rounded meatball to easily cook up and add to a bowl of noodles—or zoodles! With these Applegate Well Carved Organic Asian Style Pork Meatballs, you get 1/4 cup of vegetables in every serving, and the ingredients are completely clean. They’re dairy-free, gluten-free, and casein-free, and won’t take you a ton of time to cook!
Bell&Evans Gourmet Chicken Burgers
Per 1 burger: 160 calories, 8 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 420 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 22 g protein
Craving burgers? You can easily throw one together with Bell&Evans Gourmet Chicken Burgers! Cook up this Bell&Evans Chicken Burger and to make it a full meal, throw it on a whole wheat bun with all of your favorite vegetable fixings. Or top it on a big salad!
Evol Butternut Squash&Sage Ravioli
Per 1 bowl: 310 calories, 7 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 650 mg sodium, 50 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 11 g protein
Made solely of ingredients you can pronounce, Evol Butternut Squash&Sage Ravioli is one of the cleanest and most wholesome pasta dishes in the freezer section. These vitamin A and protein-filled ravioli are stuffed with roasted butternut squash and ricotta cheese—topped with roasted tomatoes, kale, and a sage-garlic sauce. The result: a melt-in-your-mouth meal you’ll crave time and time again.
Alex’s Awesome Sourdough Mushroom Pizza
Per 1/2 pizza: 460 calories, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 890 mg sodium, 69 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 20 g protein
Alex’s Awesome Sourdough is the first company to put a frozen sourdough pizza crust on the market! While there are a few flavors to choose from—including a vegan Margherita—this Alex’s Awesome Sourdough Mushroom Pizza caught our eye. It’s great for your gut health, and provides you with 20 grams of protein and a whopping 11 grams of fiber for 1/2 a pizza!
Amy’s Vegan Mexican Casserole with Cheeze
Per 1 bowl: 360 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 780 mg sodium, 51 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 8 g protein
For all the vegans out there, Amy’s Vegan Mexican Casserole with Cheeze is a great option on the market right now. Mixed with a delicious homemade sauce and organic corn masa, this casserole is comfort in a bowl for only 360 calories.
Caulipower Spicy(ish) Chicken Tenders
Per serving: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 11 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 14 g protein
Skip the fried chicken wings and snag these frozen Caulipower Spicy(ish) Chicken Tenders instead! While a serving is only 110 calories, you could enjoy the whole bag for only 490 calories! Cook them in the oven and you can add them to sandwiches, slice them to sprinkle on a big salad, or simply enjoy on their own with a delicious homemade dipping sauce.
Gorton’s Natural Catch Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets
Per 1 fillet: 70 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 320 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 16 g protein
Buying (and cooking) fish doesn’t have to be so complicated, especially with Gorton’s line of grilled fillets. Gorton’s Natural Catch Lemon Pepper Grilled Fillets are a great option for a quick dinner at home. Cook them up and enjoy with a side of roasted vegetables or even use it to make a sandwich on a whole grain bun.
Deep Indian Kitchen Chicken Curry&Turmeric Rice
Per 1 bowl: 280 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 450 mg sodium, 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 19 g protein
Sweet and creamy coconut meets spicy in this frozen dinner that’s ready in minutes but tastes like it was served in a local restaurant. It’s rare to find a frozen dinner that’s both low in sugar and sodium while being high in protein, and yet the Deep Indian Kitchen Chicken Curry&Turmeric Rice doesn’t have to make any sacrifices for flavor.
Julian’s Egg White&Smoked Gouda Breakfast Sandwich
Per 1 sandwich: 240 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 440 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 13 g protein
Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please! This Julian’s Egg White&Smoked Gouda Breakfast Sandwich is gluten-free, grain-free, and made with cage-free eggs. The calories are low (only 240!) as well as sodium and carbs. Plus, you’re still getting 13 grams of protein in one sandwich!
Realgood Foods Creamy Carbonara
Per 1 bowl: 300 calories, 18 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 780 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19 g protein
Spiralized veggies in a frozen dinner? Yes, please! This Realgood Foods Creamy Carbonara slashes the carbs significantly when it’s served on a bed of spiralized veggies. Enjoy a creamy carbonara with just 300 calories and 19 grams of protein! Just keep in mind the saturated fat does increase a bit because of the cream sauce in this meal, so keep that in mind the rest of the day.
Healthy Choice Chicken Feta&Farro
Per 1 bowl: 310 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 600 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 23 g protein
Take advantage of the nutritional benefit of farro (i.e. lots of plant-based fiber!) by choosing the Healthy Choice Chicken Feta&Farro Power Bowl. This bowl also has chickpeas, vegetables, and a garlic oregano sauce, making this frozen dinner a tasty and satisfying weeknight meal option!
Performance Kitchen Creamy Cauliflower Mac&Cheese
Per 1 bowl: 350 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 400 mg sodium, 56 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 11 g protein
Need some mac and cheese? We get it, sometimes you just have those days, and Luvo’s Performance Kitchen Creamy Cauliflower Mac&Cheese is a great way to satisfy your mac and cheese craving. This bowl is made with cauliflower and brown rice macaroni, topped with a butternut squash sauce with Monterey jack cheddar. It has 11 grams of protein, only 400 milligrams of sodium, and rounds out to just 350 calories a bowl. Talk about healthy!
Evol Fire Grilled Steak
Per 1 bowl: 400 calories, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 520 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 20 g protein
Move over Chipotle, a new Mexican mouth fiesta has arrived—and it lives in your local grocery store! Made with antibiotic-free beef, fibrous black beans, rice, veggies, cheese, and a cilantro-lime pesto, this Evol Fire Grilled Steak bowl gives the Tex-Mex chain a real run for its money in terms of flavor and nutrition. Not only is a potent source of protein and fiber, but this Evol creation also provides 25 percent of the day’s iron, a vital nutrient that up to 20 percent of women don’t consume enough of.
Kashi Black Bean Mango Bowl
Per 1 bowl: 310 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 250 mg sodium, 55 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 9 g protein
This filling Kashi Black Bean Mango Bowl entree is built on a bed of Kashi’s Seven Whole Grains and Sesame pilaf, which is comprised of a nutritious mix of oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, triticale, barley, buckwheat (one of the best carbs that will uncover your abs), and sesame seeds. Black beans and roasted onions, peppers, and carrots round out the dish and amp up the protein and fiber content. And thanks to the use of mango, ginger, and a host of other seasonings, Kashi is able to keep the sodium down to a respectable 380 milligrams, which is less than what you’d find in 1/4 teaspoon salt—a rarity in frozen food land.
Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken with Almonds
Per 1 bowl: 290 calories, 5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 490 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 16 g protein
In response to declining sales, about a year ago, Nestle incorporated more “chef-inspired” dishes to the Lean Cuisine lineup. Their new Marketplace product line of frozen dinners include gluten- and preservative-free offerings, as well and many ethnic-inspired and protein-rich dishes. Honestly, some are nutritional hits and others aren’t; but we found the Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken with Almonds offering to be pretty well rounded. It has 16 percent of your day’s fiber and 25 percent of the day’s protein. Its main downfalls, however, are that it’s a bit light in the vitamins and calorie departments. To sneak in more nutrition, pair this meal with a spinach-based side salad or a cup of fresh fruit.
Saffron Road Lemongrass&Basil Chicken
Per 1 bowl: 310 calories, 8 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 540 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 16 g protein
This gluten-free Thai-inspired dish features basmati rice and tender chicken that’s been simmered in lemongrass- and basil-based green curry. To sneak in some extra vitamins, Saffron Road Lemongrass&Basil Chicken adds some green peppers and onions to the mix for a meal that tasters describe as “very flavorful” and having “just the right amount of heat with an excellent aroma.”
Amy’s Brown Rice&Vegetables
Per 1 bowl: 320 calories, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 590 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 10 g protein
This organic heat-and-eat Amy’s Brown Rice&Vegetables dish gets our vote because it’s filled with a plethora of veggies including, broccoli, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, and celery. Keep one of these frozen dinners on hand so you’re always prepared with a Meatless Monday dish if your week gets off to a hectic start.
Cedarlane Foods Eggplant Parmesan
Per serving: 280 calories, 13 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 590 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 13 g protein
Craving Italian? Skip the soggy zappable noodles (more on those later) and dig into this baked—not fried—Cedarlane Foods Eggplant Parmesan. Aside from the delicious, savory flavors, the addition of zucchini, peppers, onions, and cheese, join together to create a dish that serves up an impressive 35 percent of the day’s vitamin A (a nutrient that bolsters immunity and keeps your peepers healthy) and 45 percent of the day’s bone-building calcium.
Saffron Road Lamb Saag
Per 1 bowl: 340 calories, 13 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 690 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 18 g protein
Made with free-roaming lamb, this Indian-inspired Saffron Road Lamb Saag paneer platter fuses the flavors of spinach, ginger, paprika turmeric, and yogurt to create a protein-rich dish that tasters describe as “spectacular,” “spiced to perfection,” and “tender.”
Now that you know the best frozen dinners to grab, make sure to steer clear of The Unhealthiest Frozen Dinners—Ranked!.