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21 Frozen Dinners That Actually Aren't Terrible For You

Consider this your freezer aisle cheat sheet.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

If you've been non-stop cooking since quarantine started, it makes sense you'd want a break already (if not from meal prep, then from DISHES.)

And if you're looking to stock up on some frozen meals to help get you through the week, you'll find a ton of starter ideas below. All of these meals:

• Keep the focus on most (or all) whole foods. The fewer ingredients listed —especially ones you can't pronounce — the better.

• Opt for little-to-no added sugar, and less than 800 mg of sodium.

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And while we know nothing beats fresh, from-scratch meals — made with whole foods and quality ingredients — it's also true that's not always an option.

For those times? There *are* ways to eat well, even if you're in the frozen aisle. No meal is perfect or has everything for everyone, but here are 21 ready-made frozen meals that have some nutrients on top of being incredibly convenient.

1. Trader Joe's Chicken Burrito Bowl

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 370

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 4.5 g)

Sodium: 630 mg

Carbohydrates: 51 g

Fiber: 9 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 22 g

Worth noting: If you like this and want to try a from-scratch version in the future, you can make a one-pot Mexican quinoa and add in a protein source!

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2. Beetnik Organic Thai Beef With Coconut Rice

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 250

Total Fat: 8 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 350 mg

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 12 g

Protein: 11 g

Worth noting: This is a solid option because it has a higher number of whole ingredients — plus comparatively less sodium than similar dishes in the category.

3. Amy's Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 37 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 7 g

Protein: 11 g

Worth noting: Plant-based meatballs, veggies, and a dairy-free sauce make this dish more balanced — without skimping on protein.

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4. Trader Joe's Kale Gnocchi

BuzzFeed

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 3 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 480 mg

Carbohydrates: 32 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 0 g

Protein: 7 g

Worth noting: These don’t come with a sauce, so make sure you use one that’s not loaded with sugar or sodium. (We like it with sautéed cherry tomatoes or some olive oil or butter and Parmesan.)

5. Trader Joe's Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 230 mg

Carbohydrates: 26 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: Less than 1 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: These are only $3.99, which makes them a great budget-friendly meal. For more healthy fats, serve with a side of avocado or guacamole, or boost protein by adding a scoop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

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6. Amy's Harvest Casserole Bowl

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 360

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 640 mg

Carbohydrates: 51 g

Fiber: 8 g

Sugar: 11 g

Protein: 17 g

Worth noting: This vegan, veggie-heavy bowl packs a ton of fiber and protein.

7. Trader Joe's Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers with Mango Chutney

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 170

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 670 mg

Carbohydrates: 12 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sugar: 8 g

Protein: 19 g

Worth noting: Since the sauce is higher in sugar and sodium, you can also just not use all of it, or use some as dressing for a side salad.

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8. Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai With Rice Noodles

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 420

Total Fat: 13 g (Sat: 2.5 g)

Sodium: 600 mg

Carbohydrates: 64 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 18 g

Protein: 15 g

Worth noting: While a bit higher in sodium and sugar, this vegan dish makes up for it with more protein.

9. Trader Joe's Jackfruit Cakes

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 150

Total Fat: 6 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 470 mg

Carbohydrates: 21 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: 1 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: Although these cakes are vegan-friendly, they’re also lower in protein — so you might want to pair with a high-protein side, or make a Greek yogurt-based dip.

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10. EVOL Fire-Grilled Steak Bowl

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 400

Total Fat: 22 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 40 g

Fiber: 7 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 18 g

Worth noting: This is a protein-packed meal that manages to bring a lot of flavor without a ton of sugar.

11. Trader Joe's Vegetable Fried Rice

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 210

Total Fat: 1.5 g (Sat: 0 g)

Sodium: 570 mg

Carbohydrates: 42 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 4 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: This is lower in protein, but can go well with an added protein source — such as meat, seafood, tofu, etc.

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12. Amy's Tofu Scramble

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 420

Total Fat: 27 g (Sat: 4 g)

Sodium: 790 mg

Carbohydrates: 24 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 4 g

Protein: 20 g

Worth noting: This is one of the higher sodium options on this list. But depending on your age and risk factors, the recommended daily sodium intake is between 1,500 - 2,300 mg — so you're not completely out of luck. (And: This one has a decent amount of protein, fiber, and potassium to make up for it.)

13. Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 140

Total Fat: 3 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 460 mg

Carbohydrates: 22 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: Less than 1 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: It doesn’t come with sauce, so this meal can be less healthy if you opt for a jarred one with lots of sugar and sodium. Keep it balanced with a veggie-based pesto — like this one.

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14. Saffron Road Palak Paneer with Basmati Rice

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 400

Total Fat: 21 g (Sat: 11 g)

Sodium: 690 mg

Carbohydrates: 39 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 17 g

Worth noting: While higher in fat, this dish also has less sugar and more protein.

15. Trader Joe's Sriracha Shrimp Bowl

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 320

Total Fat: 8 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 640 mg

Carbohydrates: 47 g

Fiber: Less than 1 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 15 g

Worth noting: While lower in calories, this one’s higher in fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar, mostly due to the sauce. However, it’s still a great source of protein and has a good number of veggies.

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16. Frontera Al Pastor Taco Bowl

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 300

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 3.5 g)

Sodium: 650 mg

Carbohydrates: 35 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: 10 g

Protein: 16 g

Worth noting: For a slightly lower-fat option, you can also try Frontera's veggie taco bowl.

17. Amy's Light & Lean Quinoa & Black Beans Bowl With Butternut Squash

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 440 mg

Carbohydrates: 38 g

Fiber: 11 g

Sugar: 6 g

Protein: 10 g

Worth noting: This comes with 44% of your daily recommended fiber and protein intake.

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18. Trader Joe's Organic Green Vegetable Foursome

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 30

Total Fat: 1.5 g (Sat: 0.5 g)

Sodium: 90 mg

Carbohydrates: 3 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 0 g

Protein: 1 g

Worth noting: These already have a little seasoning (leek, onion, and garlic powder) and don’t need much to be a full meal. You can easily pair this with your protein of choice or throw into a whole-grain pasta.

19. Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 50

Total Fat: 2 g (Sat: 0 g)

Sodium: 190 mg

Carbohydrates: 7 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 2 g

Worth noting: If this doesn't fill you up on its own, add a protein source — like grilled chicken, turkey sausage, sautéed tofu, or crumbled soyrizo.

20. Amy's Brown Rice, Black-eyed Peas & Veggies Bowl

Whole Foods / Via products.wholefoodsmarket.com

Calories: 290

Total Fat: 10 g (Sat: 1.5 g)

Sodium: 590 mg

Carbohydrates: 40 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 9 g

Worth noting: This lighter, low-sugar meal gets its flavor from ingredients like ginger puree and cilantro.

21. Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Bowl

Trader Joe's / Via traderjoes.com

Calories: 120

Total Fat: 7 g (Sat: 1 g)

Sodium: 160 mg

Carbohydrates: 11 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 2 g

Protein: 5 g

Worth noting: To make it feel more like a complete meal, wrap it in a tortilla or whole wheat wrap with some veggies like pictured above.

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Let's quarantine cook!

We've curated a bunch of recipes & tips to make cooking easier for you during this time!

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