Frozen foods bear almost no resemblance to the TV dinners I ate as a kid in the ‘80s. And that's a good thing. Our choices back then were pretty grim: usually some sort of highly-processed meat slathered in gravy, corn niblets, mashed potatoes and an apple dessert. But today, freezer sections are stocked with a huge selection of remarkably fresh-tasting cuisine that's low in calories and sodium and high in important stuff like protein.
As a working mom who makes it to the supermarket once a week, I love the convenience of frozen food. Rather than ordering greasy takeout, I just thaw four salmon filets and toss them in my air fryer. Add some steam bag veggies and you've got a meal! But what I love most about frozen food is the built-in portion control. I had bariatric surgery two years ago, and I'm determined to maintain my 103-pound weight loss. One thing that works is having nutritious heat-and-eat meals at the ready so I'm not scrounging around in the kitchen for chips. (That's part of the reason I once weighed 240 pounds!)
In honor of frozen food month, here are my top picks from the freezer case:
Veggies Made Great Superfood Veggie Cakes
Pop these 80 calorie cakes in a microwave for 45 seconds, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a nutrient-rich breakfast packed with veggies, including kale, carrots and cauliflower.
Cali’flour Foods Artisan Margherita Pizza
This is easily my favorite cauliflower crust pizza. Each gluten-free pie is topped with stretchy mozzarella, sweet basil leaves and just the right amount of sauce. It’s also keto-friendly with only 6 net carbs for three slices.
Related: 13 Trader Joe’s foods that help maintain my 100-pound weight loss
Primal Kitchen Chicken Panang Curry
Primal Kitchen nailed it with this spicy (but not too spicy) comfort food served on a riced cauliflower base. It's made with ingredients including cage-free chicken and organic coconut cream and offers 16 grams of filling protein.
Splendid Spoon is a plant-based meal delivery service that I recommend to absolutely everyone. (It’s actually the only meal delivery service that I recommend!) There are more than 50 smoothie, soup, grain bowl and noodle dishes to choose from — and all are under 400 calories! If you’re afraid to commit, the company offers an on-demand box that doesn’t require a subscription.
Tattooed Chef Veggie Hemp Bowl
A hearty and complete meal consisting of sweet potatoes, kale, chili-coated chickpeas and hemp seeds over riced cauliflower and red quinoa. It comes with a creamy turmeric almond butter dressing that’s good enough to drink. I add hard boiled eggs or salmon for extra protein.
Real Good Foods Chicken Enchiladas
These mouthwatering enchiladas — they’re rolled in a chicken and cheese tortilla — have 2 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein per serving. You can air fry them right in the bowl — just remove the plastic film first!
ButcherBox: Meat Delivery Subscription
A dietitian friend turned me on to this meat delivery service that specializes in grass-fed, grass-finished beef, crate-free raised pork, free-range organic chicken, and wild-caught seafood. The Classic package — the one I order for my family of four — runs $129 and includes 8-11 pounds of food, or roughly 24 meals. All meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free, and humanely pasture-raised. Shipping is always free.
VitaTops Deep Chocolate
When I’m hankering for a sweet breakfast, I reach for these fluffy cakes of chocolate deliciousness. Each muffin top has 100 calories and 10 grams of fiber (40% of the recommended daily value!). Pair it with a string cheese or a boiled egg for a balanced meal.
Trader Joe’s Mahi Mahi Burgers
I bought these in hopes that my kids would eat fish if it was in burger form. Spoiler alert: they won’t. But my husband and I love these patties that contain 110 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates. They are light and flavorful and don’t smell or taste fishy at all. And they’re also a deal at at $7 for a four-pack.
Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burger
You’ll find 10 types of vegetables and 10 grams of protein in this gluten- and soy free patty. Try crumbling one over a salad!
Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Sockeye salmon is chock-full of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Costco’s filets are individually packed, which makes it easy to thaw just what you need. A 3-pound bag will set you back $46.