VegetablesLook for: Plain, 100 percent vegetables (they should be the only things on the ingredient list). There’s no nutritional difference among the boxed, bagged, or steam-in-bag plain varieties, so go with whatever you like. Make sure the vegetables haven’t frozen into a lump―a sign that they have been thawed and refrozen.
Avoid: Anything mixed with cheese, topped with sauce (such as garlic), or accompanied by pasta or rice. A cup of plain frozen broccoli, for example, has 30 calories, no fat, and 20 milligrams of sodium. Package that same vegetable in a cheese sauce and the calories more than double and the sodium soars to about 600 milligrams.
Look for: Again, pure and simple fruit is the best option. The bags will stay good for about two months after they’ve been opened. Look for re-sealable bags to help prevent ice crystals, which can signal the fruit has become dehydrated and possibly lost some of its flavor or nutrients.
Avoid: Fruits packaged with sugar. Frozen strawberries in syrup, for instance, can contain up to 11 times as much sugar (about 17 teaspoons) as natural, unsweetened ones.
We buy so much fruit for smoothies, I never unthaw the fruit for anything.
Look for: The word healthy on the box. It’s a reliable indicator of good nutrition. Select entrées with no more than 3.5 grams of fat per 100 calories, no more than 600 milligrams total sodium, and no MSG or trans fats. For bonus points, choose meals with at least four grams of fiber and about 15 grams of protein. Brands that consistently offer healthy options include Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Kashi, and the Whole Foods house line.
Avoid: Dishes that pack half a day’s worth of calories into one tray. Some can be 700 calories per serving. Monitor fat, too: Some meat lasagnas, say, can contain as much as 19 grams per serving (about 35 percent of your daily needs). While a vegetarian entrée may seem as if it’s automatically healthy, that’s not always the case. Some meatless dishes can contain excessive amounts of cheese, which is high in saturated fat and sodium.
Look for: Desserts that have about 200 calories or, if you’re weight-conscious, 150 calories or less, says Drayer. One good choice is fruit sorbet, such as those from Ciao Bella. If you’re craving ice cream, try a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bar, which has only 100 calories.
Avoid: Treats packed with a cheeseburger’s worth of fat and calories and those that may tempt you to eat an oversize serving (those tubs of ice cream again). Also pass up products with high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
Just like many of you we are so busy frozen items have to fit into our lives. It is possible to make them healthy and in some cases even better for you than fresh.
Looking for more frozen item coupons?
Steam Fresh lightly sauced click HERE ( I know didn't we just learn it isn't good to have sauce on it!)
Smart Ones products HERE
Weight Watchers pizza HERE