The Best Frozen Meals that are Satisfying and Nutritious

Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano are well-rounded and easy to prepare

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Frozen meals offer a convenient way to nourish yourself when you have had a tiring day or are tight on time. While you may have heard that fresh foods are healthier than frozen, that is not necessarily true. We assure you that there are plenty of nutritious frozen foods to choose from, so you can save time with your health in mind.

Review & Approved

Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano are our top pick because they are nutritionally well-rounded and super convenient to prepare. If you are looking for a low-sodium option, which can be tricky to find in a frozen meal, we love 365 Organic Ricotta Spinach Ravioli.

“Frozen foods provide a way to reduce food waste, try new ingredients, add nutrition, and save time,” says Dalina Soto, MA, RD, LDN. “Frozen meals can be a time saver for people with busy schedules that cannot always cook from scratch. Frozen veggies can be added to literally any dish for a pop of nutrition.”

When looking for nutritious frozen meals, it’s worth being mindful of the content of saturated fat, sodium, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. It’s also important to ensure they contain adequate calories to serve as a full meal. The specifics of what you choose will depend on your taste preferences, nutritional needs, and familial needs. To help you find the best frozen meals, our registered dietitian compared numerous options considering their cost, nutritional content, accessibility, taste, and convenience. 

Here, we share the best frozen meals on the market.

Best Overall: Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano

Chicken Enchiladas

Instacart

Pros
  • Easy-to-prepare single-serving package

  • 4 grams of fiber

  • Balanced macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates)

  • Certified gluten-free and halal

Cons
  • 660 milligrams of sodium per serving

We picked the Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano as the best overall frozen meal because they are well-rounded and convenient. One package contains 56 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fat. We love that it contains a number of different food groups—including poultry, dairy, and vegetables—which helps provide a variety of nutrients. This variety promotes lasting energy levels and greater satisfaction, and helps fuel a variety of bodily functions. 

The corn tortillas, spinach, and beans add 4 grams of fiber, which helps you stay full and promotes blood sugar management and digestive health. This meal also contains 15% of your daily calcium, potassium, and iron. It is gluten-free and, therefore, also an option for those with celiac disease or wheat allergies. 

These enchiladas contain 4 grams of saturated fat and 660 milligrams of sodium, which is reasonable for a frozen meal but may be something to take into consideration if you are watching your saturated fat or salt intake. They only contain 420 calories, which is a bit lower than the bare minimum of 500 calories we’d recommend having for a meal. Try adding another component, such as an appetizer of corn tortilla chips and tomato salsa, while you wait for the meal to heat up in the microwave.

Serving Size: 1 container (283 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 56 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 4 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 660 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 18 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 4 grams

Best Budget: Market Pantry Square Cheese Frozen Ravioli

Cheese ravioli

Instacart

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Lower sodium in one serving

  • Balanced macronutrients

  • Enough for multiple meals 

Cons
  • Low fiber

Ravioli is an easy, delicious, quick dinner option, and Market Pantry’s cheese ravioli do not disappoint. A 25-ounce bag contains enough to serve as a meal for about three people and for a very reasonable price. These ravioli are a good source of calcium and iron, especially when you consider that one serving is not nearly enough for a meal, and a more reasonable portion size would be around three servings per person. Additionally, one serving contains only 160 milligrams of sodium and no added sugars. 

There is a lot that can be done with these ravioli. To help keep you full for longer, we recommend adding veggies, protein, and sauce. If you're tight on time, try adding frozen veggies, which can be easily cooked in marinara sauce while you wait for the water to boil for the ravioli. Alternatively, you can try serving these ravioli with a side salad like this Mediterranean chopped salad and garlic bread.

Serving Size: 5 pieces (81 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 25 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 1 gram | Sodium Per Serving: 160 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 7 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 2.5 grams

Best Pizza: Amy's Frozen Margherita Pizza

Amy's Pizza

Instacart

Pros
  • Good source of calcium and unsaturated fats

  • Balanced macronutrients

  • Some certified organic ingredients

Cons
  • 540 milligrams of sodium per serving

Frozen pizzas are a quick and tasty dinner option to keep on hand. But it can be tough to find frozen pizzas that meet nutrient needs. We chose Amy’s Margherita pizza because it is a classic Margherita pizza, and it’s higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat and sodium than many alternatives. 

Amy's Margherita is a thin-crust pizza made with organic tomatoes and basil. It is a good source of calcium and only has 2 grams of added sugars. Finding options lower in added sugars without sacrificing flavor and enjoyment may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. To add more nutritional value and round out calorie needs for a meal, we recommend splitting it with a friend or family member and serving it with a side salad.

Serving Size: ⅓ pizza (123 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 31 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 2 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 540 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 10 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 4 grams

Best for Kids: Smucker's Uncrustables Frozen Whole Wheat Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly Sandwiches

Uncrustables

Walmart

Pros
  • Reduced sugar compared to classic

  • Higher fiber

  • Balanced macronutrients

  • Great for on-the-go


Cons
  •  5 grams of added sugar

Peanut butter and jelly is a classic, and these whole wheat Smucker’s Uncrustables are a more nutritionally dense option than their traditional counterparts. Not only is the first ingredient whole wheat flour, but these sandwiches contain no high fructose corn syrup, 3 grams of fiber per sandwich, and 35% less sugar than a regular Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Whole wheat Uncrustables are easy to eat on the go (and a great option for both kids and adults). They are rich in unsaturated (heart-healthy) fats and contain 7 grams of protein per sandwich. To make this dense enough to be a meal, we recommend adding sides such as fruit, veggies, crackers, yogurt, or milk. Since a peanut butter and jelly sandwich may be something you prefer to make yourself, we also have some tips on how to make your own healthier peanut butter and jelly.

Serving Size: 1 sandwich (58 grams) | Carbohydrates per serving: 23 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 3 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 190 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 6 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 2 grams

Best Vegan: Amy's Bean & Rice Burrito, Non-Dairy

Burrito

Amazon

Pros
  • High fiber

  • Low saturated fat

  • Good source of iron

  • Appropriate for a variety of dietary restrictions

Cons
  • Not enough to serve as a meal on its own

Not only are Amy’s Bean & Rice Burritos vegan, but they are also non-GMO, certified kosher, soy-free, tree nut-free, and corn-free, making them a great option for various dietary needs. They are made with simple ingredients, including pinto beans, whole wheat flour, brown rice, and vegetables. These ingredients also make them high in fiber—each burrito contains an impressive 8 grams.

These bean and rice burritos contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 15% of your daily value of iron, primarily provided by the pinto beans. They are also certified organic, contain no added sugar, and are a good source of unsaturated fats. As a bonus, they take just two minutes to heat up in the microwave! 

Since one burrito does not contain enough calories to serve as a meal, you can consider having two or adding sides such as avocado or chips and salsa or topping with vegan (or dairy) cheese.

Serving Size: 1 package (170 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 48 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 6 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 600 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 10 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 1 gram

Best On-the-Go: 365 Frozen Bean & Cheese Burrito

bean burrito

Amazon

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Good source of calcium and iron

  • Balanced macronutrients

Cons
  • Higher in sodium

What says on-the-go more than a burrito? We had to include another burrito on the list because they’re affordable, delicious, nutritious, and convenient. These 365 by Whole Foods Market bean and cheese burritos are made of simple, delicious ingredients: a tortilla, pinto beans, Colorado sauce (a red tomato-based chili sauce), and reduced-fat cheese.

They are suitable for vegetarian diets and are not as high in saturated fat and sodium as many frozen alternatives. They are also a good source of unsaturated fats (through soybean and sunflower oil) and fiber (through pinto beans). This burrito is not quite enough to function as a meal, so we recommend having two or topping with a generous helping of salsa and Greek yogurt or a dollop of sour cream and serving alongside rice.

Serving Size: 1 burrito (170 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 45 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 4 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 570 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 12 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 2.5 grams

Best Breakfast: Kodiak Frozen Power Waffles Buttermilk & Vanilla

Waffles

Walmart

Pros
  • Made with 100% whole wheat flour

  • Low saturated fat

  • Balanced macronutrients 

Cons
  • Not enough to serve as a meal on its own

Kodiak’s power waffles are a great, protein-packed alternative to regular frozen waffles with the same convenience. They come in various flavors, including buttermilk & vanilla, blueberry, and chocolate chip, with minimal nutritional differences between flavors. They contain 12 grams of whey protein per two-waffle serving. 

Kodiak’s waffles are made with 100% whole grain wheat and oat flour, making them much higher in fiber than regular frozen waffles. This means they can keep you satisfied and energized longer through the morning until it’s time for your morning snack or lunch. Plus, whole grains are a good source of B vitamins and certain minerals, such as folate, selenium, and magnesium. 

Given that two waffles contain only 240 calories, we recommend topping them with peanut butter and sliced banana or Greek yogurt, fruit, and maple syrup and serving them with a glass of milk for a complete, calorically adequate breakfast.

Serving Size: 2 waffles (76 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 24 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 3 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 360 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 12 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 1 gram

Best Low-Sodium: 365 Frozen Organic Ricotta Spinach Ravioli

365 Ravioli

Amazon

Pros
  • Low sodium

  • Certified organic

  • No added sugar

Cons
  • No fiber

These 365 Organic Ricotta Spinach Ravioli are perfect for someone in need of a low-sodium frozen meal option. These ravioli are rich in protein and carbohydrates, and two servings provide adequate calories and nearly enough fat to serve as a meal. Tossing them in olive oil could help round out the meal with a good source of unsaturated fat. There is also always the option to add more flavoring as needed, which can include seasonings like garlic, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt. 

The biggest downside to these ravioli is their lack of fiber, but you can easily fix that by adding some frozen veggies. Compared to fresh vegetables, frozen veggies last longer and require little-to-no preparation time.

Frozen vegetables may also offer more available nutrients for your body to use compared to some fresh produce. Soto explains that frozen veggies are frozen right after they’re harvested, and the freezing preserves most of their nutritional value. Fresh produce, on the other hand, spends days or weeks in transit from the farm to the store and then, once purchased, in your refrigerator. Because of this,

Serving Size: 1 cup (125 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 42 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 0 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 125 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 2.5 grams

Best Burger: Applegate Frozen Organic Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger

Amazon

Pros
  • Only ingredients are organic turkey and organic rosemary extract

  • Lower saturated fat

  • Low sodium

Cons
  • High cholesterol

  • Not enough to serve as a meal on its own

Applegate’s Organic Turkey Burgers are a great alternative to a traditional beef burger. Turkey is a leaner meat than beef, so it is lower in saturated fat, making it a more heart-healthy option. These turkey burgers are simple—the only ingredients are organic turkey and organic rosemary extract. 

They are also low in sodium, with only 105 milligrams per burger. They can easily be prepared on a grill or skillet and served on a bun with salad, corn, potatoes, or other sides to round out the meal.

Serving Size: 1 frozen burger (113 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 0 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 0 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 105 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 20 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 1.5 grams

Best Gluten-Free: Tres Latin Foods Black Bean & Sweet Corn Pupusas

Black bean corn

Whole Foods

Pros
  • Higher fiber

  • Lower saturated fat

  • Convenient

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Not enough to serve as a meal on its own

Pupusas are a common food in Central America, specifically in El Salvador. They are essentially thick corn tortillas stuffed with different ingredients—in this case, black beans and sweet corn. Tres Latin Foods makes these in a variety of other flavors that are all gluten-free. 

These black bean and sweet corn pupusas are also vegan. You can eat one as a snack, or you can make them a meal by eating a few and pairing them with sides. They are low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Pupusas are commonly served with a cabbage and vinegar slaw called curtido, so if it's accessible, curtido would make a great addition to these pupusas. 

Serving Size: 1 pupusa (71 grams) | Carbohydrates Per Serving: 22 grams | Fiber Per Serving: 4 grams | Sodium Per Serving: 170 milligrams | Protein Per Serving: 4 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 0.5 grams

How We Selected

In selecting meals for this article, we researched numerous frozen meals from a variety of popular retailers. We considered price, servings per package, accessibility, taste, and convenience. We want to ensure that the meals suggested can be purchased online or in-store at popular retailers and that they are affordable and appealing to a variety of consumers. 

Nutritionally, we primarily considered macronutrient content, micronutrient content, and caloric content. We wanted to ensure the meals contain a combination of unsaturated fat, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. We also wanted to ensure the recommendations contain adequate calories for a meal while considering whether other components could easily be paired with the frozen dish to make a complete meal.

What to Look For in a Frozen Meal

Calories

Frozen meals usually don't contain enough calories to make a complete, satisfying meal. "People often think the healthiest thing to do is to drastically cut calories, but this is not the case. Eating enough for your body is important to provide you with enough energy so that you don't feel overly hungry later on. Most adults need at least 500 calories per meal, plus a few snacks throughout the day, and many people need more than that," says Autumn Rauchwerk, MS, RDN, RYT.

"Restricting calories is not sustainable long-term and may lead to low energy, difficulty concentrating, challenges with mood, disordered eating, binge eating, and weight cycling. Pay attention to your body's feelings of hunger and fullness to help you decide how much to eat. If the serving size is small, and the package contains more than one serving, you don't have to just stick with one serving. You can also toss in additional vegetables, grains, or protein to ensure you're getting enough food," says Rauchwerk.

Note that calorie needs vary between individuals based on many factors, including activity level and age.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

If possible, choose a meal that includes a grain to give your body enough carbohydrates. Most frozen meals contain less than the recommended amount of carbohydrates per meal, which is at least 45 to 60 grams. If this is the case, you might want to add a side of toast or grains (like rice, quinoa, couscous, or farro) or follow the meal with a piece of fruit.

Try to choose a meal with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. This helps ensure the meal will be filling, satisfying, and promote healthy digestion.

Protein

Choosing a meal with a significant source of protein, like meat, fish, beans, or tofu, will help ensure you are getting enough to support your body and feel satisfied. It might be a good idea to shoot for 20 or even 30 grams of protein per meal, so you might want to add some beans or a scrambled egg to a meal containing less protein or enjoy some Greek yogurt and honey for dessert.

Sodium

Sodium is used in frozen foods to preserve and enhance flavor. It may be best to choose a meal with under 750 milligrams of sodium (less than 1/3 of the recommended daily value of 2300 milligrams). If you find you don't care for products with low sodium, you may simply have higher salt needs, and adding a dash of salt can go a long way. If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, you may want to look for even lower sodium options. You can also look for monosodium glutamate (MSG) or monosodium in the ingredients, as this helps add flavor and cut down on overall salt intake.

Fat

Nutritionally dense frozen meal options contain more unsaturated fat than saturated fat. In general, we recommend picks that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of frozen meals?

    If you lack cooking skills or kitchen space, you may find frozen meals the most convenient way to prepare and enjoy a complete meal. Frozen meals also save you time and energy and make the perfect dinner after a long day of work.

    Manufacturers prepare and freeze these meals right away, so they retain most of their nutritional value, taste, and texture.

  • Are frozen meals nutritious?

    Frozen meals can be nutritious. However, when looking for nutritious frozen meals, it can be helpful to check the food label. Choose frozen meals that provide no more than 20 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium.

    Also, look for balanced frozen meals that contain a mix of nutrient-rich foods, like lean sources of protein, whole grains, and vegetables, and have more than 3 grams of fiber.

  • How long can you keep a frozen meal in the freezer?

    You can keep frozen meals in the freezer for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Do not store your frozen meal in the refrigerator. Keep your meal frozen in the freezer until you’re ready to eat, then prepare your meal as directed on the label.

  • Is it cheaper to buy fresh or frozen food?

    Generally speaking, it is often cheaper to buy frozen food. Specifically, with fruits and vegetables, frozen options are often more affordable than their fresh counterparts. Another part of the cost consideration is that frozen meals last far longer than fresh food, so there is a lower likelihood of the food going to waste.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Isabel Vasquez RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian with her Bachelor’s of Science in nutrition from La Salle University. Her clinical experience includes providing outpatient nutrition counseling to adults with a variety of chronic health conditions, along with providing family-based treatment for eating disorders in children and adolescents. She is especially focused on helping individuals divest from a one-size-fits-all approach to health and connect with their unique needs. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets.

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