Frozen Foods: Convenient and Nutritious

By Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND
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Bagels and bread dough, waffles and cookies, fruit and fruit juice, pizza and burritos, vegetables and full dinners, fish and poultry, ice cream and frozen yogurt—the freezer case is stocked with every kind of convenience food. Many of these foods are pre-portioned, or partly or fully cooked, so you can serve these foods with little time or effort.

Frozen Vegetables and Fruits

Stock up for quick, easy microwave cooking!

  • To control fat and calories, choose frozen plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces. Some sauces mixed with frozen vegetables add fat, saturated fat and calories; check the Nutrition Facts on the label.
  • Look for frozen fruits as an option when fresh fruits are out of season; they're sold in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. To help frozen fruit keep its shape, serve while it's still somewhat frozen. Frozen fruit bars make a nutritious snack, too; read the label to know if they're made with juice or just flavored water with sweeteners.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables in loose-pack plastic bags. You'll only need to pour out what you need; then immediately return what you don't use to the freezer.

Frozen Meals and Entrées

  • Use nutrition labeling to compare frozen prepared meals, bowl meals and entrées. Along with traditional foods, you'll find many products with fewer calories and with less fat, including saturated fat and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium—even pizza, lasagna, enchiladas and burritos. When you're comparing the nutrients in one frozen dinner with another, check the label serving size. For example, some may be 7-ounce dinners; others, 11 ounces.
  • Whether vegetables, fish or poultry, go easy on breaded and fried frozen foods. They supply more calories and fat. When you buy them, check the package directions for oven heating rather than deep-fat frying, to control calories and fat.

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