There’s no denying how convenient frozen foods are, and some are healthier than others if your goal is to lose weight. We talked to health, nutrition, wellness, and weight loss experts to learn more about 2 types of high-calorie frozen foods they recommend avoiding for healthy weight loss and why. Read on for hints, tips and insights from Trista BestMPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Lisa RichardsRegistered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet.
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Frozen vegetables with additives
Plain frozen vegetables can be great for a healthy diet, Richards says, but packaged ones that come with additives or “extras” can mean extra calories and other unwanted ingredients. “Not all frozen vegetables are the same quality,” cautions Richards. “Frozen items made with added sugar, oils, dressings and cheeses have extra calories that you don’t need and will negatively affect your weight loss.”
These extra calories are often not accounted for in a balanced diet, he notes, and can set back your weight-loss efforts. “It’s best to buy frozen produce that has simply been harvested, cleaned, and frozen. You can then choose to add any additional ingredients during preparation,” she suggests. When not seasoned or mixed with anything else, frozen vegetables are a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet, she stresses.
“They often have their highest nutrient content when they’re harvested and frozen. So compared to fresh produce that’s been harvested, shipped, put on shelves and stored in your kitchen, they often have the most nutrients.”
Microwaveable Frozen Vegan Meals
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, Best recommends making plant-based meals yourself rather than reaching for ready-to-heat frozen meals. “The sodium, fat, and calorie content in most of these foods make them one of the worst vegan foods to buy,” she explains, “They offer few essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals and are significantly calorie and fat dense.”
You’re better off making your own with plant-based pastas or whole-grain wraps and plenty of easy-to-freeze vegetables, she recommends. “This may be a more beneficial approach than relying on these which are dangerously high in sodium and will leave you hungry soon after due to their refined carbohydrate content,” she adds.
The problem regarding healthy processed foods and stalled weight loss is primarily found in those following a vegan or plant-based diet, he continues, or a healthy diet that relies on fast foods. “When following these dietary patterns, it’s tempting to turn to processed foods that don’t contain animal products. Unfortunately, they are still high in fat and sugar, simultaneously increasing the calories of the product.”