I’m a Nutritionist – Here are the 5 healthiest frozen meals you can buy at Trader Joe’s

Fresh is best. Eat the rainbow. Cook from scratch whenever possible.

These are the three golden rules of healthy eating touted over and over by nutritionists and food scientists.

But now, a growing number of diet experts say this advice is outdated.

Many of the country’s largest food stores now offer frozen TV dinners that are just as nutritious as eating them fresh, they say.

Sarah Garone, a nutritionist from Arizona, told the Daily Mail: “Growing up, my mom made us microwaveable frozen meals that were high in sodium, fat and It’s extremely high in preservatives.” “But we’ve come a long way since then.”

Nutritionist Sarah Garone told MailOnline that frozen TV dinners have come a long way from the bland meals of the 1980s, which lacked nutrients.

In fact, she says some foods are even healthier when frozen, citing frozen fruits and vegetables as an example.

“When you buy frozen fruits and vegetables, their nutritional content is usually higher because they are harvested at their freshest and then stored immediately, thus retaining their nutritional content.”

Contrary to what some people think, she added, freezing meat and dairy products has no impact on the levels of important compounds they contain.

Trader Joe’s is a grocer leading the way in healthy frozen meals. Here, Sarah Garone gives her expert verdict on the best options you should buy.

Cauliflower Gnocchi

*All nutritional information is based on serving size

Calories: 140

Salt: 460 mg

Sugar: less than 1 gram

Saturated fat: 0.5 grams

Price: $3.29

These low-calorie tortellini are made with just five ingredients: cauliflower, tapioca flour, potato starch, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt.

No wheat, sugar, dairy or eggs means significantly less fat and calories than the pure potato gnocchi variety.

“I wanted to put something on it, but as it stands, this is pretty good,” Ms. Garrone said. “It only has five ingredients, which is great.” “

This means there are fewer additives, such as artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to weight gain, compared to other products.

Ms. Garrone added: “I think most people will at least want to add a sauce, maybe some crumbled tofu or ground turkey or something like that to make it more of a meal.”

“It contains six grams of fiber [the same as in three slices of wholewheat bread] Only half a gram of saturated fat—the bad kind.

A top nutritionist reveals five of the healthiest frozen meals available at Trader Joe's, including some you didn't think were nutritious, like fried rice and burgers

A top nutritionist reveals five of the healthiest frozen meals available at Trader Joe’s, including some you didn’t think were nutritious, like fried rice and burgers

Fiber is important because it helps you stay fuller longer and makes you less likely to snack.

A diet rich in this nutrient has been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

“Cauliflower has more potassium, calcium, and fiber than regular gnocchi. It’s a great way to get some veggies in where you wouldn’t otherwise get them.”

“Since most of us don’t get enough vegetables, it’s great to have built-in vegetables, especially convenience foods like frozen meals,” she adds.

Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger

Calories: 180

Salt: 310 mg

Sugar: less than 1 gram

Saturated fat: 1 gram

Price: $3.99 for 4 people

Next up is a low-fat, low-calorie veggie burger with virtually no sugar or fat.

Nutritionist Sarah Garone says: “Quinoa is a good choice because in addition to protein (about the same amount as an egg), it also contains fiber to keep you full. feel.”

Ms Garrone added: “Adding a whole-grain bread would be a good option. It would add extra calories, which is necessary because it would be too low for the entire meal.

“This will also add more fiber and B vitamins. You can also add a slice of cheese for extra protein.

Unlike other frozen burgers, these burgers are low in sodium, equivalent to just over 10% of the recommended amount in one burger.

Premium Salmon Burger

Calories: 100

Salt: 330 mg

Sugar: 1g

Saturated fat: 0.5 grams

Price: $7.49 for 4 people

These ultra-low-calorie salmon burgers are a great option for anyone trying to lose weight.

Made with Alaskan salmon and no other ingredients, they contain 15 grams of protein — one-third of Americans’ daily intake, according to U.S. health officials.

This will keep you relatively full without the extra sugar and fat found in other burgers.

Ms Garrone said the calorie content was “fairly low”, which could be useful for those on diets, but might need to be topped up with whole-grain burgers, sauces and vegetables.

She added: “Another thing I love about these is that they provide 100% of your daily dose of vitamin D, which is vital for bone health and more.

“Most of us don’t spend time in the sun this time of year, so we may not be getting our vitamin D allotment, and food can help you achieve your daily goal.”

The complete lack of fiber is a drawback, she says, but pairing it with whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes and other veggies solves that problem.

Vegetable fried rice

Calories: 230

Salt: 510 mg

Sugar: 3 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Price: $2.99

This popular Asian dish is rarely found in the frozen food aisle, and Ms. Garrone said it deserves a spot on the healthiest meals list.

She said, “I know you don’t think fried rice is healthy.

“But in this case, the fat content is lower and the sodium content is higher, but it’s not astronomical: just 22 percent of the recommended daily intake.”

Best of all, it’s packed with vegetables and provides tons of “hidden” important micronutrients, which is especially helpful for kids who don’t eat vegetables.

“I bought this and my kids eat it,” Ms. Garrone said. “It’s got carrots, edamame, corn, peas, leeks, green peppers. Trader Joe’s pictures it with a fried egg, which I think is a great way to add some protein, or you could add some grilled chicken strips.

But be aware of portion size.

Ms. Garrone added: “If you want to stick to the nutritional levels on the label, measure in cups. A quarter-cup serving contains only 230 calories. ‘

Plus, this dish contains no saturated fat. “It’s surprising because you think fried rice would be greasy, but it’s not,” she said.

Grilled chicken strips

Calories: 110

Salt: 230 mg

Sugar: 0g

Saturated fat: 0.5 grams

Price: $8.99

These are “very versatile for busy people who want to add protein,” Ms. Garrone said.

“They are high in protein at 20 grams per serving and low in fat and sodium.”

About five bars will provide almost half the recommended daily amount of protein, which will help keep you full and is essential for muscle growth.

“It’s something you can put on a salad, or stir into pasta, or put into a burrito. There are endless possibilities, which is nice,” she added.

“Eating healthy is the key to setting yourself up for success. You don’t have to create a whole plan as long as you have the building blocks, and I think this serves as a building block for healthy eating. So it gets my vote.

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