How do you guys feel about low calorie frozen meals?

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Replies

  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 824 Member
    As another alternative, our local grocery store has started selling fresh pre-made meals. So perhaps salmon and broccoli, shrimp over orzo with asparagus, chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and asparagus with fresh green beans, etc. Most are 250-450 calories. You just pop them in the oven and 15-30 minutes later you have a fresh, healthy low-cal meal. Cost is similar to those mail order meal services except you don't have to prep anything. About $5/meal.

    There are also some good meal delivery services that have rotating menus of individual meals. All you have to do is zap and go. They also freeze well in a pinch. They're a little pricier than what your're describing ($7 - $10, most meals around 500 calories), but they bring it right to your door. Since I hate grocery stores only slightly less than I hate cooking, the delivery is a big part of the value I find in this service.
  • nationalvillage3215
    nationalvillage3215 Posts: 75 Member
    I like frozen meals fine, but they are loaded with salt and I need to watch my intake. But if it fits in my daily macros I have no problems
  • corinasue1143
    corinasue1143 Posts: 6,854 Member
    @nighthawk584 I like their version of mac n cheese (I think it's called vermont cheddar?) but I agree, I'd need two to feel full. The portion just isn't that big. They're big on the fancy packaging though, and the tray feels more like a plate.

    I'd say this is my favorite frozen meal. It's delicious, filling, and hella inexpensive (one time they were on sale for $1 each, normally they're $2.15 at my store.

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    This is my favorite type of ingredients. You get a lot of food for the calories and you can just add whatever frozen veggies you want and need to fill you up for very few added calories. I would probably add about 40 calories worth of broccoli to this one.
    I don’t eat many frozen meals now, but I sure ate my share when I was working full-time, and really appreciated them.
  • ExistingFish
    ExistingFish Posts: 1,260 Member
    I keep a few on hand, nice to have a lunch option other than sandwiches or leftovers. Or if we're in a hurry, on the go, etc. I think they are expensive and wasteful to have on the regular (lots of packaging), but for some people, they fit their lifestyle quite well. I'm not dubious of frozen food at all, most frozen food is prepared normally and just frozen - it isn't full of preservatives because the freezing acts as a preservative. Shelf-stable foods, OTOH, are more prone to be sodium and/or preservative-laden.

    Some Healthy Choice/Lean Cuisine ones are SO low calorie though. There is one HC bowl I like that is 180 calories. For who in the world is 180 calories a MEAL? I find it hard to find ones that are healthy (and not "hungry man" etc) for the calorie level that my DH needs (~450-550 calories) for weight loss, or I need for maintenance (the same calorie level). Good for weight loss, not as ideal for maintenance for me. I mean 320-380 calories is very light for me. Seems to be the calorie level that many end up at.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,072 Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    As another alternative, our local grocery store has started selling fresh pre-made meals. So perhaps salmon and broccoli, shrimp over orzo with asparagus, chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and asparagus with fresh green beans, etc. Most are 250-450 calories. You just pop them in the oven and 15-30 minutes later you have a fresh, healthy low-cal meal. Cost is similar to those mail order meal services except you don't have to prep anything. About $5/meal.

    There are also some good meal delivery services that have rotating menus of individual meals. All you have to do is zap and go. They also freeze well in a pinch. They're a little pricier than what your're describing ($7 - $10, most meals around 500 calories), but they bring it right to your door. Since I hate grocery stores only slightly less than I hate cooking, the delivery is a big part of the value I find in this service.

    Thankfully the grocery store also offers curbside pickup or delivery options as well. The convenience of living in a big city. I could see the mail order being a good option if you live rurally.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,787 Member
    I use frozen meals almost exclusively for lunches. They are easy to grab on my way out the door, require no extra planning on my part, last longer than prepped meals in the freezer, and I can get a variety of meals and flavors that I simply wouldn't cook at home (or be very unlikely to cook).

    I enjoy a lot of variety in my meals, so they are a great fit for me, and much cheaper than eating out, plus the easy calorie control! Now that I have my own freezer (used to have roommates and shared the tiny freezer with 3 other people) I am back to using frozen meal lunches.
  • ejbronte
    ejbronte Posts: 867 Member
    I do meal-prep: Sunday's my day. Done for reasons of budget; and I'm also a member of the sodium-watch club. Also, I've never found a frozen meal package that I really liked - if I found one that met my own personal parameters, I'd buy it. However, I do have a package of frozen chicken cutlets (Fresh Market? Perdue? I don't remember...) for when I'm lazy; and a couple of boxes of Dr. Praeger veggie burgers.
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    I have a hectic schedule and sometimes eat Healthy Choice meals for dinner to make sure I don't go over my allotted calories for the day. They taste pretty good and are relatively low in sodium. How do you guys feel about incorporating frozen low calorie meals into your weight loss regimen?

    Depending what the meal is, I find it really hard to cook the same thing for lower calories and taste 'ok'. I dont really eat a lot of 'ready meals' as such but for example I have recently made myself some coronation chicken, the sandwich filler type. I couldnt make it for much less than the calories of ready bought so I wont bother again, I'll just have less of the ready made stuff.
    Another example was walnut and mushroom pate, took me bloody ages, was nice, dont get me wrong but again, not much less in calories than shop bought mushroom pate, so again I wont bother.

    If I wasnt counting calories, then my own foods are much much better than shop bought, but not lower in calories, no way near.
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    I do meal prep once a month and make 25-30 meals to freeze. It gives me variety, convenience, and full knowledge of exactly what I'm putting in my body. It's worth the couple of hours I spend cooking every few weeks.

    This is fairly the point we were trying to make. This is side shaming someone for not being able to meal prep food and eating "processed" food.

    Food is food, and while it might not be up to your personal standards, there's no logical or helpful reason to shaming and spreading misinformation.

    Also, don't assume that everyone has a few extra hours to prep that many meals at once, the capability of doing so, or even a lifestyle and finances that allow it.


    As well, having the ability to actually freeze 25 - 30 meals at once might be problematic for most.

    I keep a few Healthy Choice meals around for the nights where I'm on my own for dinner, want something calorically and nutritionally decent and don't feel like cooking just for me. :)

    Yes I currently have this problem, I cooked up some lentils recently and put them in the freezer, that took up space. I have tons of frozen fruit, veg and meat in the freezer so there is not much room. Then last night I spotted loads of half empty rice packets in the cupboard (this is my partners fault, opens something, has a bit of it, buys a new bag) so i thought, well I will cook it all up, measure it out and then I have some frozen portions of rice. But now I can barely pull the freezer drawers out because its too full.
  • missysippy930
    missysippy930 Posts: 2,560 Member
    My husband works 2 pm to 10 pm, so they definitely have a place in my life. I only buy them when they are on sale. I can get the Michelin’s’ lean gourmet 10 for $10.00 on sale. I stock up then.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 824 Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    As another alternative, our local grocery store has started selling fresh pre-made meals. So perhaps salmon and broccoli, shrimp over orzo with asparagus, chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and asparagus with fresh green beans, etc. Most are 250-450 calories. You just pop them in the oven and 15-30 minutes later you have a fresh, healthy low-cal meal. Cost is similar to those mail order meal services except you don't have to prep anything. About $5/meal.

    There are also some good meal delivery services that have rotating menus of individual meals. All you have to do is zap and go. They also freeze well in a pinch. They're a little pricier than what your're describing ($7 - $10, most meals around 500 calories), but they bring it right to your door. Since I hate grocery stores only slightly less than I hate cooking, the delivery is a big part of the value I find in this service.

    Thankfully the grocery store also offers curbside pickup or delivery options as well. The convenience of living in a big city. I could see the mail order being a good option if you live rurally.

    I’m a big fan of delivery as well, when I need enough groceries to be worth it. Turns out that barely cooking greatly reduces the need to grocery shop 😝 I’ll have to do a little more exploring on the website next time. Are they in the produce section or deli?
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,827 Member
    I do meal prep once a month and make 25-30 meals to freeze. It gives me variety, convenience, and full knowledge of exactly what I'm putting in my body. It's worth the couple of hours I spend cooking every few weeks.

    This is fairly the point we were trying to make. This is side shaming someone for not being able to meal prep food and eating "processed" food.

    Food is food, and while it might not be up to your personal standards, there's no logical or helpful reason to shaming and spreading misinformation.

    Also, don't assume that everyone has a few extra hours to prep that many meals at once, the capability of doing so, or even a lifestyle and finances that allow it.

    Interesting! I didn't see her as side shaming anyone, nor is she spreading misinformation. She was simply giving another option. I food prep as well and find it cheaper to food prep than to buy pre-packaged meals.

    To the OP if you fit it in to your calories, macros and you enjoy them, there is nothing wrong with them.

    To each their own!

    Yes, it's cheaper to cook and freeze myself, plus I've yet to find a frozen meal that I found as tasty as what I can make.

    If there were options I liked for acceptable price points, I'd use them.
  • midlomel1971
    midlomel1971 Posts: 1,282 Member
    They are fine in moderation. I'm trying to cut back on sodium, so I don't eat them often. But I always keep a few to have on hand in a pinch...especially for lunch.
  • mom23mangos
    mom23mangos Posts: 3,072 Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    COGypsy wrote: »
    As another alternative, our local grocery store has started selling fresh pre-made meals. So perhaps salmon and broccoli, shrimp over orzo with asparagus, chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and asparagus with fresh green beans, etc. Most are 250-450 calories. You just pop them in the oven and 15-30 minutes later you have a fresh, healthy low-cal meal. Cost is similar to those mail order meal services except you don't have to prep anything. About $5/meal.

    There are also some good meal delivery services that have rotating menus of individual meals. All you have to do is zap and go. They also freeze well in a pinch. They're a little pricier than what your're describing ($7 - $10, most meals around 500 calories), but they bring it right to your door. Since I hate grocery stores only slightly less than I hate cooking, the delivery is a big part of the value I find in this service.

    Thankfully the grocery store also offers curbside pickup or delivery options as well. The convenience of living in a big city. I could see the mail order being a good option if you live rurally.

    I’m a big fan of delivery as well, when I need enough groceries to be worth it. Turns out that barely cooking greatly reduces the need to grocery shop 😝 I’ll have to do a little more exploring on the website next time. Are they in the produce section or deli?

    Ours are in the produce section. My husband and I will get them for nights when the kids aren't home. For the price point, it makes more sense for me to cook (or ahem heat up something) when it's the whole family. But that's when those frozen bags from Trader Joes come in handy.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,082 Member
    I don't personally care for them because they're not enough food and I don't think they taste particularly good.

    When I'm flying solo like I have been this past week, and I don't feel like cooking for myself, I go to Sprouts and get some of their pre-made deli meals. They make them fresh back in the deli area and they're pretty tasty.
  • _BlahBlah_BlackSheep_
    _BlahBlah_BlackSheep_ Posts: 2,132 Member
    nooboots wrote: »
    I do meal prep once a month and make 25-30 meals to freeze. It gives me variety, convenience, and full knowledge of exactly what I'm putting in my body. It's worth the couple of hours I spend cooking every few weeks.

    This is fairly the point we were trying to make. This is side shaming someone for not being able to meal prep food and eating "processed" food.

    Food is food, and while it might not be up to your personal standards, there's no logical or helpful reason to shaming and spreading misinformation.

    Also, don't assume that everyone has a few extra hours to prep that many meals at once, the capability of doing so, or even a lifestyle and finances that allow it.


    As well, having the ability to actually freeze 25 - 30 meals at once might be problematic for most.

    I keep a few Healthy Choice meals around for the nights where I'm on my own for dinner, want something calorically and nutritionally decent and don't feel like cooking just for me. :)

    Yes I currently have this problem, I cooked up some lentils recently and put them in the freezer, that took up space. I have tons of frozen fruit, veg and meat in the freezer so there is not much room. Then last night I spotted loads of half empty rice packets in the cupboard (this is my partners fault, opens something, has a bit of it, buys a new bag) so i thought, well I will cook it all up, measure it out and then I have some frozen portions of rice. But now I can barely pull the freezer drawers out because its too full.

    I had the same problem! I found a small chest freezer on Craigslist for $75 and it's been a perfect solution!
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    nooboots wrote: »
    I do meal prep once a month and make 25-30 meals to freeze. It gives me variety, convenience, and full knowledge of exactly what I'm putting in my body. It's worth the couple of hours I spend cooking every few weeks.

    This is fairly the point we were trying to make. This is side shaming someone for not being able to meal prep food and eating "processed" food.

    Food is food, and while it might not be up to your personal standards, there's no logical or helpful reason to shaming and spreading misinformation.

    Also, don't assume that everyone has a few extra hours to prep that many meals at once, the capability of doing so, or even a lifestyle and finances that allow it.


    As well, having the ability to actually freeze 25 - 30 meals at once might be problematic for most.

    I keep a few Healthy Choice meals around for the nights where I'm on my own for dinner, want something calorically and nutritionally decent and don't feel like cooking just for me. :)

    Yes I currently have this problem, I cooked up some lentils recently and put them in the freezer, that took up space. I have tons of frozen fruit, veg and meat in the freezer so there is not much room. Then last night I spotted loads of half empty rice packets in the cupboard (this is my partners fault, opens something, has a bit of it, buys a new bag) so i thought, well I will cook it all up, measure it out and then I have some frozen portions of rice. But now I can barely pull the freezer drawers out because its too full.

    I had the same problem! I found a small chest freezer on Craigslist for $75 and it's been a perfect solution!

    Well we've got 2 fridge freezers anyway and theres only the 2 of us, so I think another one would be excessive!
  • collectingblues
    collectingblues Posts: 2,540 Member
    zamirasoni wrote: »
    I love the convenience, but I'm always hungry within a couple of hours. I need a bit extra on those days.

    Ditto. I like the convenience, but I can't do the low calorie ones because inevitably I'm hungry again, and that historically leads to some bad snacking choices. If I have one, it needs to be at least 300 calories.