If you’ve avoided the frozen food aisle to keep your health in check, we have good news. With a bit of label-reading and keeping a few principles in mind, you can nuke your next dinner without sabotaging your health or your performance.
Aim for 1,465 to 2,090 kilojoules per meal
A frozen entrée should fit into your total kilojoule budget for the day (which may fall between 7,540 and 10,050 kilojoules, depending on your mileage, other activity level, and body size.) Check for total and saturated fat—a meal with about 1,260 kilojoules shouldn’t have more than than 10 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fat.
Reach for 15 to 25 grams of protein
Your body needs this essential nutrient at each meal for optimal health, (immune system strength) and muscle rebuilding, which goes on throughout the day, but especially right after a workout. Many new frozen meals tout 25 grams of high-quality (think: rich in essential amino acids) protein—perfect for runners.
Look for 7 grams of fibre
Given that you need at least 25 grams of fibre per day for good digestive tract health, high-fiber items such as burritos (thanks to its beans and whole-grain tortilla) are a good choice. You can also add fibre to your meals with the tips below.
Watch the sodium
Your goal is to keep total sodium intake around 2,400 milligrams per day. Some frozen entrees pack well over 40 per cent of that limit. Select meals with less than 500 milligrams per serving.
Check Serving Sizes and Adjust Accordingly
A frozen pizza may list nutritional information based on a single serving (1/8 of a the pie), but if you end up eating half, or four servings, you’ll have quadruple the kilojoules, fat, and sodium.
MAKE A BETTER FROZEN MEAL
You can easily add nutrients to your meal by having a fresh salad (mixed greens, baby spinach, or arugula), a side of steamed veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, greens), or a fresh fruit salad. Pair your meal with a glass of kefir or another source of gut-friendly probiotics to round out your meal.