TV dinners, frozen meals, whatever you want to call them, they can be a life saver when you only have mere minutes to prepare and eat dinner. They are also quite convenient to bring to work as a lunch option for those in offices with mini kitchens. Historically, TV dinners were high in sodium and saturated fat and low on fiber and vitamin-rich veggies and whole grains. Over the last several years, more and more companies have gotten into the mix with their attempts to improve the nutritional quality. There are still plenty of meals in the freezer case with almost a day’s worth of sodium. Fortunately, there are also many with more health-focused options.
The two main nutrients of concern are still sodium and saturated fat. Enjoying one of these meals once in a while shouldn’t pose any major nutritional concerns. However, if you’re relying on them on a somewhat regular or weekly basis, you do want to make sure to keep the saturated fat and sodium content in check to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Try to choose meals with fewer than five grams of saturated fat and 700 milligrams of saturated fat. And, when it comes to these nutrients, the lower the better.
Helpful hints. A few things to remember when enjoying your next TV dinner.
- Try plant-based. TV Dinners aren’t known for their high fiber content. Choosing plant-based meals can help you get an adequate amount of fiber.
- Compare sizes. Some meals’ nutrient profile may look good, but it could be because the portion size is very small. These may not be very filling and could leave you feeling hungry soon after. Aim for those weighing at least eight ounces.
- Bulk up. To bulk up the quantity, nutrients, and lasting fullness of your meal, consider adding extra fruits and veggies as sides when eating.