Why Frozen Meals Can Be Bad for Heart Health

We are all for keeping things easy. That’s especially true at mealtime. We know that things can be a hassle. That’s why we share so many delicious and easy recipes over on Glucocil’s blog. Sometimes wanting to make life easier means heading to the freezer aisle. And that’s not necessarily bad. Frozen veggies have the same nutrients as fresh. And canned veggies often contain the harmful chemical BPA, so frozen veggies can be the best choice. But, frozen meals aren’t your best option for a fast evening meal.

We’ll start off by saying that not all frozen meals are created equal. You can find healthy meals in the freezer aisle! But, you have to check the label. A better option than reading them in the store is to do a little sleuthing on Google. Merely typing in “healthiest frozen meals 2020” would be a great place to start. You can figure out what you want based on your health needs.

We all know that processed foods aren’t great because we can’t control everything that goes into them. In a perfect world, we would cook everything from scratch. But this isn’t an ideal world. We have real lives that get in the way! That’s why we say read the labels and do research.  

The problem with frozen meals is that they can contain a lot of salt and partially hydrogenated oil. Excess salt can raise blood pressure. The high amounts of partially hydrogenated oil, a type of trans fat, can clog arteries. The fat extends the shelf life of food that is one reason it’s used in frozen foods. And it might not show up on the nutrition label!

If a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the nutrition label may still read ‘0 trans fat,’” said Meghann Featherstun, a clinical dietitian and wellness coach at the Univ. Hospitals of Cleveland Accountable Care Organization. “Instead, check the ingredients list. If you see the word ’hydrogenated,’ don’t buy it.”
One of the worst offenders is something many of us keep as a staple in our freezers: frozen pizza. Many of us think of a frozen pizza as a healthier alternative to other frozen meals. It’s also just so easy to throw a frozen pizza in the oven on a busy night when you want a tasty dinner without hassle. But, while it might be easy, it can also be very unhealthy.

You can find options to enjoy as part of a healthy diet as long as you aren’t eating it nightly. For instance, a serving of  DiGiorno Thin and Crispy Garden Vegetable Pizza has 210 calories, 380 mg of salt, nine grams of protein, eight grams of fat, four of which are saturated, 25 grams of carbs and one gram of fiber. The pizza isn’t low in salt and isn’t exactly a healthy meal, but it’s significantly better than many other options!

We’re unlikely to stop eating frozen food altogether. Instead, it’s good to find the healthier brands and options available and eat them less frequently than we currently do. Cutting back and picking better varieties is an excellent step toward a healthier heart!

Banner image: Gustavo Fring via Pexels
January 13, 2021

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