Skip to content

I’m a Nutritionist and These Are My Favorite Frozen Lunches

November 23, 2023
Clean Plates

As a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, I’m no stranger to frozen lunches. I was raised on Stauffer’s frozen lasagnas and Marie Callendar’s frozen Salisbury steaks (served on TV trays in front of Family Feud, of course). Now, though, as a nutritionist, I tend to view frozen meals with a bit of skepticism. Convenient though they may be for a quick lunch, they’re often highly processed and filled with calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Still, not all frozen lunches are inherently unhealthy. (We’ve come a long way since the ‘80s!) For myself and my family, I regularly choose a small selection of freezer meals that make for easy mid-day meals. Here are seven of my favorite nutritious choices.

Related: Sign up to receive delicious recipes, expert advice, and shopping tips in your inbox!

1. Red’s Organic Chicken, Cilantro, & Lime Burrito

For lunch, there’s nothing quite so handy and portable as a frozen burrito — but many brands are low in protein and filled with funky additives. Red’s organic chicken, cilantro, and lime burrito is a more nutrient-dense alternative to the usual frozen Mexican rollups. Twelve grams of protein come from grilled organic chicken, brown rice, and black beans. Pair one with a Southwestern salad for a complete, healthy lunch.

Buy now: Red’s Organic Chicken, Cilantro, & Lime Burrito

1. Saffron Road Vegetable Biryani

Indian-inspired flavors are Saffron Road’s claim to fame. If you ask me, their frozen vegetable biryani is about as tasty as the kind you’d get at an Indian restaurant. A high-fiber mix of veggies, rice, chickpeas, cashews, and spices make this one a healthy choice. Plus, everything in its ingredient list is recognizable and pronounceable — a good indicator that it’s less processed than many other frozen options.

Buy now: Saffron Road Vegetable Biryani

5. Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl

I’m not usually a devotee of the make-everything-out-of-cauliflower trend, but I make an exception for Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl. It’s a 100% plant-based frozen lunch that packs not only cauliflower, but also chickpeas, sweet potato, and tofu chunks. A tangy tahini sauce completes the flavor picture. Eat the whole bowl and you’ll fulfill 25% of the RDA for iron, 15% for potassium, and 28% of the daily fiber recommendation.

Buy now: Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl

4. Amy’s Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable Enchilada

I’ve been eating Amy’s Kitchen’s enchiladas for years. Before I even realized they were healthy, I tossed them in my grocery cart because they’re delicious! Now, though, I know that the black bean-veggie combo contains a modest 340 calories and includes 6 grams of fiber. I also love its ingredient list of all-organic, recognizable ingredients like zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, beans, and spices.

Buy now: Amy’s Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable Enchiladas

5. Daily Harvest Lentil Tomato Bolognese Harvest Bowl

If you’re looking for a frozen lunch with the cleanest ingredients and fewest allergens, don’t miss Daily Harvest’s wide variety of options. Their Harvest Lentil Tomato Bolognese Harvest Bowl happens to be my favorite. It brings together the savory flavor of tomato soup with the high-protein, high-fiber of lentils. It’s got 25% of your daily potassium, 10 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and nothing artificial. Can’t ask for much more from a frozen lunch!

Buy now: Daily Harvest Lentil Tomato Bolognese Harvest Bowl

6. Veggies Made Great Tomato Basil Frittatas

Veggies Made Great’s tomato basil frittatas may technically be intended for breakfast, but eggs are a nutritious choice any time of day. They’re a good source of protein, brain-boosting choline, and lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants associated with improved eye health.

Besides these frittatas’ potential health benefits, they also cook quickly and evenly in the microwave in just 45 seconds each. For a lightning-fast lunch, I like to enjoy them with a piece of fruit or side of leftover dinner potatoes.

Buy now: Veggies Made Great Tomato Basil Frittatas

7. Trader Joe’s Bulgur Pilaf with Butternut Squash

There’s a reason two frozen lunches from Trader Joe’s make my list. TJ’s is a perennial favorite for its many high-quality frozen meals. Chief among them: this bulgur pilaf with butternut squash. The flavors of nutty butternut squash, earthy bulgur, and tangy feta make the perfect cozy fall meal.

Though this meal isn’t quite as convenient for solo eating as some other frozen lunches (one bag contains multiple servings), the extra effort is worth it. Whole grain bulgur is first ingredient here. According to the Whole Grains Council, diets high in whole grains can reduce the risk of chronic disease and lower inflammation. If you feel like making the whole bag, go right ahead. Once cooked, this dish can be enjoyed cold.

Buy now: Trader Joe’s Bulgur Pilaf with Butternut Squash

Read next: 6 Healthiest Foods at HEB That Nutritionists Love

Good food
people together.
So do
good emails.

What our editors love right now

Good food brings people together.
So do good emails.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden