8 Vegan Frozen Meals Nutritionists Love
Vegan frozen meals are a life-saving convenience for busy people, especially when following a plant-based diet. Considering that only 10% of Americans consume the recommended servings of fruits and veggies and only 5% meet their recommended fiber goals, veggie-packed heat-and-eat meals are an excellent vehicle to boost nutrient intake.
Fortunately, more vegan frozen meals are popping up from smaller plant-based brands as well as the larger, more traditional companies with recipes inspired by many world cultures sure to please the palates of plant-based foodies.
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How to choose a vegan frozen meal
One important factor to consider when shopping for vegan frozen meals is your personal nutrition needs and goals. Some offerings are higher in protein, and some are higher in carbohydrates, fat, or sodium.
I first look at the protein content since it tends to be a more challenging nutrient to consume, especially for 100% plant-based folks. I usually recommend a minimum of 20 grams of protein per meal, something less common to achieve strictly from a frozen entrée due to their smaller portion sizes. It’s easy to boost the protein content by adding in some canned beans, soy (e.g, tofu, edamame, tempeh, or a glass of soymilk), nuts, seeds, whole grains, or a hefty serving of veggies.
Sodium is often heavy-handed in frozen meals. I suggest looking for choices with 750 milligrams or less — roughly one-third of the recommended daily limit, for which there are plenty of options. For those that clock in higher, if you do not have high blood pressure it’s probably fine to eat every now and then and choose lower-sodium foods for the remainder of the day.
Vegan frozen meals nutritionists love
From plant-based burgers to pizza or cultural favorites, the following vegan frozen meals are hand-picked by nutrition professionals. There’s generally something for everyone.
1. Sweet Earth Korean BBQ Style Chick’n Bowl
This unique veggie-packed entrée features plant-based chick’n in spicy sweet gochujang sauce over a cauliflower brown rice blend with carrots, edamame, snap peas, and spinach. It’s an excellent source of fiber and packs 15 grams of protein. I like to stir in some extra baked tofu, chickpeas, or black beans to pump up the protein over 20 grams, and there’s plenty of yummy sauce to accommodate the add-ins.
2. Tattooed Chef Plant-Based Egg Roll Bowl
With riced cauliflower as the first ingredient, this tasty colorful bowl features plant-based beef crumbles mixed with jasmine rice, cabbage, carrots, ginger, cilantro, and green onion in a sweet tamari chili sauce. Round out the meal by adding some extra plant protein such as soy crumbles, chickpeas, or edamame.
3. Morningstar Farms Incogmeato Plant-Based Burgers
The new generation of plant-based burgers intended to mimic real beef burgers has flooded supermarket shelves and restaurant menus. The ingredients and nutrition stats vary widely and thus far, Incogmeato is my favorite. This burger has significantly less saturated fat and more fiber than its competitors. Plus, it’s soy-based, which is a complete protein source. Serve your burger on a whole wheat bun, on top of a salad, or in a high-fiber tortilla with veggies.
4. Trader Joe’s Tofu Scramble with Soy Chorizo
It’s tough finding plant-based meal options with sufficient protein which is why I love Trader Joe’s Tofu Scramble with Soy Chorizo. It’s loaded with 25 grams of plant-based protein, lots of veggies, and is an excellent source of fiber. The sodium content is a bit high for one serving so if that is a primary concern, scoop half into a high-fiber tortilla with extra beans, avocado, and cilantro for a nutrient-packed flavor party.
5. Banza Chickpea Crust Plant-Based Cheese Pizza
Chickpeas are so versatile they even create a phenomenal pizza crust. Tiffany Bruno, an applied nutrition graduate student chooses Banza pizza because, “It’s delicious on its own, or easy to add toppings like frozen veggies. Serve a simple salad on the side and it’s a perfect, quick dinner.” Those who look for more protein can add sliced vegan sausage or pepperoni.
6. Trader Joe’s Frozen Falafel Balls
Catherine Karnatz, RD is a big fan of Trader Joe’s frozen falafel balls.
“They’re super helpful on busy weekdays when I don’t have much time to cook and can be quickly prepared in the microwave or air fryer,” says Karnatz. “This product contains six grams of fiber and eight grams of plant-based protein per serving and is extra delicious when paired with pita and hummus or added to a grain bowl with roasted red peppers.”
7. Amy’s Pad Thai
Ashley Kitchens, MPH, RDN, a plant-based dietitian and owner of Plant Centered Nutrition, chooses Amy’s Pad Thai.
“This is one of my favorite frozen meals,” says Kitchens. “It’s vegan and gluten-free, has 410 calories, 12 grams of protein, and lots of variety – rice noodles, tofu, carrots, green onions, broccoli, and cashews. I add extra tofu to this when I’m feeling especially hungry.”
8. Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger
NYC-based dietitian Dena Don, founder of The Artsy Palate, chooses the vegan Perfect Burger by Dr. Praeger’s.
“This burger can easily be paired with a whole wheat bun – which I also like to store in the freezer – and some lettuce, tomato, and avocado for a tasty, balanced meal,” says Don. “The burger contains pea protein and vegetable puree, which makes it both filling and nutritious.”
One burger contains 20 grams of protein which is pretty high for a plant-based patty with more added from the bun and extra veggies.
Read next: 17 Best Healthy Freezer Essentials To Have On Hand
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