Happy National TV Dinner Day! Prepackaged, frozen meals were given the name “TV dinners” back in the 1950s because families typically consumed them in front of the small screen. Plus, the serving containers were shaped in the form of old tube television sets. While frozen meals were traditionally high in fat, calories and sodium, new companies have introduced well-balanced, nutritious, organic and hormone-free fare, making it a pretty health-conscious move to microwave your dinner in a time crunch. Whether you’re craving Thai, Indian, Italian or comfort food—and even if you follow a vegan, gluten-free or clean diet—there is a frozen meal out there to satisfy your taste buds as well as your dietary restrictions. LivingHealthy unveils 9 deliciously good-for-you options, complete with ingredient lists and nutritional stats.
Kashi Frozen Entrees Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
Because you’re craving: Thai food
Why you will love it: A delicious and hearty blend of Kashi’s “Seven Whole Grains” with red quinoa pilaf, chicken, broccoli, carrots and sugar snap peas served with a lemongrass coconut sauce, this fresh-tasting meal will fill you up while making your taste buds happy.
Key ingredients: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, buckwheat, barley, chicken, rice starch, broccoli, lemongrass puree, carrots, quinoa, sugar snap peas, coconut cream, coconut, cane syrup, garlic, ginger puree, jalapeño pepper, lime juice concentrate.
Nutritional facts: 18g protein, 7g fiber, 8g fat, 300 calories, 680mg sodium, 38g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Most of Kashi’s Frozen Entrees are full of protein and fiber, low in calories and fat, and made with wholesome ingredients.
Luvo Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta
Because you’re craving: Mom’s home-cooked meals
Why you will love it: Sometimes you’re just in need of comfort food. While a taste of mom’s kitchen usually isn’t all that healthy or easy to make, this savory and rich frozen meal—which tastes like it’s been simmering for hours—can be ready in a snap.
Key ingredients: Cooked polenta, shallots, garlic, seasoning, red wine sauce, onions, beef fat, tomato paste, beef, wine, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, tomatoes, cranberries.
Nutritional facts: 17g protein, 4g fiber, 8g fat, 250 calories, 300mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Low in fat and calories and packed with protein, this meal also provides 70 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin A and 60 percent of vitamin C. Luvo sources organic and non-GMO ingredients, as well as preservative-free products and ingredients, whenever possible. Endorsed by nutritional guru Mark Hyman, MD, Luvo refuses to use high-fructose corn syrups, artificial preservatives and flavors, and hydrogenated fats in their food.
EVOL Gluten-Free Uncured Bacon Mac & Cheese
Because you’re craving: Mac & cheese, of course!
Why you will love it: Even if you’re gluten intolerant, you can get your creamy and salty bacon mac & cheese in a jiffy—without powdered cheese. This dinner is also available in a meat-free smoked Gouda variety.
Key ingredients: Gluten-free elbow noodles, milk, cheddar cheese, heavy cream, uncured precooked bacon, butter, parmesan, onions, potato flour, rice starch.
Nutritional facts: 13g protein, 2g fiber, 24g fat, 450 calories, 680mg sodium, 48g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Made with gluten-free elbow noodles and uncured, antibiotic-free pork bacon, this mac and cheese may not be very low in fat, but you won’t have to compromise when it comes to taste or quality of ingredients.
Tandoor Chef Balanced Vegetarian Paneer Tikka Masala
Because you’re craving: Indian food
Why you will love it: Indian food can really pack on the calories and sodium, but you can still indulge in your favorite curry without compromising your health.
Key ingredients: Tomatoes, onions, paneer, olive oil, cashews, garlic, butter, ghee, spices, kidney beans, citric acid, basmati rice.
Nutritional facts: 15g protein, 4g fiber, 16g fat, 390 calories, 620mg sodium, 46g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: All of Tandoor Chef’s new Balanced Vegetarian meals are way healthier than your average Indian meal, as they have reduced sodium, contain more protein and fiber, are made with olive oil and have zero trans fat—all while being certified by the AVA (American Vegetarian Association).
Artisan Bistro Wild Alaskan Salmon
Because you’re craving: A simple, delicious salmon dinner packed with lots of healthy skin- and heart-loving fats.
Why you will love it: This wild-caught salmon is seasoned with a sweet and savory rosemary orange glaze and served with a whole-grain cranberry walnut pilaf rice and crunchy broccoli.
Key ingredients: Brown rice, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, japonica rice, walnuts, dried cranberries, orange juice concentrate, rice four, onion powder, orange oil.
Nutritional facts: 18g protein, 4g fiber, 6g fat, 280 calories, 135mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Wild-caught salmon is naturally high in omega-3 fats (the essential fatty acid that’s great for the heart, immune system and brain) as well as protein, making it a super-superfood. Broccoli is rich in fiber and antioxidants, while the three types of organic whole-grain rice and walnuts are high in fiber.
Amy’s Kitchen Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
Because you’re craving: Pizza
Why you will love it: You’ll forget all about the cheese once you take a bite of this dairy-free pizza loaded with delectable veggies. For all you gluten-free folks out there, Amy’s also offers a bunch of gluten-free pizzas made with rice crust dough!
Key ingredients: Organic onions, artichokes, organic roasted bell peppers, organic shitake mushrooms, organic agave nectar, organic tomato puree, organic garlic, organic lemon juice, yeast.
Nutritional facts: 7g protein, 3g fiber, 9g fat, 280 calories, 540mg sodium, 42g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Dairy- and cholesterol-free, all of Amy’s products are made with wholesome ingredients as well as organic, fiber-rich veggies.
Trader Joe’s Organic Garden Lasagne
Because you’re craving: Italian food
Why you will love it: Gooey mozzarella and creamy ricotta with a rich and delicious marinara sauce, wide noodles and organic grilled veggies make this hearty and wholesome Italian classic one of the tastiest frozen meals in town.
Key ingredients: Organic tomato sauce, organic grilled zucchini, organic red and yellow peppers, organic broccoli, organic carrots, organic grilled eggplants, organic egg, organic ricotta sauce, organic mozzarella cheese.
Nutritional facts: 9g protein, 3g fiber, 10g fat, 270 calories, 720mg sodium, 37g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Organic grilled veggies provide nearly half your recommended daily value of vitamins A and C, while the dairy portion ensures you’re getting plenty of protein. The only concern is the high amount of sodium, so if you opt for this meal, be sure to keep the rest of your day low in salt!
Helen’s Kitchen Veggie Fajita Bowl
Because you’re craving: Mexican food
Why you will love it: Lots of tasty veggies and black beans served over brown rice and topped with cheese will give you that south-of-the-border flavor without making you feel like you need a long siesta.
Key ingredients: Red bell pepper, crushed tomato, corn, Anaheim chile, black beans, peas, brown rice, carrots, diced tomato, potatoes, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro.
Nutritional facts: 9g protein, 7g fiber, 12g fat, 250 calories, 610mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Most of the veggies and grains here are certified organic, and no artificial ingredients are added. This vegetarian meal is high in vitamins C and A, protein and dietary fiber.
Kidfresh Spaghetti Loops+Meat Sauce
Because you’re craving: A break—your kids are craving dinner and you don’t have time to make it
Why you will love it: This nutritious alternative to SpaghettiOs is packed with ½ cup of vegetables, so your kids will be consuming sweet potatoes, carrots and celery without even knowing it.
Key ingredients: Pasta, tomatoes, water, onion, ground beef, carrot, sweet potato, celery, evaporated cane syrup, sea salt, corn starch, spice.
Nutritional facts: 8g protein, 2g fiber, 2.5g fat, 190 calories, 330mg sodium, 34g carbohydrates.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Brimming with protein and veggies, this low-fat and low-calorie meal contains at least half the sodium of traditional SpaghettiOs.