Frozen food is a great option for people who don’t have time to grocery shop very often and need to stock up, or for those who have trouble going through the food they buy without it going bad.
Unfortunately, many frozen foods come loaded with preservatives and sodium, so it can be a challenge to find healthier frozen options. But if you know what to look for, and what to avoid, you’ll have more confidence choosing frozen foods that match your health goals.
If your goals include weight loss or losing fat around your abdominal area, there are certain frozen foods that can help with this, too. We talked with a few dietitians to find out which ones you’ll want to add to your shopping cart next time you’re at the store.
Chances are you’ve experienced the frustration of wanting to include avocado in your meal or smoothie, but it either goes bad before you eat it, or you can’t find one ripe enough at the store.
Thankfully, frozen avocado is the perfect solution.
“Avocados can easily be frozen for a quick addition to your smoothies or baked goods, and they are packed with healthy fats and fiber, helping us stay full and satisfied,” says medical board member Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. “According to the results of one study, women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat.”
Getting enough protein throughout the day is important, and according to Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness, “protein is the key to losing fat and building lean muscle.”
Because of this, D’Angelo recommends trying frozen turkey meatballs.
“Meatballs are usually high in fat and sodium, but they’re also a great source of protein, so turkey meatballs are a good alternative because it’s a leaner meat,” she says.
The antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can help reduce inflammation in the body and contribute many health benefits across the body.
A study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that omega-3 was linked to a greater decrease in body fat and waist circumference.
“Frozen salmon can be just as nutritious as fresh options, and just as packed with the important DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids,” says Manaker. “These anti-inflammatory fatty acids can support weight loss, and possibly help reduce abdominal fat too.”
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Research continues to show that diets higher in protein can significantly help with weight loss and weight management. If you’re looking for easy ways to get more protein in your diet, D’Angelo suggests frozen chicken nuggets.
“Generally, chicken is a great source of protein, which is critical in losing fat and building lean muscle, but try to avoid antibiotic-filled meat and those that are high in sodium, and stick to lean, high-protein chicken nuggets,” she says.
One common complaint from those trying to eat healthier is that when they buy fruits and vegetables, the produce often goes bad before they can eat all of it. That’s why buying frozen vegetables is helpful for weight loss.
“Vegetables are naturally packed with fiber, a nutrient that can help support satiety and, over time, help people eat less throughout the day,” says Manaker. “Eating less can result in weight loss, which ultimately means a reduction in abdominal fat.”
If you’re looking for specific veggies to try, broccoli is usually one of the easiest ones to find in the frozen section.
“Broccoli is one of the few vegetables that contain calcium, which can help increase fat loss, especially in the belly area. Furthermore, consuming calcium with foods is usually better than in supplement form—an added reason to eat your veggies,” says D’Angelo.