Registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Alix Turoff, MS, knows that frozen foods often get a bad rap — she wrote a whole blog post about it. In that post, she explained that food kept in the freezer is often associated with the TV dinners popular decades ago. “Of course, you can find tons of very unhealthy and highly processed frozen foods. The same way that you can find very unhealthy and ultra processed NON-frozen foods,” she stated. The key is finding the right brands with the best ingredients to keep in your freezer.
As Alix noted in her post, frozen foods can make eating healthy a lot easier for people. She pointed to the common misconception that fruits and vegetables eaten fresh are better for you than those eaten frozen. Frozen fruits and veggies are, she explained, picked at the peak of their ripeness and then “flash-frozen” to lock in the nutritional value, “which might otherwise degrade as the fruit or vegetable continues to ripen.” You also have access to produce that isn’t necessarily in season served fresh.
Another misconception Alix wrote about is high sodium content in all frozen foods. Yes, frozen foods can have higher sodium sometimes, but “unless you have high blood pressure, salt is not going to kill you,” she clarified. She concluded, “We have to stop thinking in black and whites! We also have to start reading labels! If you did, you’d see that there are SO many great frozen foods out there that have amazing ingredient lists and nutrition facts to match.”
Alix, whom we’ve interviewed before, recently did a Trader Joe’s grocery haul on her Instagram Stories (now saved as a highlight on her page) and included the frozen meals that she loves to buy from the store and others she recommends. When asked if she thinks TJ’s frozen foods are healthier than those you could find at your other local store, she told POPSUGAR via email, “They’re not necessarily healthier, but I do think they’re innovative and more ‘fun’ than some items you can find in the grocery store. For example, a chipotle chicken lime burger versus a regular frozen chicken burger.”
However, one thing that TJ’s does do “better” is its cauliflower gnocchi, she said. In a one-cup serving of TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi. there are 140 calories and 22 grams of carbs. In a one-cup serving of Green Giant’s cauliflower gnocchi, there are 220 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Ahead, check out Alix’s frozen food picks from Trader Joe’s. She doesn’t include cauliflower gnocchi, but that’s another staple you might want to pick up if you haven’t already. Happy — and healthy! — shopping.