The frozen food aisle hasn’t been getting a lot of love lately.
After six decades of growth, sales of frozen meals started dropping in 2008. Two in five Americans think they have no nutritional value, and young people have been opting for fresh food delivery services such as GrubHub and Amazon Fresh instead.
But one study suggests that we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the once popular grocery items. Researchers from consulting firm Nutrition Impact found that people who eat frozen meals consume 253 fewer calories a day than people who dine at quick-service restaurants. They also consume less saturated fat and have a higher intake of dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients. The findings were presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Atlanta last month.
Although the study was peer-reviewed, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Most frozen foods are packed with preservatives, and Nestlé USA, maker of Hot Pockets and Stouffer’s, funded the research.
Still, convenient frozen meals can be healthy options—if you know how to choose. Take Trader Joe’s. Some of the worst items that shoppers can pick up from the health-conscious consumer favorite are in the frozen food aisle. But it also offers some nutritious choices. Here are 10 of the best frozen items you can buy at Trader Joe’s.