No matter how much we love to brag of farmers market visits and shelves stocked with the healthiest cookbooks, we all have those beyond-busy days when grocery shopping, cooking (and doing all of those dishes) is off the table.
Enter the supermarket freezer aisle—where grabbing something to heat up is an easy, quick fix, but many of the products are super processed and come with unhealthy ingredients like preservatives, tons of salt, and added sugar.
What do Well+Good editors reach for when searching for the healthiest frozen dinners available? Here are five of our team’s favorites to pick up on the way home and mix with some random leftovers lingering in the fridge, or take to work for an easy, affordable breakfast or lunch. —Jamie McKillop
Sweet Earth Big Sur Breakfast Burrito
I love Sweet Earth because they use plant-based protein like smoked seitan, ancient grains, and interesting spices like turmeric, and it’s based out of California, my home state. This is a great thing to pop in the microwave at work for a quick breakfast or lunch, with roasted red pepper, potatoes, and seasoned tofu.
Hot Dang Grain Burgers, Big Tex or El Guapo
I recently discovered these new grain-based veggie burgers and they have a seriously surprising amount of flavor compared to other brands, plus a clean ingredient list made of up whole, healthy foods (as opposed to many brands that are just processed soy patties). Also, Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable Burritos, which are surprisingly tasty and nutritious, have been a there’s-not-enough-time-in-the-day staple for me for a long time.
American Flatbread Ionian Awakening Pizza
I always keep a few American Flatbread pizzas in the freezer as a back up when grocery shopping or cooking dinner simply can’t happen. They originally started in my home state of Vermont, so I’ve been a fan for years. I love that they use only organic, all-natural ingredients and no preservatives and that they make all the pizza in a wood-burning oven. It feels and tastes much healthier than ordering a pizza, and Ionian Awakening with olives, four cheeses (including feta), and red onion is my favorite, like a Greek Salad minus the greens.
(Photo: American Flatbread)
Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger
My favorite quick meals involve a salad comprised of whatever green veggies I have on hand (I usually have a few bags of frozen produce on hand at all times) topped with a Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger. They’re super-clean, flavorful, and filling. Pro tip: Thaw them for 15–20 minutes and then cook them in a pan on your stove top to give them a crispy outer layer. They pair amazingly well with fresh lemon juice and EVOO.
(Photo: Facebook/Dr. Praeger’s)
Amy’s Southwestern Burrito
When I first started working in Manhattan, I had a terrible commute. There were a few friends whose apartments I would crash at regularly, so I made a habit of keeping Amy’s Burritos in their freezers so I wouldn’t eat $1 pizza slice or blow all my money on something healthier. They’re hearty and filling, thanks to good doses of both fiber and protein, and contain no preservatives or trans fat lurking inside. Plus, I’m a sucker for Mexican food, and these are a solid substitute for the fresh stuff.