Is Healthy Choice Really Healthy?
Are you one of the many people trying to lose weight with frozen meals? If so, you're probably used to the mind-boggling frozen food aisle, with brands like Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Smart Ones now sharing space with many new competitors.
But there's a good reason why Healthy Choice is still one of the top dogs when it comes to frozen meals, and the answer is right in their name. They have some of the healthiest frozen meals on the market!
Fun fact: Frozen food companies are not allowed to use terms like "healthy" unless they meet very specific nutritional qualifications.
So if you're looking to lose weight with Healthy Choice meals, we're happy to let you know that you've come to the right place.
Healthy Choice frozen meals are low calorie, between 190-470 calories, and portion-controlled, which is why so many dieters use them to stay on track with their health goals.
Let's dive deeper to discover just how healthy Healthy Choice actually is.
Sodium is essential to any diet, but too much can be scary. And supermarket frozen meals are notorious for containing tons of salt. They use it to help recipes taste better and, of course, as a preservative.
Thankfully, Healthy Choice, doesn't overload their meals with sodium like most frozen food companies do.
So, how much sodium do Healthy Choice meals typically have?
On average, a Healthy Choice frozen meal has about 530 mg of sodium, which is the ideal amount if you're trying to lose weight or stick to a low sodium diet.
In fact, all Healthy Choice meals clock in at 600 mg of sodium or less. But if you want to limit your sodium as much as possible, try the Healthy Choice Unwrapped Burrito Bowl, which only has 350 mg of sodium.
Low sodium frozen meals are why Healthy Choice may be good for weight loss, but sometimes lacking in flavor. After all, how successful can you be on a diet plan if the food doesn't taste good?
Most Healthy Choice fans, however, voice their opinions and there are quite a few delicious meals that still have low sodium counts. The Meatball Marinara, for example, is a great tasting entrée and contains less than 500 mg of sodium.
The average American only eats about 10-15 grams of fiber a day, a big no-no if you're trying to lose weight. Not only does fiber boost your digestive health, but it'll help you lose more weight in the long run. More fiber means you'll be fuller longer and have less cravings, exactly what you need when following a healthy diet plan.
In general, the best frozen meals for weight loss ought to have at least 5 grams of fiber, if not more.
But are Healthy Choice frozen meals full of fiber?
Luckily for dieters everywhere, Healthy Choice meals actually contain an average of 5 grams of fiber each.
If you're looking for high fiber meals for weight loss, opt for the White Bean & Feta Salad, with a generous 16 grams of fiber. Or try the Adobo Chicken Bowl, which contains 8 grams of fiber.
Not every Healthy Choice frozen meal is full of fiber, though. The Kung Pao Chicken and the Beef Teriyaki only have about 2-3 grams of fiber, so pass on these frozen meals if you're dieting. Or at least add a side salad or roasted vegetables to boost the fiber content.
It's not surprising how often frozen food companies use sugar to enhance the taste of frozen meals, especially since the average American consumer expects some sweetness. But no matter how you slice it, sugar is terrible for dieting and your overall wellness.
Frozen meals with high amounts of sugar may taste good, but they're not ultimately worth the calories. So, if your health goals include weight loss, you should stick to frozen meals that contain less than 8 grams of sugar.
Are Healthy Choice frozen meals high in sugar?
Well, there's some good news and bad news. Though you'll find many Healthy Choice meals that contain about 7 grams of sugar, there's actually over 30 meals that contain more than that!
For example, the Sweet & Sour Chicken and Mango Edamame contain 20+ grams of sugar. Not to mention the Honey Glazed Turkey & Sweet Potatoes or the Barbecue Seasoned Steak with Red Potatoes, which both have 18 grams of sugar.
Instead, try the Chicken Feta & Farro, Creamy Chicken & Mushroom, and the Grilled Chicken Pesto with Vegetables, which all have 2 grams of sugar or less.
So, in a world where organic and whole foods are more popular than ever, has Healthy Choice ditched the chemical-laden frozen food recipes of the past and created meals with real ingredients? Well, it all depends on which line of meals we're talking about!
Healthy Choice offers 5 lines of meals: Classics, Café Steamers, Simply Steamers, Simply Steamers with Organic Ingredients, and their latest Power Bowls.
So, which Healthy Choice meals have the best ingredients?
The clear winners when it comes to wholesome, natural ingredients are the Simply Steamers with Organic Ingredients, with recipes like the Creamy Spinach and Tomato Linguini, Channa Masala, and the Sweet & Spicy Asian-Style Noodle Bowl, among others.
In fact, you won't find any chemicals or preservatives in any of the Simply Steamers with Organic Ingredients, making this line of Healthy Choice meals one of the best for health and weight loss.
The Healthy Choice Power Bowls also have impressive ingredients lists. With the exception of "natural flavorings," which could literally mean anything, these frozen meals contain real ingredients anyone can recognize.
As for the other lines of meals, avoid the Healthy Choice Classics, such as the Meatloaf and Country Fried Chicken. These frozen meals contain potentially toxic ingredients such as BHT, disodium bisulfite (a type of sulfite), and "natural flavorings."
Dieters and other health-conscious people should also avoid some of the Healthy Choice Café Steamers, since they can contain carrageenan, caramel color, and high fructose syrup.
If you're still wondering if Healthy Choice frozen meals are actually healthy, then just do a quick comparison with what else is on the market and you'll quickly become a Healthy Choice fan.
With low sodium, low sugar, and high fiber meals, Healthy Choice is a brand you definitely want to consider if dieting is on your mind.
Even if you're not interested in weight loss, Healthy Choice's natural ingredients make them a key player in the healthy frozen meal game.
But the trick to remember is that not all of the frozen meals offered by Healthy Choice are great for health and weight loss. In fact, there are a few frozen entrées that are quite high in sugar or too low in fiber to keep you full for very long.
Another thing to watch out for are the ingredients lists: some frozen meals sneak in potentially risky ingredients like BHT, carrageenan, and whatever they might use for their "natural flavorings."
If you really want to enjoy the very best Healthy Choice meals, find their Power Bowls and Simply Steamers Made with Organic Ingredients. Frozen meals from these lines of Healthy Choice offer the very best ingredients and are typically low in sodium and high in fiber.
Frozen food companies, especially Healthy Choice, are well aware of the trends towards organic and whole foods. And the response to these trends have not only been delicious, but healthy!
This is exciting for those interested in weight loss, since this means more variety of frozen meals that are equally affordable as they are convenient.
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