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Diet Tips: Take out or frozen dinners? For the health and diet conscious with no time to cook

This particular question has been on the back of my mind for a while now, because simply put, I’ve just gotten so busy I’ve had less and less time to cook and actually look after my diet with healthy home cooked meals especially for lunch.

I admit it 🙁 I’m getting a bit slack in this area!

So what is a girl to do??

Do I eat out?? Or do I buy boxed meals??

I guess the real answer is, it depends, but for me generally there are some great boxed meal options if your looking for ways to add convenience into your diet.  As much as I would love to cook every single meal, my day job and blogging has taken up so much of my times sometimes I’m simply just running around trying to do everything I said I’d do.

In fact I’m sitting here writing this blog entry during my lunch break while eating a healthy boxed meal (thank goodness).

So instead of just taking my word for it, lets have a look at the pros and cons or choosing the boxed meal option vs. the takeout option.

The pros of choosing the boxed meal are the following:

Labels keep you well informed

You know exactly what you are getting, the nutrition boxes at the back of each frozen dinner can give you a great step up in terms of choosing the right meal. It will tell you how many calories, fat, and sodium each meal continues which meals you can make an informed decision about what you eat, instead of just having it served to you, not knowing what exactly went into your meal.

Remember: A tablespoon of oil can mean an extra 120 calories in your diet, and this can easily be reached by a restaurant that are a little bit free with the oil use.

Portion sizes are controlled

For those of you that have previously read through and watched my diet tip videos, you will know how passionate I am about portion sizes. In general I have noticed that the portion sizes of frozen dinners are considerably smaller than take out portion sizes and this will make your waist line happy!

Remember: When have take out, you can always ask for less noodles, rice or salt as well so don’t be afraid to customise your meal for a healthier option

It’s cheaper

In Australia, frozen dinners tend to be cheaper then takeout. This may not be true in your particular country, but here there are always great discounts and specials that run regularly on frozen meals. On average I pay between $3-$4 per frozen meal, and wouldn’t spend more then that. I just stock up during a sale so that it will last.

Remember: Frozen dinners are not a replacement for healthy cooking, but it is a great option that is economical, if you were going to eat out anyways. Save the money and get healthier with a well chosen frozen meal.

Freezing actually keeps your food fresh


Contrary to popular belief, freezing food actually does not degrade much mineral or vitamin benefits as many people believe. Here is a excerpt from the worlds healthiset food site which is a not for profit organisation that researches into food:

“You do lose some flavor when food is frozen but freezing can be a very good way to preserve the nutritional value, texture and flavor of many foods. The initial quality of the food and the length of time between harvest and freezing are important factors. As long as the food was grown in a high-quality way (for example, organically grown) and was fairly fresh at the time of freezing, the overall nutrient retention in a frozen food can be quite high. In other words, many of the vitamins and minerals will keep fairly well in frozen foods.”

In fact it goes on to explain that it is actually the freshness of the food before it was frozen and cooking process e.g. boiling the veggies that makes the veggies that make the food lose nutritional benefits. But if you were going to boil your vegetables anyways in your cooking process, you’d also lose nutrition in the process so it has no real connection to the freezing of the food, but more to do with how the food is prepared. 
This means it’s very important to choose a brand that freezes their food fresh. You may do some research into the particular brand you are going to buy to find this out. 
In addition it’s the “thawing” process that degrades a lot of vitamin C benefits, so make sure you are cooking your food straight from the freezer as opposed to letting it defrost first.

It can be your answer to beautiful skin!

Don’t look past frozen fruit as well! This can be a great way to enjoy fruits especially if you are like me and are horrible at finishing it before it rots or goes bad. It can get very expensive replacing fruit that you don’t eat especially when the fruits are expensive, and it’s also much healthier then eating it from those syruppy sugar heavy fruit cups.
Frozen fruit is also a great way to conviniently make smoothies! I show you a nice berry tea recipe in my video 🙂

We have some great diet options

Visiting the frozen meal aisle can be eye opening and there are some really great products that give you at least 2 serves of veggies, fat free and diet options. And the great thing is brands are innovating and coming up with great options everyday!
Please see my video for two of the ones I’m enjoying now 😉

If you have healthy takeout options such as salads there is no reason why you can’t east them, but instead of grabbing a burger and fries next time, consider a frozen dinner or meal instead for lunch or for dinner.
I highly encourage you to cook as much as possible because I love cooking and I think it’s an amazing skill to learn and practice, but there are times where we have to admit we just simply don’t have time to and finding the best alternative in that situation can keep us on track with our weight management. 
If you have any tips as well for healthy frozen meal options tell me your favourite brands below :)!!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Honey Tan @ ihearthoneytan.com
    October 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I would premake my food for later. You can control the way it's spiced that way (don't want too much salt in your food in the states many frozen dinners have a lot of salt) There are a lot of times I use left overs for lunch.

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