Traditionalist Bird

Are Frozen Meals really that Unhealthy?

I realized I am getting a bit tired of constantly hearing from traditionalists “unhealthy frozen meals”. You know those awful career women who have no time to cook and rather have to turn to “unhealthy frozen meals”. So, this prompted some research—are frozen meals really THAT bad? My theory was traditionalists, like with so many other things, are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to frozen meals. They don’t think that quality could have progressed over the years and are rather left with gross memories of Banquet, Hungry Man, and Swanson products.
I won’t give a long list of links, but if you do your own googling you will see there are plenty of articles saying frozen meals can be healthy if you are smart about it. Isn’t that how it is with so many things? Its not black and white. Not ALL frozen meals are unhealthy as traditionalists make it out to be, rather you got to use your noggin! Here is one article for a start.
“Long derided for being full of artificial preservatives and sodium, frozen meals have undergone a healthy renaissance in recent years. “Frozen meals have changed into integrating more whole grains and more superfoods, like kale, beans and lentils,” says Bethany Doerfler, RD, LDN, and a clinical research dietician at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.”
Its true. There is a huge line of products that have much better ingredients than the “olden” days. Here is a list.
There are many other lists out there of the good brands.
One brand that I enjoy is Evol. Especially this one.
The ingredients:
black beans, rice, beef (beef raised without antibiotics, potato starch, sea salt), bell peppers, cilantro lime pesto (cilantro, canola oil, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, black pepper), corn, cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), lime juice, cilantro, salt, spices.
Yes, as you can see very unhealthy indeed!
Compare that to Banquet’s Salisbury Steak Ingredients (what I imagine traditionalists are picturing):
Gravy (Water, Modified Food Starch, Flavorings, Monosodium Glutamate, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein with Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Caramel Color, Dried Whey), Water, Salisbury Steak Patty (Beef, Pork, Water, Dehydrated Onion, Textured Soy Flour, Bread Crumbs {Bleached Wheat Flour [Enriched with Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid}, Durum Flour, Leavening {Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate}, Yeast], Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Caramel Color, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Flavoring), Corn, Dehydrated Potatoes (Potatoes, Mono- and Diglycerides from Vegetable Oil, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bisulfite, Citric Acid, BHT), Soybean Oil, Salt, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sugar.
That speaks for itself.
So, the larger message here is before taking every word a godly woman says as gospel, do your own research. Not every frozen meal is terrible. Use your own mind and do your own research rather than relying on godly mentors to do it for you. The right frozen meals are great to have on hand when sick, migraines, or when you would rather spend extra time with your children than use that time on cooking.
Let those who have fingers google.
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18 thoughts on “Are Frozen Meals really that Unhealthy?

  1. Eavan said:

    “I’ve been front and center for some tragic meltdowns in women who tried to meet all these requirements. If a woman homeschools that has to be the main thing – only a person who never really did it (a homeschooler isn’t really a person who keeps one kid out of school for a year or two) could think it’s possible to homeschool well while cooking from scratch, making your own clothes, growing your own food, possibly running a home business, effectively disciplining, and meeting all your husband’s needs, all while being pregnant every few years. Something has to give and too often it’s the woman. This is just ridiculous utopian thinking. People have real limitations – they’re not a figment of the imagination born out of laziness!”

    Right.

    As in every other area of life, one has to prioritize and budget. What is the primary thing? What comes second? Third? Etc.

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  2. Agh! The burdens women put on each other!

    I’ve been front and center for some tragic meltdowns in women who tried to meet all these requirements. If a woman homeschools that has to be the main thing – only a person who never really did it (a homeschooler isn’t really a person who keeps one kid out of school for a year or two) could think it’s possible to homeschool well while cooking from scratch, making your own clothes, growing your own food, possibly running a home business, effectively disciplining, and meeting all your husband’s needs, all while being pregnant every few years. Something has to give and too often it’s the woman. This is just ridiculous utopian thinking. People have real limitations – they’re not a figment of the imagination born out of laziness!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elspeth, I do that once a month or once a week cooking, too. It was a huge relief to me and it made my days WAY easier, then the entire family complained and I ended up throwing away tons of food because nobody would eat it but me.

    I only ever do it once in a while because frankly, it takes setting aside an entire day to do it. So I save that for the times when my schedule is so swamped that I just won’t have time to cook. To be honest, it’s been a while because my daughters usually step in at least a couple of days a week to cook when I have things planned that disrupt my ability to cook dinner.

    But when I do it, it’s meals lasagna, chicken enchiladas, things that are meaty and cheesy and that everyone likes to eat. That, or seasoning, cooking, pre-portioning, and freezing meat which is easy to quickly stir fry into some veggies and serve up with a roll for a fast tasty meal.

    There are all kinds of ways to feed you family well without the necessity of being locked inside, chained to the stove all day as a signal of virtue. I’d argue that it does mom and kids good to get out sometimes even if it means a dinner time shortcut.

    I don’t stock in Wal-mart, LOL, but a rotisserie chicken from Sam’s club for $5 along with a bag of salad and some dinner rolls will feed 6 people a tasty, wholesome meal for under $10.

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  4. Yes, Evol is about $3.50 when on sale at Target. The cheapest I see Lean Cuisine and the like is $2.00 and the quality and super small portion just doesn’t make it worth it for me. I agree there is a great case to avoid frozen meals if its purely a cost issue, but for those saying they are unhealthy, it is on that point that I disagree.

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  5. You can get fed up but you have to hold it all in and suffer in silence. It’s a virtue. If you complain or merely express your feelings you are an ungrateful feminist.

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  6. “One brand that I enjoy is Evol. Especially this one.
    The ingredients: black beans, rice, beef (beef raised without antibiotics, potato starch, sea salt), bell peppers, cilantro lime pesto (cilantro, canola oil, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, black pepper), corn, cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), lime juice, cilantro, salt, spices.”

    This one is expensive, though. I’ve seen it in the stores. I can’t afford them. When we get frozen meals, we get the inexpensive kind, which I’ll admit are not that great. But they fill a need and I refuse to beat myself up over keeping pizzas and chcken nuggets and frozen potatoes in the freezer.

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  7. “There is an old apple tree right next to my house with tons and tons of apples on it…but unfortunately, the tree has some sort of bitter rot or something, so the ambitious forager-to-be in me was sorely disappointed when she went to scope it out.”

    So much for the romance of back to the land. I would so love a great juicy apple off a tree, too. I, on the other hand, DO have those oranges in my backyard she talks about (and grapefruit, too), but I live in an area where they grow well, and additionally my husband has a real green thumb. He can make a tomato grow out of a bag of cement. That’s the only reason why. Otherwise I’d be buying them at the store with the rest of the hoods who have jobs outside the home. 🙂

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  8. I wish that woman would live in our shoes just one day…..she never really did, and it rankles.

    Elspeth, I do that once a month or once a week cooking, too. It was a huge relief to me and it made my days WAY easier, then the entire family complained and I ended up throwing away tons of food because nobody would eat it but me. I finally got fed up and went on strike for a couple of days because I was so sick of listening to my family complain. I didn’t cook a thing. Didn’t accomplish much, as everyone continued to complain, but I suppose that’s because I’m not “godly” enough and a better cook. (Which is why RedPillGirl’s gossip about the woman with the Italian mother-in-law in “A Blue Pill Tale” REALLY rankled me…..that girl coulda been me, always trying to meet standards I simply couldn’t meet and then getting slammed when you couldn’t achieve it, or finally got fed up…..apparently, “godly” women never get fed up with people’s complaints….wait, they get fed up, they just lecture to others about how they are supposed to behave instead of throw down some boundaries and say they refuse to be treated like that anymore.)

    Nicky — I grew up without a lot of things in a box, but here’s the clincher: the lecturers who lecture you on how bad the stuff in a box is for you aren’t getting up to help. On the occasions when they DO get up to help, it’s to show you up and tell you that they have to do it because it’s obvious you are a complete failure. Not saying you’ve had this experience, but ignore all the “godly” lectures. You’re doing fine. You’re loving your little ones, and that’s the most important thing right now. Frozen dinners in a box never killed anyone, neither did sandwiches for dinner or cereal. I’m so sick of these people.

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  9. Or we could have just had a fluke year, who knows.

    You could have just had a fluke year or you could be experiencing the normal lowered immune response that comes from not getting enough sleep. You DID just have a baby.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to deem the frozen meals or restaurant trips the culprit of whatever health stuff you all have dealt with. You don’t need that guilt.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We’ve also eaten more meals out than ever too (thanks to generous in-laws, in that regard) and so that also I think has contributed to less-than-ideal health. Or we could have just had a fluke year, who knows.

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  11. Last night I made my own roasted chicken…and the side was frozen French fries. I had to do what worked with the time I had.

    Not sure where the idea that beans in a can cost less than cooking your own. You can buy a pound of dried beans for like $1, which makes, I dunno, 5-6 times the amount in one can. Even adding in the electricity used from having them in a crockpot all day would be minuscule. But I definitely have cans of beans at the ready for when I need them.

    The very idea that we could just grab oranges from our trees in our yard if we would ‘just stay home’ is HILARIOUS. There is an old apple tree right next to my house with tons and tons of apples on it…but unfortunately, the tree has some sort of bitter rot or something, so the ambitious forager-to-be in me was sorely disappointed when she went to scope it out.

    I have used more and more frozen meals than ever before since I had no. 4. I would definitely say I’ve noticed a decline in our family’s health, but I still don’t have this cooking-for-6-people thing down yet, and sooo…yeah, I’ve learned to have some grace for myself.

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  12. That brings up a funny point. If you cook something from scratch then freeze it, is it still from scratch? Or did it lose its holy properties at 32 degrees and cross over to the dark side?

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  13. During seasons of extreme business I have been known to spend a Saturday cooking up 10 meals or so, and then freezing them for later use on the busy days. Just thaw and bake, like the ones from the store.

    Does that count?

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  14. I wonder what those women of olden days would say when we have all these time saving products, often reasonably priced, but don’t use them because well you aren’t godly unless its made from scratch.

    Further thought –this relates to the post I wrote about how women don’t go to older Titus II women for advice because rather they have google.
    If one based their opinions solely on Lori they would be misinformed and come away thinking all frozen meals are unhealthy, a near sin.

    In the information age, women like to hear all sides. They do their research. And that is why young women don’t lean on the Titus II women like the olden days.

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  15. IB,
    Yes, great points. Lori often says women should stay home so they can figure out how to live cheaply, grow own food,etc., but I think a lot of women have figured this out already. Costco and most grocery stores sell those already cooked whole chickens for like $5 or $6. A raw one costs more than that, not to mention the time you spend preparing and cooking. Sorry, put I place a premium on my time. Lori has said working women are deprived because they can’t pluck an orange off their orange tree every morning and make fresh squeezed orange juice(not to mention the majority of women don’t even live in areas where there are orange trees). Imagine the unhealthy woman who is forced to drink bottled orange juice. Oh, the horror! Funny thing though is orange juice isn’t that great for you with all the sugar it contains.

    Its also like making clothes from scratch. It costs way more to buy your own material and put in your time to sew than it does to go to goodwill and buy that $6 dress.
    In the “olden” days where traditionalists are stuck doing things from scratch, making your own clothes made more sense when frozen veggies just weren’t readily available.
    Oh another example is shredded cheese. Some think its more expensive to buy it that way in a bag. Its not. Its a huge time saver to buy it already shredded and even if it does cost more I will pay more for the trade of having more time, which then goes to the kids and husband.

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  16. LOL! I love this. It’s somewhat funny, nearly everything we eat is in the freezer. So when people say “frozen meals,” I’m kind of left scratching my head. Ah, they’re speaking of TV dinners.

    Something else often left out of the discussion is cost. Often it is far more expensive cooking things from scratch. There is also the price of fuel and electricity. Beans for example, you can buy a can of them on sale for about 50 cents. Or you can spend all day cooking them yourself for about 3 times the price.

    I love to cook things from scratch, but the truth of the matter is that many of those items are available for us at a better price already made. While nothing matches my own homemade ravioli, buying the frozen kind already made is about 1/3 the cost. Fried chicken is another one, we have a chicken place here and it costs less than actually buying a whole chicken and cooking it yourself.

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  17. Yes that is true too. I’ve read that you don’t really loose any nutrition in frozen veggies. Reasonable people get this. Only the godly think if it’s not from your own garden you might as well eat candy corn instead.

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