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25 Cheap Frozen Foods That Are Actually Good for You

DronG / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DronG / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Healthy frozen dinners might once have been a contradiction in terms, but that’s so last century. Whether you’re limiting meat, fat and carbs, or maximizing your intake of healthy fiber and nutrients, there are now plenty of convenient, inexpensive options filling the freezer cases of the nation’s supermarkets. Interesting ingredient options are increasingly available, too, from popular superfoods to new takes on old standbys like cauliflower.

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Most of the choices compiled here are under $6 per package and a healthy option when you’re looking to start cooking. The more expensive items will make multiple servings. We’ve detailed the prices and where you can find these frozen entrees, vegetables, fruits and sides at some of the nation’s chain stores as well as regional stores.

See how buying frozen foods can inspire healthy eating and save you money.

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1. Edamame

Cost: $3.99 (Trader Joe’s)[x]

In the pod or out, these tender and tasty immature soybeans make a fine snack or side dish. A single serving contains a quarter of your day’s vitamin C and three grams of protein, but no cholesterol and a scant 20 milligrams of sodium.

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2. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken Cashew Stir Fry

Cost: $3.58 (Walmart) [x]

This is pretty virtuous as ready meals go, with no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors and no gluten. The tasty Asian-inspired meal provides a full 14 grams of protein per serving, along with 40% of your day’s vitamin A requirement and only 2 grams of fat. [x]

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3. Brussels Sprouts

Cost: $1.69 (Kroger)[x]

Bring out these tasty, tiny cabbages all year round, not just when you’re making a holiday turkey. A portion of Brussels sprouts packs 11% of your day’s fiber needs and 90% of your vitamin C, but only 45 calories and just 15 milligrams of sodium. Luckily, Brussels sprouts are inexpensive and heart-healthy.

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4. Boca All-American Burgers

Cost: $3.46 (Walmart)[x]

If you’re looking for the protein of a hamburger without all the saturated fat, these little beauties might just fit the bill. Their 14 grams of protein compare closely to a burger of the same size, with plenty of calcium and iron as well but only 4.5 grams of fat.

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5. Sliced Peaches

Cost: $2.68 (Walmart)[x]

Fresh, ripe peaches are one of the summer’s great delights, but they’re so fragile — and peak season is so short — that frozen is a good option for anyone who lives outside of peach-growing country. A 1-cup portion of frozen peaches accounts for just 80 calories, but provides 8% of your day’s fiber, nearly four times your daily vitamin C requirement, and smaller but still valuable quantities of other vitamins and minerals.

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6. Amy’s Whole Meals Cheese Enchilada

Cost: $5.89 (Target) [x]

This is serious comfort food that just happens to be pretty healthy as well. The single-serving container packs 16 grams of protein, 21% of your day’s fiber, and plenty of calcium and iron as well.

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7. Organic Chopped Kale

Cost: $3.69 (Trader Joe’s) [x]

Frozen kale won’t work in a salad, but it’s great in soups, smoothies and stir-fries, and — unlike the fresh kind — you don’t have to worry about it spoiling in your crisper drawer. Even in frozen form it’s a nutritional powerhouse, providing a whole day’s worth of vitamin A along with healthy amounts of calcium, vitamin C and iron. You’ll save even more if you try growing your own kale and then freezing it.

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8. Saffron Road Palak Paneer

Cost: $5.99 (Whole Foods)[x]

India’s largely vegetable-based cuisine boasts thousands of tasty dishes, many of them available in the form of healthy frozen meals. This one with cheese and spinach in a flavorful sauce over basmati rice provides 14% of your day’s fiber requirement, half of your vitamin A and 37% each of your daily needs for calcium and vitamin C.

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9. Organic Riced Cauliflower

Cost: $2.29 (Target) [x]

The key to low-carb meals is healthy replacements for your favorite starchy foods, and one of the best frozen foods in that role is riced cauliflower. A serving contains zero fat and just 4 grams of total carbs, and it checks in with 45% of your day’s requirement for vitamin C as well.

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10. Cafe Steamers Pineapple Chicken

Cost: $3.12 (Walmart) [x]

There’s a lot to like in this Asian-inspired meal, starting with its bright, bold flavors. If you look further, you’ll find a substantial 16 grams of protein, 11% of your day’s fiber, 30% of your vitamin C, and substantial quantities of important trace minerals including phosphorus, selenium and manganese.

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11. Great Value Root Blends

Cost: $2.68 (Walmart) [x]

This pack is filled with pre-sliced beets, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes, and it’s ready to heat up in the oven or on the stovetop. Each bag contains about seven servings – only 50 calories and no fat per serving – and can add nutrition as a side dish or as part of a recipe.

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12. Lean Cuisine Spa Collection Butternut Squash Ravioli

Cost: $3.99 (Target) [x]

As healthy frozen dinners go, there’s a lot to like about this one. It’s creamy comfort food that somehow packs 14% of your day’s fiber and 15% of your calcium into one serving yet has just 300 calories and only seven grams of fat.

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13. Frozen Mango Chunks

Cost: $9.99 (Fred Meyer) [x]

Available in numerous brands, frozen mango pieces are ready at any time to go into baked goods, smoothies, salsas, chutneys and more. At Fred Meyer, the Private Selection tropical mango chunks are frozen ripe and ready to use. Each serving contains 7% of your day’s fiber needs, along with 60% of your vitamin C and plenty of trace minerals as well.

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14. Kashi Blueberry Waffles

Cost: $4.38 (Walmart) [x]

Healthy frozen breakfasts are harder to find than dinners, but Kashi’s frozen blueberry waffles are a shining exception. Made with whole wheat, two waffles offer up 13 grams of protein, 11% of your day’s fiber needs and the healthy antioxidants of blueberries, but only 210 calories.

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15. Frozen Pomegranate Arils

Cost: $6.99 (Albertsons) [x]

Jewel-like pomegranate seeds make a beautiful addition to your meals, but fiddling with fresh pomegranates is time-consuming. The frozen arils make a convenient alternative, and still pack plenty of antioxidant power — and 24% of your day’s fiber requirement — in one serving.

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16. Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai

Cost: $5.79 (Whole Foods) [x]

This vegetarian take on the Thai classic is ideal for Meatless Monday, drawing its protein from tofu and peanuts and served with rice noodles. That’s no sacrifice, with a healthy 15 grams of protein per portion but only 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

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17. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries

Cost: $5.39 (Target) [x]

Fries aren’t the healthiest of side dishes, but oven-baked sweet potato fries are the exception to that rule. A serving of these addictively tasty fries has only 140 calories and 5 grams of fat but no saturated fat.

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18. Amy’s Organic Mexican Casserole Bowls

Cost: $5.49 (Fred Meyer) [x]

This take on the comfort food classic is made with organic white corn masa and black beans along with sweet golden corn, tomatoes and olives blended with child peppers and spice. Plus, it’s light in sodium. Each bowl is gluten free and packs 12 grams of protein and 20% each of your day’s iron and calcium.

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19. Gorton’s Classic Grilled Salmon

Cost: $5.99 (Fred Meyer) [x]

As non-vegetable proteins go, grilled, wild-caught salmon is just about the perfect option. Each of these fillets contains just 100 calories, but they’re loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, 19 grams of protein and 40% of your daily requirement for Vitamin D. Take that frozen salmon and turn it into a delicious, and healthy, meal with a salad and a vegetable.

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20. Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Cheese Pizza With a Cauliflower Crust

Cost: $4.99 (Trader Joe’s) [x]

Low-carb frozen meals aren’t exactly scarce, but they’re certainly harder to find than the conventional variety. Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust cheese pizza scratches the comfort food and convenience itches, while providing 14 grams of protein per portion, 11% of your day’s fiber and 20% of your calcium requirement.

Spice up that pizza and give it a home-cooked touch by baking a cracked egg on top.

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21. Diced Butternut Squash

Cost: $1.74 (Walmart) [x]

Rock-hard winter squashes aren’t the easiest vegetables to prepare, so buying them already diced and frozen makes it a lot simpler to include them in your diet. Added to soups and smoothies or roasted as a side dish, butternut squash adds fiber to your diet and contains no fat. Roasting veggies like butternut squash is an impressive way to serve this affordable food.

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22. Boneless and Skinless Tilapia

Cost: $11.99 (Kroger) [x]

If your dietary goals skew to low fat but plenty of protein, Kroger’s tilapia could be the foundation of your dream meal. The bag contains eight individually wrapped skinless, boneless and farm-raised tilapia filets that are low in fat — just 2 grams – with no carbs and 23 grams of protein.

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23. Organic Dark Sweet Cherries

Cost: $3.29 (Kroger) [x]

Cherries are a longtime favorite for their flavor, but they’re even more valued now that we know the anthocyanins that give them their vivid color are powerful antioxidants. Cherries are low in calories and have no fat, and they have plenty of other nutrients, plus vitamins and minerals.[x]

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24. Healthy Choice Cajun-Style Chicken and Shrimp

Cost: $3.29 (Giant) [x]

Poultry and shellfish play nicely together, especially in flavorful meals like this lean offering. It’s super-light, at only 220 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, but boasts 15 grams of protein, 11% of your day’s fiber, and significant quantities of vitamins and important minerals.

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25. Frozen Beans

Cost: $1.54 (Walmart) [x]

Dry beans require advance planning and canned beans are high in sodium, so frozen beans can be the best way to enjoy one of these unusually nutritious — and virtuous — legumes. A half-cup of baby limas contains 20% of your day’s fiber needs with just 90 calories and no grams of fat, and in some areas, you might find ready-to-use frozen black beans or pintos as well.

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Please note photos are for illustrative and representational purposes only. Some might not depict the frozen dishes listed in this article.

Pricing is accurate as of Jan. 11, 2023, and is subject to change.