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How many calories are in frozen dinners?

Man choosing frozen meal in supermarket freezer

Portion perfection

From calorie-controlled and plant-based to classic pub-style meals, there’s a good range of frozen dinners on offer these days. But while there are plenty of healthy choices, many miss the mark in terms of total kilojoule content. Some offer far too little kilojoules, which can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry again in no time. Others go overboard and contain more kilojoules than you need. Ideally, a healthy frozen meal should contain between 1500 to 2000kJ (360 to 480cal). For context, consuming 8700kJ (2000cal) per day is recommended for weight maintenance. That target drops to 6300kJ (1500cal) a day if you’re trying to lose weight.

Striking the balance

If your go-to frozen dinner choice is a little low in kilojoules, you can make the meal more substantial by serving it with a wholegrain bread roll and a side salad dressed with extra-virgin olive oil. If your favourite ready-made dinner is calorific, consider halving it with a dinner buddy and bulking it out with some steamed veg.

Other nutrition checkpoints

Assessing the kilojoule content is just the starting point for selecting a healthier frozen dinner. On the back of the box, you’re also looking for:

  • A simple ingredients list made of real, whole foods
  • At least 15g hunger-busting protein per serve
  • Less than 5g saturated fat per serve
  • Less than 700mg sodium per serve.
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