A New Generation of Frozen Meals

Bryan Lockley- Frozen Meals


I know what you must be thinking. This is a site about fitness and nutrition. He can’t possibly be advising us to eat frozen meals, can he? Well, no- not exactly. I recently switched to a plant-based diet to support my active lifestyle and I am a huge advocate for eating healthy. However, I also realize that not everyone’s lifestyle is compatible with mine. For busy people constantly on the go, it isn’t always practical to prepare fresh, all-natural meals. So popping a quick frozen meal into the microwave every now and then may be your only option. However, even with frozen meals, you do have the option to eat relatively healthy.

In general, frozen entrees are quick, easy, and convenient. You have hundreds to choose from- they take up practically a whole aisle in the grocery store! The challenge, according to WebMD, “is to find frozen meals that you enjoy, that will satisfy your hunger, and won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts.” Believe it or not, there are some pretty healthy options out there if you know what to look for. But knowing what to look for means carefully reading nutrition labels, so it will take a little effort on your part. As a general frame of reference, there are two categories of “healthy” frozen meals: light meals which are less than 300 calories and contain no more than 8 grams of fat, and regular frozen meals which are between 360-400 calories and a maximum of 25 grams of fat. Also consider the portion size of, as some brands deceitfully list the serving size as less than the entire contents of the box.

Gone are the days when frozen meal was synonymous with “TV dinner” and you knew that the picture you saw on the package was definitely not what you got. To make it easier for you, here are five picks that won’t blow your diet:


  • Evol Butternut Squash and Sage Ravioli

310 calories, 9 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 650 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

This rich, hearty entree is surprisingly pretty healthy! With a creamy sauce, it will definitely be enough to satisfy your hunger and not leave you wanting more. According to Eat This, Not That it is one of the “cleanest and most wholesome pasta dishes” you can find in the freezer section. Plus, this dish delivers 14 grams of protein and a balanced mix of vegetables including kale, squash, and tomatoes.


  • Amy’s Asian Noodle Stir Fry

240 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 680 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

At just 240 calories, this is the lightest option on the list, but with its zesty sauce, organic noodles, and generous serving of vegetables and tofu, it will certainly the spot. Plus, it’s suitable for just about all diets, as it’s gluten free, dairy free, lactose free, tree nut free, vegan and kosher.


  • Trader Joe’s Chicken Tandoori with Spinach

360 calories, 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 1,210mg sodium, 4g fiber

If you don’t live near the awesomeness that is a Trader Joe’s grocery store, then I apologize for including this one on the list. At 360 calories, this is a tasty ethnic option that won’t bust your diet. It is a little sodium heavy, but this is not a bad option overall in a pinch, and with the Trader Joe’s label, you know it’s going to be good quality.


  • Kashi Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

300 calories, 8 g fat, 440 mg sodium, 7 g fiber

This quinoa bowl will satisfy your craving for a starch to accompany your veggies without being loaded with carbs. Quinoa is the healthy alternative to rice and this dish is also a great vegetarian option because it packs in the protein (from the black beans and red quinoa) and flavor (from all the latin spices) without relying on animal products.


  • Lean Cuisine Marketplace Salmon with Basil

260 calories, 8 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 680 mg sodium, 5g fiber

Containing salmon, whole wheat orzo pasta, spinach and carrots in a creamy basil sauce, this light dish does not skimp out on flavor. It offers plenty of variety to keep you satisfied and not leave you still feeling hungry.

Plant-based Bodybuilding

As I recently shared, I’m currently transitioning towards a plant-based diet. My decision to do so was by and large for cardiovascular health concerns. Studies show that those on a plant-based diet are half as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease as well a whole list of issues. Since I’ve made the switch, I’ve gotten a lot of surprise from friends, family, and even clients. Fitness and exercise is my bread-and-butter. I workout everyday and help others achieve the fitness outcomes that they’re shooting for. So when I casually let slip that I’m doing so on a plant-based diet, the general reaction I get is generally like

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Sometimes like

HULU parks and recreation shocked amy poehler shock

And occasionally like

shocked dinosaurs stunned earl sinclair shock

Needless to say, people don’t get it. How could a plant-based diet provide me with the proper amount of protein for my physically rigorous lifestyle?!? Even more, a lot of people imagine how meat could actually be harmful for you.

Now, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to eat. I have specific reason for switching to a plant-based diet. If you would like to continue eating meat, awesome. To help explain my rationale for a plant-based diet, I’ve pointed a number of folks to the below video by Dr. Greger, author of the New York Times Bestseller How Not to Die:

As a rule of thumb, excess cellular growth is not so good for the body. The more times a cells copies itself, the more likely a cell is to get incorrectly copied, and the more likely we are to receive tumors, which may be indicative cancer. Heavy, I know. The thing is that many individuals, like myself, aim for extra cellular growth in the form of gaining muscle mass.

Those who eat a plant-based diet are known to exhibit less of the growth hormone IGF1. This is great because it’s correlated with a decreased risk in cancer, but at the same time it would seem that less of a growth hormone would make building muscle mass an unreachable goal. As it turns out that this isn’t the case.

For more information on Plant-based diets, check out this piece in

Thanks for viewing! If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to drop me a line.

If you haven’t already heard, I’m trying to raise $300 for the Miami Rescue Mission. Checkout my GoFundMe to learn more.

Bryan Lockley

Why You Should Consider Switching to a Plant-Based Diet

Let me start things off by saying that I’m not trying to condemn anyone for eating meet. This isn’t an ethical, environmental piece. This is one about nutrition and heart health. Allow me to explain.

Fruits and vegetables - edited by Bryan Lockley

The more muscle mass you gain, the more your capillaries expand, the more pressure is placed on your heart to meet the demands of all the additional blood flow.

Ideally you’re heart is able to keep up with that blood flow. That is why we do cardio after all. But certain factors make it difficult for your heart to move blood as efficiently as it needs to. For example, low potassium, thyroid imbalance, anemia, or aberrations in the growth of your heart’s valves may lead to arrhythmic conditions (where your heart beats at an abnormal rate), which can in turn lead to some big problems.

I should know. After one particularly grueling workout session, I noticed that my heart was beating irregularly…and it hurt! I ended up needing to be hospitalized overnight. It was big ordeal. On being discharged, the doctor taking care of me recommended that I try out a plant-based diet. It turns out that people who eat mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains are half as likely to be diagnosed with a whole host of health problems including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

It’s been a slow transition, but I’ve noticed that the less meat, dairy, and bread I eat, the better I feel overall.

Aside from heart health, here are some reasons to look into a plant-based diet:

The Challenge

As difficult as it can be sometimes, I love changing up my eating habits. We humans have the gift of potentially living for so many years. Why spend all of that time eating the exact same thing? Switching to a plant-based diet is a great opportunity to change the way that you fuel your body through life. And this happens to have an additional benefit.


“Empathy from eating? What?” There are a number of people who eat plant-based diets. By stepping into their shoes for a period of time, you get to see the world from their eyes.

More Fiber

Fiber is abundant in vegetables, beans, fruits, lentils, and even fruit. Yes, regular bowel movements is one advantage of having a high-fiber diet. But the benefits of fiber go beyond that. Fiber helps your body get rid of bad cholesterol and also keeps you felling fuller, longer.

Diversifying Your Nutrition Portfolio

Vegetables, fruits, and nuts are all rich in varying nutrients from phytochemicals to potassium to antioxidants. In particular, potassium is found in a lot of plant-based foods and it know for reducing the effects of sodium. Although meat carries nutritional benefit as well, its portfolio is not nearly as colorful as that of plant-based foods.

pyramid depicting how to manage a plant-based diet

Lower the Risk of Diabetes

Refined sugar is straight-up bad for you. Unfortunately, it’s in almost any processed food. Chips, breads, drinks, numerous dairy products — all of these have refined sugars in them. Refined sugar is addictive and can lead to diabetes, obesity and even heart complications. If you’re on a plant-based diet you can still get sugars, it’s just that they’ll mostly be coming from fruits and vegetables. What’s worse, the high sweetness of sugars essentially desensitizes your taste buds, making it hard to enjoy the natural sugars that are everywhere. Once you start cutting refined sugars out of your diet, you’ll be able to taste the awesome sweetness of a carrot.

Easier Way to Manage Weight

If you’re just looking at calories, you can get away with eating a lot more vegetables, fruits, and nuts than you can meat. A half of pound of beans will supply will keep you full at a fraction of the caloric cost of half a pound of steak or even bread.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Absolute

If you’re apprehensive about cutting meat completely out of your diet, that’s totally fine. Feel free to adopt a flexitarian or opportunistic carnivore lifestyle. Although I don’t cook meat myself, I will have it if I’m at someone’s house and they’re serving a meal or if I’m really curious about the gourmet burger that my friend is eating at a restaurant.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

Perhaps the greatest part of a trying out a plant-based diet is that, well, that’s all it is. A trial. If you find that a plant-based diet isn’t for you, you can stop at any moment.


I hope you find this illuminating. Again, I highly encourage everyone to try out a plant-based diet. Especially if you’re working out a lot. If you do end up switching to a plant-based diet, I recommend that you consult with your primary care physician. Although the transition usually goes without a hitch, there is the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.


Bryan Lockley