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5 Things to Look for When Choosing TV Dinners

By Brandi Swieter 

Health experts have grouped TV dinners with the list of foods to avoid. Many are unhealthy for the body and do not contain enough nutritional value to make them worthwhile. Even with meat and veggies in the mix, most of these meals have far too high amounts of calories, sodium, and sugar to even be considered OK to eat. That is, unless a person finds some healthier options that avoid such high levels of these things. When searching for a TV dinner, be sure to look for some important criteria before making a selection.

Less Than 500 Calories

No dinner should ever surpass the 500-calorie mark. That is way too many calories to consume in just one sitting. Many meals do contain calories of a higher number, however. Some TV dinners have upwards of 800 calories yet never fill a person completely due to the lack of nutrition. Anyone in need of a fast frozen meal should be on the lookout for options with fewer than 500 calories. Sticking to 300 or 400 would be even better.

Less Than 800 Milligrams of Sodium

Sodium is one of the biggest problems with pre-packaged dinners. Many contain over 1,000 milligrams, taking up the full daily value recommended. People searching for a meal should stick with options that contain less than 800 milligrams of sodium. This limits the unhealthy salt intake that can cause damage to the heart, and keeps it below a full day’s worth of the recommended value.

High Amount of Protein

Protein is necessary for the body for a number of reasons, one being that it simply keeps people feeling full. A meal higher in protein will suffice for the night. A meal without much protein to it will have people eating again soon after. Find TV dinners with high amounts of protein, such as 10 grams or more. It will keep a person satisfied longer.

High Percentage of Daily Recommended Values for Vitamins

The vitamins and nutrients found in frozen meals can be beneficial for the body, but many are only available in small amounts. The healthiest meal options will have vitamins and nutrients with a high percentage toward the daily recommended value. With 10 percent or more of a certain vitamin, people can see they’re getting a good dose of something nutritious.

Few Grams of Sugar

Some meals contain a high amount of sugar. Fewer grams of sugar are found in healthier frozen meal choices. There should be just a few grams, such as 3 or 4, for a healthy choice. Anything with more than 10 grams shouldn’t even be up for consideration.

Brands such as Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, and Saffron Road meet this criteria with many of their meals. Choose only those TV dinners that have the features you’re looking for and skip over the rest. Too many are high in fat, calories, and sodium, making them extremely unhealthy to consume, especially on a regular basis. Healthier frozen meal choices do exist as long as people know what to look for when buying them. You're never too old -- or too healthy -- to start reading the labels.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Phoenix, Ariz.

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