It's eight o'clock and your stomach has been grumbling about your late workday for the last two hours. No time to cook something up from scratch, so what do you do? Swing by the nearest fast food joint? Health experts are arguing that you should make that a trip to the frozen food aisle instead, as prepackaged frozen meals are constantly more nutritional than a quick burger and fries.
That's at least according to a study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which found that regular frozen meal consumers consumed fewer calories, less fat, and more recommended nutrients than people who reported regularly eating out at "quick serve restaurants."
[You can check out an info-graphic showcasing these findings at the bottom of this page.]
It's important to note that while these findings have been peer-reviewed and are considered impartial, the research was supported by Nestlé USA - the same company that is behind name brands like Hot Pockets, DiGiorno's, and Stouffer's ready-made frozen foods.
"The analysis shows adults (19+ years) who reported eating frozen meals have higher daily intakes of more than 12 important nutrients - including protein, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, choline, magnesium and copper - than those who reported eating quick service restaurant meals," co-author Victor L. Fulgoni said in a recent statement.
What's more, frozen meal consumers achieved this heightened nutritional intake while taking on 253 fewer calories and 2.6 grams less saturated fat per day.
"This research is further evidence that frozen meals can play an important role in helping Americans obtain key nutrients of concern highlighted in the US Dietary Guidelines while maintaining calorie and fat levels," added Kim Krumhar, a nutrition expert and Scientific Advisor for Nestlé.
Still, the US Department of Agriculture and even the American Frozen Food Institute will admit that the most surefire way to get your daily nutritional intake is to cook fresh meals and take daily multivitamins. However, when pressed for time, it might not be a bad idea to fish through the freezer, and not a paper bag, for your next hot meal.
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