Find out which ones are worth thawing... and which should be sent to the deep freeze
You don't eat frozen dinners for your health-you eat them because they're easy to prepare. We tried these frozen-dinner options to find the best-tasting and least-damaging brand.
CARBS: 28 g
TOTAL FAT: 15 g
PROTEIN: 14 g
Pro: Banquet's meat loaf is delicious-a Swedish-meatball-like blend of tender ground beef and hearty, flavorful brown gravy, with just the right amount of onions, spices, and salt.
Con: To keep the cost per meal low, Banquet does skimp on portion size. You'll need to either grab something else to eat with this frozen dinner or eat two (in which case, you'll be taking in way more fat than you need).
CARBS: 46 g
TOTAL FAT: 9 g
PROTEIN: 20 g
Pro: In general, Healthy Choice is hit-or-miss, but this dinner is among its best. Portions are large, the steak and sides are good, and you get a fairly tasty apple dessert.
Con: No surprise here-the meal is hospital-food bland. Add some salt and pepper, though, and you're good to go.
CARBS: 19 g
TOTAL FAT: 20 g
PROTEIN: 22 g
Pro: Stouffer's earns points for making an actual mini-loaf of meat-you can even see the brown bits of crust for proof the loaf was baked in an oven. Plus, with visible spices on both the meat and the potatoes, this is the one meal you could actually imagine somebody's mom creating.
Con: A woeful lack of gravy leaves what would be an otherwise tasty meal incredibly dry and hard to swallow.
CARBS: 50 g
TOTAL FAT: 39 g
PROTEIN: 29 g
Pro: Two large slices of meat loaf ensure you won't be leaving this market hungry. Plus, B.M.'s tater-and-gravy combo was among the most satisfying of the bunch.
Con: It's just too much. Too many carbs and way too much fat make this meal, at best, a rare indulgence-but not a regular mealtime staple.
Stouffer's Lean Cuisine
CARBS: 27 g
TOTAL FAT: 7 g
PROTEIN: 20 g
Pro: If you prefer meat loaf with tomatoes rather than gravy, this is the meal to stock up on. Plenty of tomato sauce poured over the meat ensures it also stays nice and juicy.
Con: The sides. Although the packaging claims you're getting fluffy "whipped" potatoes, the gray, chewy, putty-like mess we found was much more sludge than spud.
Weight Watchers Smart Ones
CARBS: 23 g
TOTAL FAT: 8 g
PROTEIN: 22 g
Pro: The dinner is low in calories and has a thick, rich, spice-packed gravy that most tasters appreciated.
Con: The meat-basically just frozen hamburger patties-was somewhat sinewy and covered with weird pockmarks that were so unappetizing, they made the meal almost inedible. The chalky, garlic-herb mashed-potato side was no consolation, either.