Easy Meals v Fresh Meals. a tough one.

Many people ask if it’s OK to have frozen or ready to eat meals. Are frozen meals healthy? It’s a tough question and there is probably not a right or wrong answer.

frozen meals healthyTo give you some background information, the idea for this blog post was sparked when I was talking with a client this week. They have Type 2 Diabetes and we were talking about a new frozen food range on the market. The food range is known as ‘Made For You Foods’ and is specifically targeted at people with Diabetes. For more info on ‘Made For You’ check out their website here.

When speaking with my client I suggested, “perhaps you should check out the new Made For You Foods. They are frozen and should make life easier for you”.

My client replied, “aren’t frozen meals bad for us?  I thought you wanted me to lose weight? That’s not going to happen if I eat them is it.”

So some more background info…. My client (which they freely admit) has quite a nutritionally poor diet. They start off the day OK with breakfast but from then onwards, life takes over. They have an extremely busy lifestyle and are not keen on cooking. At least five days of the week they eat takeaway for lunch and this habit is often repeated for dinner. By takeaway, I mean the usual red and shiny brigade….Macca’s, KFC and Hungry Jacks. In our previous consultations I had suggested some quick and easy meal options for evening dinners. Unfortunately, this did not happen. My client was unable to take that step into food preparation. No matter how small the preparation!

So back to their question: Yes, I did feel those particular frozen meals would probably aid them to lose weight. They are calorie controlled and require no preparation other than pressing the buttons on the microwave.  Not only that, the energy, saturated fat, salt and GI content of the frozen meal would have been much better than the Big Mac, Large Fries and Large Coke they were usually consuming.

So what about the rest of us?
It is my personal and professional opinion, that we should all be going back to basics and cooking from scratch. Irrespective of the food additives in processed foods (which may or may not be a problem), I feel their main downside is they allow us to forget exactly what ingredients goes into a meal.

Think about it. When you have baked or cooked something from scratch, you often have a sense of achievement and if someone asked you how it was prepared, you can recount the ingredients back to them.  On the flip side, can you recount the exact ingredients that goes into a Big Mac? (that includes what goes in the meat pattie, the bun and the sauce!)  So you see.  The further we move away from where food comes from, the harder it is to appreciate food and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

That said, for many people out there, nutritionally balanced frozen meals have got to be a better option than a standard takeaway meal.  I would rather encourage someone to start with that as a building block into taking control of their health. Slowly but surely we can change and learn to cook and prepare our meals. We can alter our lifestyle to be less busy with more focus on our health. This can take time. So in the meantime, frozen meals could be the answer for some of us.

Just my thoughts. Keen to hear yours :)

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