Frozen food options are valuable resources for vegetarians who want to add variety and convenience to meal planning. Because you can store frozen foods longer than fresh foods, you can stock your freezer with enough options to create a variety of meals over an extended period of time. Since freezing preserves foods without the necessity of additives, frozen foods allow you to enjoy the same nutritional benefits of fresh ingredients.
As often as possible, choose frozen vegetarian foods that have undergone a minimal amount of processing. Meat substitutes are typically highly processed, but enjoyed occasionally, these alternatives add variety to a vegetarian diet. Morningstar Farms and Boca Foods market the best meat substitutes in terms of nutrition and flavor. Options include veggie burgers, chicken patties, chicken strips, sausage, ribs and ground beef. Vegetarian meat substitutes are often made from soy or wheat protein, also referred to as tempeh or seitan, according to Vegcooking.com. The best frozen meat alternatives are low-calorie and low in sodium, containing no more than 150 calories and 300 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Fruits and Vegetables
Although buying in-season, fresh produce makes sense for vegetarians, frozen fruits and vegetables provide a convenient alternative. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy for you as fresh varieties, according to the Health Castle website, and keep much longer. The best options are those with the least amount of additives, such as varieties marketed by Pictsweet and Cascadian Farm brands, which often list the indicated fruits or vegetables as the only ingredients. Frozen vegetables such as broccoli, corn, okra and mixed varieties are ideal for stir-fries or soups, or can be steamed and seasoned for a healthy side dish. Add frozen fruits to smoothies and healthy dessert recipes.
Frozen vegetarian meals are convenient, but make sure that you make healthful choices. Amy's Kitchen markets a large selection of healthy vegetarian meals that are available in most supermarkets. The best frozen meals are made from fresh ingredients and have no additives and preservatives. When purchasing other brands, read the ingredient label to make sure an entree is actually vegetarian. Pictures and dish names can be misleading. Check the nutrition label for calorie, sodium and fat content per serving. The best frozen vegetarian dishes are low in sodium and fat and have no more than 400 calories per serving.
- Veg Cooking: Meat Replacements
- Health Castle: Fresh or Frozen? Choosing Your Fruits and Vegetables
- Goodguide.com: Frozen Meat Substitutes Ratings
- American Heart Association: Cooking for Lower Cholesterol
- Ohio State University Medical Center: Heart Healthy Diet: Low Fat, Low Cholesterol, Low Sodium Diet