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The #1 Best Frozen Food for Weight Loss, Says Nutritionist

This item can be a surprising friend to your weight loss efforts.

When you think "frozen foods," you might picture a parade of high-sodium microwaveable meals and calorie-laden desserts—and it's true that many frozen products are loaded with undesirable ingredients that won't boost your health, let alone help you lose weight. Used correctly, though, the frozen aisle of the grocery store can be a surprising friend to your weight loss efforts. Plenty of nourishing whole foods like lean meats, fruits, and veggies can be found in frozen form.

Every weight loss journey is different, and there are a thousand foods (yes, even frozen ones!) that can make great choices when you're trying to shed pounds. But as a nutritionist, if I had to choose just one item to stock the freezer with, I'd go with frozen shelled edamame.

Because the most common pitfall of dieting is usually feeling hungry, it's critical to find foods that will fill you up without overloading you with calories. Shelled soybeans, sometimes called mukimame, fit the bill for a satiating side dish or snack that won't leave you peckish an hour later.

A 100-gram portion (which amounts to a generous three-fourths cup) contains just 118 calories. On most weight-loss diets, this won't take you over your daily calorie target.

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edamame
Shutterstock

A deeper dive into mukimame's nutrition reveals that a sizable chunk of their calories come from slow-digesting complex carbohydrates. This type of carbs takes longer for the body to break down, generally keeping you fuller longer. In fact, most of the carbs in shelled edamame come from fiber. Research shows that eating more fiber can not only promote weight loss, but help you stick more closely to your chosen diet.

Mukimame's weight loss benefits continue with an ample dose of protein. Twelve grams of complete protein lie within each 100-gram serving. In a plant-based side dish or snack, that's hard to top! And because consuming more protein is known to reduce appetite and increase your body's metabolism, adding more of it to your weight loss eating plan can yield significant results.

These little green beans are also a goldmine of micronutrients. Each serving is packed with high amounts of folate, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese. While these nutrients may not move the number on the scale, they will help meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs. That's never a bad thing.

Any brand of shelled edamame can make a pro-weight loss choice, as long as it lists just one ingredient: mukimame—also known as soybeans or shelled edamame. I happen to be a fan of Simple Truth's Organic Mukimame, which steams directly in the bag. (Yay for convenience!) The fact that they're organically grown adds to their appeal.

simple truth organic mukimame
Courtesy of Kroger

Need some inspiration for what to do with a bag o' beans? For an easy snack or last-minute appetizer, there's always the option to simply eat mukimame as-is (after cooking, of course!) with a sprinkle of salt. Or pop a handful of beans into a stir fry or DIY poke bowl. Think further outside the box by whipping up an edamame hummus, roasting the beans to crispy perfection, or mashing them into plant-based burgers. With a little experimentation, I think you'll find these frozen legumes are (literally) the definition of "cool beans."

For even more frozen food tips, read these next:

Sarah Garone, NDTR
Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a registered nutrition and dietetic technician, and a health, nutrition, and food writer. Read more