The winning combination of layers of pasta, tangy tomato sauce, and gooey cheese has made lasagna one of our favorite dinner foods. But not everyone has the time to make this labor-of-love dish, which is where frozen lasagna comes in handy. Not only is it convenient—saving you hours of cooking—but it also satisfies all your cravings for comforting Italian food.
Yet, not all frozen lasagnas are created equal in the nutrition department, and navigating the vast array of options can be a daunting task. To help you make smart choices for your health in the freezer aisle, we turned to expert dietitians who delved into the nutritional nuances of frozen lasagnas to find out exactly which ones are the healthiest and which don't quite stack up.
How we chose the healthiest lasagnas
- Total calories: Frozen foods like lasagna can rack up some serious calories if you're not aware of the nutrition label and portion sizes. Depending on the ingredients, you may find that the product has a significant amount of calories or oils that contribute to empty calories and make the dish higher energy without necessarily providing more nutrition.
- Saturated fat: Classically made with several different types of cheeses and ground beef, saturated fat is one area of the nutrition label that we considered when deciding whether or not these lasagnas were healthy.
- Sodium: Since salt is a preservative, it's all too easy to rack up some serious added salt in your frozen lasagna. The daily recommended allowance for sodium is 2,300 milligrams, and many of the worst lasagnas in the freezer aisle contain a significant source of added sodium.
We understand from time to time you're going to rely on convenience foods like frozen lasagna to feed yourself or your family. You can create a more balanced meal by pairing your lasagna with non-starchy veggies like a salad on the side or some fruit. Adding high-volume, low-calorie foods like fruits and veggies to high-calorie foods like lasagna can help reduce how much we eat overall while adding a bit more nutrition and balance to the meal.
Let's take a look at exactly which lasagnas dietitians recommend you choose from the freezer aisle.
The Best Frozen Lasagnas
Best: Real Good's Lasagna Bowl
Great for folks who are watching their carb content at their meals, Real Good makes a low-carb lasagna that doesn't skimp on flavor. Real Good's Lasagna Bowl is a great choice if you are craving lasagna without all the extra carbohydrates, says Michelle Rauch MS RDN of The Actors Fund. "In addition to being perfectly portioned, one serving boasts 25 grams of protein which will help you stay fuller for longer. The pasta in this dish is made from chicken and cheese which is If you review the ingredient list, all items listed are recognizable. This lasagna dinner is lower in carbs than traditional lasagna," she adds.
Although there is one caveat – this lasagna bowl contains 910 milligrams of sodium which is almost 40% of the Recommended Daily Value, she cautions.
Best: Cali'foods Vegetable Lasagna
This veggie lasagna is lower in total calories and sodium and is one of the lighter fare options on the market. Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES, a dietitian consultant for Health Insiders offers her insight: "If you're looking for a lasagna on the lighter side, Cali'foods Vegetable Lasagna does not disappoint. It is made with cauliflower "noodles" and packed with fresh and flavorful tomato sauce, zucchini, spinach, and ricotta cheese. A serving has 14 grams of protein and 220 calories."
Best: Rao's Meat Lasagna
Made with olive oil, no added sugar, and fresh ingredients, we love Rao's dedication to high-quality products. Megan Huff, RD, LD, an Atlanta-Based Cardiac ICU Dietitian, recommends Rao's Frozen Meat Lasagna. "With frozen meals comes high sodium content, but Rao's lasagna is a great lower-sodium option at 580 milligrams of sodium per 1 cup serving. Additionally, it's made with high-quality, simple ingredients and has no added sugars," Huff explains.
Best: Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Lasagna
Serving up 4 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, you'll also get a nice serving of vegetables with Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Lasagna. Like many TJ's products, this is seasonal and offered in the fall months, shares Bess Berger, RDN, CDN of Nutrition by Bess. "Packed with 15% of your daily calcium needs, fiber, and protein, this lasagna tastes great and has nutritional benefits as well. With 640 milligrams of sodium, that's pretty moderate considering the cheese and comps to other pre-made lasagnas," she comments.
Best: Amy's Vegan Gluten Free Vegetable Lasagna
Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Plant Based with Amy says she barely ever makes lasagna from scratch. "My favorite lasagna takes just a few minutes to microwave. As a gluten- and dairy-free dietitian, my go-to frozen lasagna is Amy's Vegan Gluten-Free Vegetable Lasagna. It's made with rice pasta, tofu, and vegan mozzarella-style cheese. It's a complete meal on its own and fills me up with its 8 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber," she says.
The Worst Frozen Lasagnas
Worst: Giovanni Rana Meat Lasagna
While Rana's Meat Lasagna is one of the highest-quality frozen lasagnas in the grocery store—it's free of preservatives and uses 100% ground beef, Italian tomatoes, and whole milk mozzarella—it isn't one of the healthiest.
"One frozen lasagna I don't suggest purchasing is Giovanni Rana Meat Lasagna," advises Lindsay Ducharme RD, CSR, LDN, Founder Vital Kidney Nutrition. "One serving contains 11 grams of saturated fat—this counts as 55% of the daily allowance for healthy adults. This lasagna is also high in sodium at 810 milligrams a serving. Luckily other options on the market will help you keep your saturated fat and sodium intake in check," she adds.
Worst: Stouffer's Meat Lovers Lasagna
As a general rule, "meat lovers" is probably not the healthiest choice, and that stands true with Stouffer's meat lovers lasagna. Theresa Saltsgaver, MS, RDN, LDN of Peak Nutrition for Life recommends against purchasing Stouffer's Meat Lovers Lasagna. "While it is a popular choice and may taste good, it is high in fat and sodium. It contains 7 grams of saturated fat and 760 milligrams of sodium per serving, which are not considered heart-healthy. When choosing frozen lasagna, there are better alternatives," she says.
Worst: Great Value Mexican Style Lasagna
Although this lasagna looks intriguing with its Mexican-themed cuisine, it isn't any healthier than conventional lasagnas on freezer shelves. With 17 grams of fat per serving and 8 grams coming from saturated fat, you will nearly meet half of your quota for saturated fat with one serving of this lasagna. When you consider that it also delivers 780 milligrams of sodium, this option is not the healthiest choice.
Worst: Marie Calendar's Italian Meat Lasagna
Initially, Marie Callender's Italian Meat Lasagna looks lower calorie compared to other options in the freezer aisle. However, one serving size is quite small and still manages to pack 950 milligrams of sodium and 12 grams of fat. If you do choose this option, be sure to pair it with a side salad or a piece of fruit to increase your fruit and veggie intake and offset a bit of the portion sizes and sodium content.