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The 30 Worst Frozen Foods in America

Convenience doesn't make up for the extensive lack of nutrition in these items.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

The frozen food aisles have become much more popular over the past few years thanks to factors like COVID-19 forcing people to prioritize foods with a longer shelf life, brands making better-quality frozen food options, and people living busy lives and appreciating the convenience factor that these foods offer. What was once a section of the grocery that was thought of as a space that simply housed ice cream and frozen veggies is now a treasure trove of convenient food that allows us to eat the foods we love in minutes (or seconds, depending on what you are choosing).

But while there is no disputing that leaning on frozen foods has its perks, there are some choices that are less-than-ideal when it comes to options that support our health. Some frozen food choices can be relatively high in sodium, fat, or sugar. And some brands lean on preservatives or other unhealthy ingredients to extend their shelf life.

If you are a frozen food lover and you are focused on supporting your overall health, it would likely be helpful to be armed with a list of options that aren't the best choice for helping you attain your goals. If you are searching for such a list, read on to learn which frozen grocery options are the worst frozen foods in America.

1

Totino's Pizza Rolls, Combination

totinos combination pizza rolls
Courtesy of Totino's

PER 1 SERVING (6 ROLLS): 210 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 6 g protein

Eating ultra-processed meats like sausage and pepperoni is linked to outcomes like an increased risk of developing certain cancers. These pizza rolls contain sausage, pepperoni, and imitation mozzarella cheese, making it a snack stuffed with questionable ingredients.

Better Choice: Snow Days Pizza Bites

Snow Days Pizza Bites grain-free and organic pizza bites are made with real cheese, organic veggies, and olive oil.

2

Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars

good humor strawberry shortcake frozen bars
Courtesy of Good Humor

Per 1 Bar: 160 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 protein

If you are craving the taste of a strawberry dessert, this may not be the best choice for you. Sure, it offers a strong strawberry flavor, but it is also made with ingredients like corn syrup, artificial flavors, and Red 40 food dye.

Better choice: HALO Top Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Pop

Icelandic-Style Skyr Halo Yogurt Pops are made with creamy yogurt, crunchy granola, and real fruit as ingredients. And since they only contain 110 calories per serving, they can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.

3

Snickers Ice Cream Bar

box of snickers ice cream bars

Serving Size: 1 Bar. 180 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates (> 1 g fiber, 15 g sugars), 3 g protein

This frozen treat is essentially an ice cream version of a candy bar. Made with added sugar and artificial flavors, this bar leaves a lot to be desired in the ingredient department. And with so little fiber found in these treats, it is unlikely that they will provide a significant amount of staying power.

Better choice: KIND Frozen Treat Bar, Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt & Nut

With a whopping 7 grams of fiber per bar, KIND Frozen Treat Bars will help people feel a bit more satisfied after snacking on these vs. other comparable options. This creamy almond frozen treat combines three delicious flavors: dark chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, and sea salt—all layered with smooth nut butter.

4

Any'tizers Boneless Chicken Bites, Buffalo Style

Any'tizers® Buffalo Style Boneless Chicken Bites
Courtesy of Tyson

Per serving: 190 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 12 g protein

The breading on these spicy nuggets results in a hefty amount of carbs per serving. The artificial flavors, soybean oil, corn syrup, and wheat flour found in these nugs may be unappealing ingredients to some.

Better Choice: Applegate spicy chicken breast bites

Enjoying spicy chicken bites doesn't mean you have to lean on deep-fried options loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Applegate Spicy Chicken Breast Bites are casein-free, made from chickens that are never treated with antibiotics and are humanely raised. Plus, they are made with only white meat chicken.

5

Gardein Ground Be'f

Gardein Ground Bef
Courtesy of Gardein

Per 1 serving: 120 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 360 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, (5 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 18 g protein

Plant-based may sound healthier than animal-based beef. But that isn't always the case. In the case of this faux beef, the ingredients include textured soy protein, caramel color, canola oil, and natural flavors.

Better Choice: No Bull Veggie Burger

Not all plant-based meat alternatives are created equal. No Bull is made with ingredients like organic lentils, organic carrots, and organic chia seeds, and it is free from anything artificial. And with a whopping 7 grams of fiber per serving, this burger can offer some gut health support, too.

6

Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick

jimmy dean original pancakes and sausage on a stick
Courtesy of Walmart

Per one serving: 250 calories, 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 410 mg sodium, 22 g carb, (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 6 g protein

While we won't argue that starting your day with protein is a smart move if you are focused on weight management, this breakfast option may not be your best bet as a vessel for this important macro. With additions like caramel color, soy protein concentrate, and added sugar, you may want to think twice before you grab this meal-on-a-stick.

Better choice: Premier Protein Frozen Pancakes

Premier Protein Frozen Pancakes are packed with 15 grams of protein per serving, and with around a minute in the microwave, these pancakes will keep you full and focused without the mess and cleanup in the morning. These pancakes have far less fat than the sausage-pancake-stick combo, with only 3.5 grams per serving (0.5 grams saturated fat).

7

El Monterey Chicken Enchiladas

El Monterey Chicken Enchiladas
Courtesy of El Monterey

Per serving: 530 calories, 27 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 890 mg sodium, 51 g carb, (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 21 g protein

With a whopping 530 calories and 27 grams of fat per serving, this dish is not the most weight management-friendly by any means. And one serving also provides almost 40% DV of sodium, which is a factor that people with high blood pressure should be aware of.

Better choice: Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano Frozen Meal

Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas Poblano Frozen Meal is a delicious dish made with roasted dark meat chicken, spinach, and Oaxaca cheese. Hand-rolled corn tortilla enchiladas in a smooth, creamy poblano peppers chili sauce, this option is gluten-free and halal. It I also made with chicken that is not raised with antibiotics.

8

Marie Callender's Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

marie callenders spaghetti and meat sauce

PER 1 MEAL: 350 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 920 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 17 g protein

This pasta dish is high in carbs, sodium, and fat. While it may be delish, it isn't the best choice to lean on when pasta night shows up on your calendar.

Better choice: Kevin's Natural Foods Beef Bolognese Pasta Kit

Kevin's Natural Foods Beef Bolognese is made with cauliflower pasta, grass-fed ground beef, and an Italian-style tomato sauce. This pasta dish is free from soy, gluten, or dairy, making it a Paleo-friendly option. Plus, it is made with zero added sugar, and it provides a whopping 10 grams of protein per serving. Also, since this dish is ready to be enjoyed in just 5 minutes, it is a fantastic option for busy people who want a good-for-you meal on the table ASAP.

9

Banquet Brown N' Serve Original Sausage Links

Banquet Brown n Serve Original Sausage Links
Banquet

Per 3 links: 180 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 410 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

These sausage links aren't just made from pork or other meats. Soy protein concentrate, BHA, and BHT are some ingredients you will find on the food label for these sausages. And nutritionally speaking, the 5 grams of saturated fat provides 25% DV of this nutrient—not the best food to eat to start the day on the right foot.

Better choice: Applegate Organics Chicken and Apple Breakfast Sausage

Casein, gluten, and dairy-free breakfast sausage makes for a better-for-you breakfast option. Made with organic chicken, organic apple, and real spices, you won't find any fillers or unnatural flavorings in this product. Bonus? Applegate Organics Chicken and Apple Breakfast Sausage come from animals that are humanely raised.

10

Hot Pockets Applewood Bacon, Egg, & Cheese

Hot Pockets Applewood Bacon, Egg & Cheese
Courtesy of Hot Pockets

PER 1 SANDWICH: 290 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 620 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 9 g protein

With this sandwich, you're starting your day with (read: nutrient-stripped) carbs in the form of a croissant crust, and with only one gram of fiber, you're going to be hungry not too long after you're done eating this. And the cured meats found in this option aren't helping matters either. Over time, frequent consumption is linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.

Better Choice: Eggland's Best Three-Cheese Omelet

Eggland's Best Three Cheese Omelet is a great solution for those who want an egg dish ASAP without compromising on nutrition and quality. Made with Eggland's Best eggs, which have 25% less saturated fat, 6 times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E compared to ordinary eggs, this frozen omelet packs 15 grams of protein per serving. For a grab-and-go breakfast made with quality ingredients, simply cut your cooked omelet in half, and enjoy it in between two slices of whole-grain toast.

11

Banquet Pizza Mega Double Stuffed Four Meat Frozen Slices

banquet four meat frozen pizzas

PER 2 SLICE SERVING: 860 calories, 38 g fat (9 g saturated), 2,120 mg sodium, 88 g carbs (10 g sugar), 40 g protein

Even though this pizza isn't made on a croissant crust, it is still not the best choice when it comes to frozen pizzas. Note that mozzarella substitute appears before real mozzarella on the ingredient list, which means that more of the "cheese" used is not real mozzarella.

Better Choice: Milton's Craft Bakers Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Totally gluten-free and made with real cauliflower, this perfectly crispy pizza is made with only quality ingredients—including real cheese only!

12

Bob Evans Sausage & Potatoes Bowl

bob Evans sausage potatoes

PER BOWL: 440 calories, 25 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,470 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 36 g protein

The amount of sodium found in this breakfast bowl is way too much for something to be considered heart-healthy. And with only 1 gram of fiber, this is hardly the best meal to start your day with if you are trying to reach the 25–30 grams of fiber recommended by the American Heart Association.

Better choice: Tattooed Chef Breakfast Bowl with Plant-Based Sausage.

Made with cage-free scrambled eggs, tater bites, real peppers, and a cheese sauce, Tattooed Chef Breakfast Bowl is packed with nutrients and quality ingredients.

13

Banquet Mega Meats Sweet & Spicy Asian Style Boneless Strips

banquet mega meats sweet and spicy asian boneless strips
Courtesy of Banquet

PER 1 ENTRÉE: 610 calories, 27 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,650 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 27 g protein

Banquet's Sweet & Spicy Asian Style Boneless Chicken Strips are covered in a sauce that brings a little heat and a little sweetness. Together, it makes for a mega-salty meal that has as much sugar as you would get from one Original Glazed Krispy Kreme Donut.

Better choice: Sweet Earth General Tso's Tofu Bowl

This spicy bowl is packed with flavor and is made with nutritious and simple ingredients. Brown rice and broccoli add fiber, while the sweet-and-sour sauce coating the crispy tofu isn't drowning in added sugar.

14

Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese

stouffers mac and cheese
Stouffer's

PER 1 ENTRÉE: 330 calories, 16 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 920 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 14 g protein

With 920 calories per entrée, this mac and cheese is better left on the grocery shelf. There are much better options out there to help you get your macaroni fix.

Better Choice: Kidfresh Wagon Wheels Mac & Cheese

With no artificial ingredients, 12 grams of protein per serving, and hidden carrots in each bite, this kid-focused frozen meal can be enjoyed by both kids and kids at heart.

15

Dippin' Dots

dippin dots in a cup
Courtesy of Dippin Dots

Per serving: 140 calories, 7 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 16 grams sugars, 3 grams protein

If you are trying to avoid artificial food dyes and artificial flavors, then this treat is definitely not for you.

Better choice: Wyman's Just Fruit

Made with frozen wild blueberries and Greek yogurt bites, Wyman's Just Fruit is a frozen treat that gives the mouthfeel of Dippin' Dots but offers much more in the nutrition department. Wild blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse, and each serving contains only 45 calories per cup.

16

TGI Fridays Frozen Appetizers Buffalo Style Chicken Wings

tgi fridays boneless chicken bites
Courtesy of Target

PER SERVING OF WINGS WITH SAUCE: 240 calories, 16 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 850 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 14 g protein

The Buffalo-style TGI Fridays wings are yet another high-sodium option. The chain offers up plenty of other frozen options, so maybe go with the spinach artichoke dip instead?

Better choice: Wholly Veggie Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Most Americans have a hard time consuming the appropriate amount of vegetables every day. If you get a hankering for something buffalo, Wholly Veggie cauliflower wings can help people meet their goals. Made with real cauliflower but served like chicken wings, these gluten-free, vegan snacks are made with quality ingredients and provide 2 grams of fiber per serving.

17

Screamin Sicilian Mother of Meat Pizza

Screamin Sicilian Mother of Meat Pizza
Courtesy of Screamin' Sicilian Pizza Co.

PER PIZZA: 1,750 calories, 100 g fat (40 g saturated fat), 4,750 mg sodium, 130 g carbs (10 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 80 g protein

It is tempting to eat the entire pizza if you opt for this one. But doing so will provide more sodium, protein, and fat than what people should be eating in an entire day. The processed meat found on this pizza isn't great for our health, either.

Better choice: Banza Supreme Pizza

Banza Supreme Pizza leans on the humble chickpea to make its crust, resulting in a gluten-free option that provides protein and fiber. And instead of using processed meat as a topping, pizza eaters will find Beyond Meat as a topping addition.

18

Gorton's Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets

Gortons Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets

PER 2 FILLETS: 260 calories, 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 590 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 11 g protein

There is no denying that including fish in our diet is a wise choice to support our heart and brain health. But this option is packed with sodium, carbs, and fat.

Better choice: Frozen Salmon Filets

Opting for a frozen salmon filet will allow you to have total control over how much sodium your final dish contains. Simply thaw, season, and cook for a healthy protein addition.

19

Marie Callender's Cheesy Chicken & Bacon Pot Pie

cheesy chicken bacon pot pie

PER 1 PIE: 1,020 calories, 64 g fat (28 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,440 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (6 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 32 g protein

This cheesy and meaty meal serves up plenty of unappealing ingredients such as nitrites, caramel color, and interesterified soybean oil. And the 28 grams of saturated fat is certainly not a selling point either.

Better choice: Blake's Chicken Pot Pi

Blake's is made with quality ingredients and has a made-from-scratch flavor. It also has much more saturated fat than other options out there.

20

Johnsonville Grillers Steakhouse Onion Seasoned Patties

Johnsonville Grillers Steakhouse Onion Seasoned Patties

PER 1 PATTY: 350 calories, 29 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 860 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 17 g protein

Making your own burger without added salt won't result in a patty that contains nearly as much sodium as this one does. It also has quite a bit of saturated fat—before you've even added a slice of cheese!

Better choice: Teton Waters Ranch Mushroom & Onion Burger

These burgers are a blend of beef and mushrooms, helping people sneak in some much-needed veggies at mealtime. There are no hormones and no antibiotics used on the cows. They are also super simple to make, too.

21

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup
Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's

PER CONTAINER: 1,400 calories, 98 g fat (54 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 550 mg sodium, 109 g carbs (0 g fiber, 96 g sugar), 28 g protein

Eat two scoops of this and you'll consume more calories than you would with a McDonald's burger with a small side of French fries. And that isn't even taking the sugar quantity into account.

Better choice: Noosa Cookies & Oh-So-Creamy

Noosa Cookies & Oh-So-Creamy contains live probiotics, so enjoying this treat may help support gut health. Plus, it contains no artificial anything.

22

Fun Pops Freezer Pops

Fun Pops Freezer Pops
Fun Pops / Facebook

Per serving: 50 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 12 grabs carbs, 12 grams sugar, 0 grams protein

These pops are basically sugar, water, and artificial colors and flavors. While they are a nostalgic treat, they are really doing nothing for us when it comes to health support. They do turn our tongue different colors when we enjoy them, which is always fun, though.

Better choice: ReHarvest Provisions Very Berry

Yes, these pops are on the boogie side, and their price point is much higher than the Fun Pops. But ReHarvest Provisions Verry Berry pops are made with nutrient-dense ingredients like berries and zucchini. Bonus? Many of the ingredients found in these pops support skin health, too, so indulging may leave you with glowing skin!

23

Poppie's Mini Cream Puffs

Poppies Mini Cream Puffs
Courtesy of Poppie's

Per 6 puffs: 280 calories, 22 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat, 50 mg sodium, 17 grams carbs, 0 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

Snacks made with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and artificial flavors don't scream "good for you." It may be best to leave these treats for a special occasion versus an everyday occurrence.

Better choice: Yass Poppables

If you are seeking a bite-size sweet treat, Yasso Poppables can fit the bill. Packed with real frozen yogurt and coated with chocolate and crunchy quinoa, these snacks can help support your health a bit better than some alternatives.

24

Kellogg's Eggo Blueberry Waffles

kelloggs eggo blueberry frozen waffles
Courtesy of Kellogg's

PER 2 WAFFLES: 180 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 370 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

These waffles are low in fiber and can use more protein to up the satiation factor. If you top your waffles with syrup, factor the 6 grams of sugar into your total intake at breakfast time. It is easy to see how the sugar intake can add up.

Better choice: Birch Benders Protein Toaster Waffles

A better toaster waffle choice is Birch Benders Protein Toaster Waffles. With 11 grams of protein per serving and made with quality ingredients, these waffles are a great brekkie to start your morning off right.

25

Market Pantry Mac & Cheese Bites

Market Pantry Mac & Cheese Bites
Courtesy of Target

PER 1 SERVING: 270 calories, 13 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 7 g protein

While cheese can be a part of a balanced and healthy diet, breaded and fried options of this beloved dairy option can make this otherwise healthy food a not-so-great choice.

Better choice: Wholly Veggie Mozzarella Style Sticks

Wholly Veggie Mozzarella Style Sticks are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with cauliflower powder as a coating. Nothing artificial and totally delish.

26

Ore Ida Tater Tots

Ore Ida Tater Tots
Courtesy of Ore-Ida

PER 1 SERVING: 130 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 430 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Hoping these are better than the drive-thru version? Probably not. Potatoes are a healthy vegetable that provides fiber and vitamin C. But if they are prepared with salt and fat, your resulting dish can end up being a calorie and sodium bomb.

Better Choice: Alexia Crispy Rosemary Fries

Made with less added fat and salt than other frozen potato options, these fries are loaded with flavor and still allow people to enjoy a spud-packed side once in a while.

27

Michelina's Teriyaki Chicken

Michelina's Teriyaki Chicken
Courtesy of Michelina's

PER 1 PACKAGE: 330 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 800 mg sodium, 61 g carbs (1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 9 g protein

Just because they're touted as portion-controlled and low-calorie, doesn't mean you should stock up on these. This frozen option is relatively high in added sugars. And the 800 mg of sodium doesn't help matters either.

Better choice: Kevin's Natural Foods Cilantro Lime Chicken

Lean on this paleo-friendly, high-quality protein dish for a quick and easy chicken night. Pair it with some homemade rice and veggies for an ultimate good-for-you meal.

28

Chili's Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl

Chili's Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl
Courtesy of HEB

PER 1 PACKAGE: 380 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 960 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (5 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 19 g protein

Made with more rice than chicken, there's nothing fun about this party in a bowl.

Better choice: PuraVida Foods Flame Grilled Fajitas Rajas

A combo of poblano peppers, bell peppers, and red onions tossed in EVOO, pink salt, and peppercorns, this fajita mix is a much better-for-you choice. Plus, you can control how much rice you enjoy with this combo, too—which is a good thing when you are supporting your overall health.

29

Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken Meal

Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken Meal
Courtesy of Banquet

PER 1 ENTRÉE: 300 calories, 12 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 990 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 11 g protein

Never settle for a frozen dinner with about a half-day's worth of blood pressure-spiking salt. You can do much better by choosing many other options out there.

Better choice: Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Filet

Opt for a lightly breaded chicken breast and add your own low-sodium sides for a better-for-you meal.

RELATED: 17 Best Fast-Food Cheeseburgers In America

30

Trader Joe's Cheeseburger Burrito

Cheeseburger Burrito
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

PER 1 BURRITO: 610 calories, 31 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 1090 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 27 g protein

For one small meal, the calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and carbs are relatively high. Plus, you won't be getting a boost of veggies, fruit, or other important food groups by eating this burrito either.

Better choice: Amy's Kitchen Cheddar Cheese Burrito

Organic, vegetarian, and packed with quality ingredients, this burrito has less than half the sodium as the TJ's version—and fewer calories too. Pair this burrito with some fruit and a side salad for a balanced and nourishing meal.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
Sources referenced in this article
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