Complete News World

The list displays the healthiest ready meals – second place is very popular

The list displays the healthiest ready meals – second place is very popular

  1. Heidelberg24
  2. consumer
  3. Consumer magazine

Ready meals are not particularly healthy, but many of us rely on them on a regular basis. Are there healthy options, and if so, what are they?

Sometimes things have to happen quickly. Frozen products and other prepared meals can be a real lifesaver. But what should you pay attention to if you still want to live a healthy life? Are there fast foods that can be healthy too? HEIDELBERG24 checks ready meals.

Can ready meals be healthy?

Fast food is unhealthy, some more than others – at least that's true of many of the dishes you get at fast food restaurants. But what about fast food at home? How dangerous are dishes that can be heated briefly in the microwave or oven? Basically, in most cases, ready-made meals are never as healthy as their fresh alternatives.

A finished meal should always look, smell and taste the same, and it's best if it's only heated quickly. For this to be possible, a high level of processing is required, which makes the food less nutritious. Most often, the contents are heated and frozen, and sometimes preservatives, flavor enhancers and other unhealthy additives are added. Often without knowing its long-term consequences on health.

What are the best ready-to-eat meals?

But there are some things you can pay attention to in order to maintain a reasonably healthy diet even when cooking quickly. It's always worth taking a look at the contents. Just by looking at the length of the menu, you can get a sense of how well the meal is processed. Nutritional information shouldn't be neglected either. How much fat, sugar and salt is in it? Storage is also a signal.

Popular canned foods in particular are somewhat unfavorable in terms of basic requirements. Not least because, as Öko-Test found with canned tomatoes, the toxic substance Bisphenol A contained in the cans often ends up in the food. Dishes that come in desiccant bags? It is also highly processed and durable. Frozen products are better. The following explains why these foods are among the healthiest ready-to-eat meals:

  • Frozen vegetable dishes for the microwave, oven or skillet
  • Frozen vegetarian pizza
  • Soup dishes with vegetables from a jar

How healthy are frozen ready meals?

Of course, as we mentioned at the beginning, fresh vegetables or homemade pizza is always the best choice. But if it's a ready-made meal, freezing is not a bad idea. Fruits and vegetables that are frozen immediately after harvest not only contain the majority of their nutrients, explains Techniker Krankenkasse, but sometimes they contain more than those that end up on supermarket shelves after defrosting.

In some cases, frozen foods are slightly heated and then frozen, which is still better than very high-temperature manufacturing processes. This means that frozen meals can be a healthier alternative to other ready-to-eat meals. But here too, you have to take a closer look.

What are healthy frozen meals?

Even with frozen foods, fewer processing steps are a sign that they are healthier. The short and understandable list of ingredients indicates the presence of few additives. There should be as few flavor enhancers and sugar as possible. However, both are often hidden behind other names, such as “yeast extract” or “dextrin.” Instead of palm oil, choose dishes that contain healthy oils, such as olive or rapeseed oil.

Non-breaded frozen foods are also healthier: breaded dishes are usually pre-fried – this creates harmful substances, as in the fish sticks tested by Stiftung Warentest. Plus, anything prepared in the oven instead of a frying pan is healthier. Vegetarian frozen meals also contain more vitamins and fewer calories. (palm)