For anyone who has ever been tight on time, too tired to cook, or not up to par on how to work a real live skillet on a stove, frozen food can be a lifesaver. But if you're choosing the wrong boxes and bags of pre-made frozen meals from that chilly grocery aisle, you could be actually making yourself sick, fat, and even hungrier. Steer clear of these unhealthiest frozen foods at all costs.
And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
The Worst Frozen Breakfasts
Bob Evans Sausage, Egg&Cheese Burrito
Per burrito: 350 calories, 21 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 810 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 13 g protein
Don't let the picture of the barn on the box fool you; these burritos are far from "farm fresh." Not only do they pack 40% of the day's saturated fat (much of which comes from hydrogenated palm oil), but they also bring next to nothing to the table in terms of nutrition.
Kellogg's Special K Flatbread Sandwich Sausage Egg&Cheese
Per sandwich (116 g): 220 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 700 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 14 g protein
When you think of breakfast, do you think of corn syrup solids, soybean oil, xanthan gum, calcium sulfate, processed cheddar cheese product, and ascorbic acid? No? Well, those are just a few of the tough-to-swallow ingredients you'll get with this meal. Top it off with some sky-high sodium counts, and you've got the makings of one of the worst breakfast sandwiches in the freezer section.
Hot Pockets Sausage Egg&Cheese
Per sandwich: 290 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 380 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
As nostalgic as many of us are for hot pockets, your days of noshing on these neatly-packed meals should be over. Approximately 130 of these calories are from simple carbs (translation: nutrient-stripped), thanks to the croissant crust—which is not how you want to start your day.
Kellogg's Eggo Blueberry Waffles
Per 2 waffles (70 g): 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
Despite the title, blueberries aren't even in the first 10 ingredients of these waffles. If you're a fan of blueberry waffles, pick up the Kashi option, in which you get more blueberries, fewer chemicals, and more fiber.
Jimmy Dean Original Pancakes&Sausage on a Stick
Per serving (71 g): 250 calories, 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 410 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 6 g protein
None of these nutrition stats are too outrageous, but eating this sausage-wrapped-in-a-pancake exposes you to countless harmful ingredients ranging from caramel color to BHT (which are both possible carcinogens). Plus, there's nothing on this stick that will keep your body full and satisfied, so you'll probably be hungry again long before lunchtime.
El Monterey Signature Egg, Sausage, Cheese&Potato Burrito
Per 1 burrito (128 g): 280 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 630 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 10 g protein
Given how easy it is to make a homemade version of an egg/sausage/cheese/potato breakfast, we're not sure why anyone would gobble this down; the majority of this burrito is filled with various sources of fat and dough conditioners. Yuck!
WalMart Great Value French Toast Sticks
Per 5 sticks (110 g): 320 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 370 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 4 g protein
Considering other brands pack 50% fewer calories into each stick, there's no reason to snag this store-brand imposter. Speaking of French toast, don't miss our report on the 18 Most Popular French Toast Restaurant Dishes in America—Ranked!
Jamba Strawberries Wild Smoothies
Per 1/2 pouch (113 g): 60 calories, 0 g fat, 20 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 2 g protein
Anyone who's ever made a smoothie knows that the drinks are sweet enough without adding any sugar or stevia to the mix. But apparently, Jamba Juice didn't get the message. You're better off making a drink from scratch using unsweetened frozen produce like berries, pineapple, and spinach. This way you have total control over what winds up in your cup.
Amy's Breakfast Scramble
Per entrée (235 g): 360 calories, 20 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 780 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (5 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 18 g protein
Amy's makes far better products than this one, but we had to warn you about it: The amount of salt in this scramble rivals what you'd find at the bottom of the ocean.
Pillsbury Strawberry Toaster Strudel
Per 2 pastry with icing: 350 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 300 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 5 g protein
Not only are these pastries void of any nutrients your body needs to fuel the day, but they're also spiked with high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil, a fat that's been connected to weight gain.
Jimmy Dean Sausage&Cheese Stuffed Hash Browns
Per piece (106 g): 300 calories, 19 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 740 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
This product has one of the longest lists of ingredients we've ever seen on a heat-and-eat dish—and only a handful of them don't raise an eyebrow. Steer clear!
Lunches and Dinners
Fast Fixin' Chicken Nuggets
Per 4 pieces (75 g): 220 calories, 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 510 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 10 g protein
With added fat, three kinds of sugar, and a slew of ingredients we don't love ranging from soy protein concentrate to a caramel coloring additive typically found in soda, this is one nugget brand you should never eat.
Tombstone Original Pepperoni Pizza
Per 1/4 pizza: 360 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 850 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 15 g protein
Along with containing pesticide-ridden corn oil, this pizza adds nitrates and other dangerous preservatives to its pepperoni—namely, BHA and BHT. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) are both already banned in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and much of Europe because they are thought to be carcinogenic. Yikes!
Hungry-Man Selects Classic Fried Chicken
Per meal: 970 calories, 59 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,430 mg sodium, 59 g carbs (3 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 39 g protein
Fried chicken isn't exactly a good start, but try to swallow this fact: This meal has nearly as many calories as five orders of McNuggets! To make matters worse, Hungry-Man manages to squeeze a whopping 57% of the day's sodium and 86% of the day's fat into one tiny box. Do your arteries a favor and just say no to this blood pressure-raising meal. And for even more foods that will mess with your ticker, be sure to read up on these 30 Worst Foods For Your Heart.
Mrs. Paul's Parmesan and Roasted Garlic Tilapia
Per fillet (141 g): 280 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 650 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 20 g protein
Other than the 650 milligrams of sodium for a measly frozen fish fillet, the nutritional info here doesn't look so alarming. And we'll admit that parmesan and garlic sound delicious. But we do have an issue with tilapia in general—tilapia is one of the worst fish choices out there, after all—and the ridiculously long ingredient list for this product, which includes everything from soybean oil to guar gum to sugar. If you can't kick your tilapia habit, just throw it in a pan with a little olive oil and minced garlic; sprinkle with parmesan when done, and you'll have a much fresher dish than this one.
Marie Callender's Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Per meal (377 g): 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
You might think that you're sitting down to a steaming hot bowl of hearty pasta, but let's be real: The fact is that you're actually enjoying a plastic container overflowing with little more than nutrient-void carbs, salt, and fat. Because spaghetti and garlic bread are easy (and cheap!) to make at home, these meals' extra baggage isn't worth it.
Chili's Chicken Fajita Bowl
Per bowl (284 g): 380 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g 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 salty fiesta in a bowl. Plus, there are plenty of better options in the freezer aisle if you're craving Mexican. We like Evol's Chicken Enchiladas, which have 410 calories and 610 milligrams of sodium.
DiGiorno Small-Sized, Four-Cheese Traditional Pizza
Per pizza: 690 calories, 29 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 1,160 mg sodium, 83 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 25 g protein
The serving size on this meal is one pizza, but you're better off sharing this calorie bomb with a friend and adding on a side salad.
Marie Callender's Cheesy Chicken&Bacon Pot Pie
Per cup (200 g): 510 calories, 32 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 720 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 16 g protein
Marie claims that her pot pies serve up the "comforting warmth and flavors of homemade goodness," but she fails to mention that they also serve up an entire day's worth of fat and a half day's worth of calories and salt. Sure, she may argue that her pies are meant to be split, but we all know that no one has ever thought of a personal-sized pie as something to share. Pass.
Banquet Meatloaf Meal
Per meal (337 g): 330 calories, 11 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,350 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (5 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 13 g protein
When your mom made meatloaf, do you think she added caramel color, high fructose corn syrup, BHT, or monosodium glutamate? She didn't. So, we're not sure why Banquet feels the need to toss these questionable ingredients and chemicals into the dish. What we do know, however, is that anything with an ingredient list as long as this product is better left out of your shopping cart—and out of your tummy. Check out these other 17 Surprising Foods That Contain Chemicals&Food Dyes for more must-know info.
Healthy Choice Sweet&Sour Chicken
Per meal (283 g): 390 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 550 mg sodium, 63 g carbs (3 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 12 g protein
It may be marketed as a "healthy choice," but this Chinese-inspired meal has more sugar than a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! And if you're going to spend an entire day's worth of sugar, wouldn't you rather indulge in something that's actually sweet? We know we would.
California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust BBQ Chicken Pizza
Per 1/3 pizza: 290 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 640 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 16 g protein
CPK has actually compiled the longest ingredient list of all the frozen pizzas on the market. Among the 50+ items is caramel color, an ingredient known to be contaminated by carcinogens.
Red Baron Classic Crust 4 Cheese
Per 1/4 pizza (149 g): 380 calories, 17 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 720 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 16 g protein
If we were to ask you to guess the ingredients in pizza, you'd probably say cheese, tomatoes, and a wheat-yeast crust. We'd bet you wouldn't guess "L-Cysteine hydrochloride" (a salt used to treat overdoses) and "ammonium sulfate" (a commonly-used lawn fertilizer), which are two ingredients found in this franken-pizza. Oh, and did we mention the calorie, fat, and sodium contents are some of the highest on the market, too?
Hungry-Man Homestyle Meatloaf
Per meal (454 g): 650 calories, 34 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,350 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrates (6g fiber, 23 g sugar), 22 g protein
Word of advice: Purge Hungry-Man from your freezer for good. This is consistently the worst brand in the frozen-foods aisle. This meal, in particular, has 60% of the day's salt (which is more than what you'd find in three bags of pretzels) and a mile-long list of ingredients. With all the wholesome options in the freezer aisle these days, there's no point in bringing this box home.
Glutino GF Duo Cheese Pizza
Per pizza (175 g): 440 calories, 17 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 670 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 13 g protein
Don't let the "gluten-free" health halo fool you; Glutino's pies are consistently high in calories and fat. For more on which gluten-free products to buy, don't miss our exclusive report on the 40 Best and Worst Gluten-Free Food Products!
P.F. Chang's Home Menu Orange Chicken
Per 1 1/2 cups (294 g): 410 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 910 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (5 g fiber, 33 g sugar), 19 g protein
Ch-Chang! The recommended portion size of this frozen meal has a whopping 910 milligrams of sodium, which is nearly a half a day's worth. Whenever something comes with a glaze or a sticky sauce, you should hear a little warning bell—it's often a sign you're about to get loads more sugar and salt than you think.
Weaver Chicken Breast Dinosaur Fun Nuggets
Per 4 pieces (79 g): 190 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 500 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 10 g protein
Your kiddos may love the dinosaur shapes, but these fun nuggets are full of fat and sodium that won't do your offspring any favors. They are also made with an ingredient that contains MSG but goes by a different name to cover it up: textured soy protein.
Stouffer's Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
Per meal (297 g): 540 calories, 31 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 940 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 23 g protein
Traditionally, alfredo sauce contains any of the following: oil, butter, cheese, cream, and egg yolk. But Stouffer's take on the Italian classic relies on cheap soybean oils, cheese, milk, and all sorts of other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. No matter how you make it, though, it's still a heart attack in a dish.
And for more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.