Is there any long-term harm in eating primarily frozen food?

I’ve realized that ever since the pandemic, most of my diet is frozen food since that’s been easy to prepare, have delivered, and store long-term without losing track of it and having it spoil (which is a problem I have because I don’t check the fridge or pantry often enough and forget about stuff there, so I’ve had cheese/avocadoes/bananas etc. go bad on me because I don’t check on them often enough. I partly fixed this by just putting pantry stuff near my desk so I see it often)

I think I’m asking this question partly because of a lot of propaganda/cultural knowledge around frozen food being unhealthy. I’m trying to look up some articles to figure out WHY people think they’re bad, and the first result I got is actually debunking some myths, but may be perpetuating some other ones:

It debunks the idea that frozen foods have more chemicals, saying that freezing naturally preserves foods so less preservatives are required (Although I don’t necessarily think preservatives are unhealthy). Frozen foods also preserve nutritional content, so freezing veggies/fruits is good for retaining the vitamins in them.

The advice they give though is to find frozen foods with whole grains or natural ingredients in them, which seems like it might be perpetuating some other myths about artificial = bad but natural = good. There’s some decent advice about making sure that the calorie counts match up with your own diet/goals/plans.

2. Check the label. Go for entrees with at least 10 grams of protein. Frozen foods can be high in sodium, too, so aim for 600 milligrams or less per serving for heart health. For frozen vegetables or fruits, avoid those with added sugar or high-fat sauces.

Idk how applicable this is since I don’t entirely understand if e.g. avoiding salt for heart health is a valid thing or more of a myth. I’ve read about some amount of daily protein being important, but usually protein is in all sorts of stuff, including bread, and most people get enough protein just from what they usually eat without having to plan around it. Planning around it seems more important for building muscle/working out specifically.

I bought some frozen berries to add some variety to the meals instead of having it only be “junk food” like chicken strips, french fries etc. but I’m not sure what else to do to improve the nutritional value. Adding some veggies in some form seems like a good idea but I haven’t figured out consistent options for that yet.

Overall I like the benefits of frozen food and I think I’m looking for some downside because it’s hard for me to imagine that something is just strictly better than the alternatives (cooking food from ingredients) without having some downsides that I might not be aware of, whether in health or maybe in food quality or something else (Although personally I haven’t had quality issues with frozen food. Maybe my standards are low due to poor exposure to really good home-cooked food though.)


Seems like this article points out a bunch of positives for frozen food at first:

Pros: Fresh ingredients get frozen and preserved, not all of them have high sodium contrary to common knowledge, and frozen meals can be high in protein or gluten-free if someone needs that (although aside from being celiac idk why gluten free would be good/desirable). They’re also affordable, last longer, helpful for dieters due to clear calorie counts, and have a wide variety of options available.

Cons: Frozen foods tend to be “comfort foods” that are more calorie dence, like pizzas, meat, potatoes, and heavy-sauced dishes. These can be problematic if one is trying to lose weight or maintain a low calorie intake.

Another disadvantage of frozen meals is that they may contain trans fats. A ban on these fats will take effect 2018, but despite this, there are still uncomfortable amounts found in packaged foods. At times, advertisements can be deceiving. For instance, the product is labeled “trans fat-free” although they still contain this harmful ingredient. This is startling and worse, illegal.

Huh I didn’t know trans fats were banned. I’ll have to read up more on why they’re bad cuz I don’t know currently, except generic stuff like they clog up arteries and cause heart disease, which might just be false.

Oh, I expected the Cons section to be much longer but that was basically it. Dense in calories due to tending towards comfort foods, and potentially having trans fat even if advertised as “fat-free” since they can be below the legal requirement to report as having fat (like 0.5g).

So from this article at least it seems like frozen foods are fine to eat if I check for trans fat (if that’s even bad) and count calories if I don’t want to gain weight.

btw i like guacamole and i like the single serving guacamole containers for helping with spoilage issue

You can get frozen broccoli and frozen string beans in lots of places in a steamable bag. You then add cheese and maybe some other stuff (I like garlic) to the veggies. That’s the meal.

Brussel sprouts also good.

I like using parmigiana reggiano, romano, and good old cheddar for this purpose.

Solution: portion the frozen food after cooking. Do this before eating. You can use a digital scale if you care about trying to be more precise.

my primary use of frozen berries is to turn them into thick smoothie in my blendtec blender.

i also use them in oatmeal sometimes

Thanks for all the great advice Justin! I’m probably a bit weird in that I’ve enjoyed eating frozen berries straight out of a bowl when they’re still cold and crunchy.

Broccoli sounds like a good idea. I also like peas and spinach and all of those come frozen so I can try those too. One downside is frozen veggies do seem more expensive than fresh veggies, but I think having them not go bad and not needing extra prep (washing, chopping etc.) is worth the cost.

Good point re: portion control. Makes sense. If I see on a package that some frozen meal is 1000 calories, I can split it into half after cooking it and that way I know I’m approx getting 500 calories per portion.

not weird at all IMHO :slight_smile:

yeah IMHO the convenience is great. fresh veggies are fine if you’re gonna use them right away, but for lots of stuff it’s nice to just pull a bag of frozen broccoli out of the freezer and steam them in the bag.

frozen veggies are pretty cheap here at the places i shop

Right. I think it’s important to do that before eating if you’re worried about accidentally eating too many calories.

Costco frozen lasagnas are great to do this with, btw. Gigantic tray that you bake all at once and then you can have lasagna for days ^_^

Haha, I was actually thinking of using lasagna as an example in that post I wrote. For some reason it made sense to me to envision a cheesy concoction of pasta + meat and stuff being cut in half in a rectangular glass box after being microwaved, and then half of that being refrigerated in the same box while i eat the other half on a plate.

I haven’t actually tried frozen lasagnas but I live near a CostCo so I’ll check it out. I hope Canadian CostCo has frozen lasagna (I imagine it should)