Pre-made meals make life easier but are they worth it?

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

It's a fast-paced world and pre-made dinners are not just convenient, they're necessary.

You've probably noticed that grocery stores have pre-made meals right at the front of the store that look nutritious.

“The bonus of these pre-prepared foods is they’re ready to go,” registered dietitian at Advice for Eating, Catherine Kruppa, said.

The meals are packed with turkey, salmon, chicken and two sides.

The example we took to Kruppa was grilled chicken, kale and potato salad.

“The thing I like about it is the grilled chicken is right about the appropriate size. It's supposed to be the size of your palm,” she said. “But calorie wise, we don't know how the potato salad was prepared.”

She said the meal would be ideal if it were paired with two green sides or brown rice.

The major pitfall is no nutrition label, which is how we know other frozen food options have way too much sodium.

“Our goal for sodium for the day is less than 2,000, close to 1,500. So, this one has over 1,000 so this is 2/3 of our sodium for the day and it's just one of our meals,” Kruppa said referring to a chicken cacciatore packaged from Safeway.

If you go for low-sodium or no soy sauce, Kruppa isn't opposed to picking up sushi at the fresh-made counter inside the store.

“Each piece is about 40 calories so the whole meal is about 400 calories. You've got your protein, carbohydrate, little bit of vegetable.”

At take home kitchens like "Eatfitters,” Kruppa said you know what you're getting, so this gets her endorsement.

“Most of those companies are very sodium conscious, the food is going to be fresher for the most part, it's not going to be frozen food and there's a lot of variety and diversity in those foods,” she said.

Plus, she says they're balanced appropriately for all health needs.

“People who are diabetic can use those foods, people with high blood pressure can use those foods and feel safe.”

The best news is, pretty much anything you pick up at a store is better than eating out at a restaurant.

“We think these are bad sodium, but that's only because we don't see sodium that's at a restaurant,” Kruppa said.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2