Microwave meals are becoming more and more common as a quick and easy way to eat lunch and breakfast, and while they may be very efficient, how healthy are they for us? Can they replace a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner? Below are several important characteristics that you should look for when choosing a microwave meal. By finding products that contain these items, you can increase the chance of getting food that is both nutritious and delicious. You’ll be on the road to great health in no time!
Fruits and Vegetables
One of the most important things you can get in your diet on a regular basis, and which is often missing from microwave meals, is a high amount of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables not only contain a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are important for good health and optimal growth, but also contain high amounts of fiber. Fiber is essential in helping to regulate hunger levels in that it is both a “bulky” food, meaning that it takes up a large amount of food in your stomach (decreasing the need to eat more), and is slow digesting, meaning that it takes a long time for the food to actually leave your stomach and enter the digestive tract. This is important in regulating food intake, which helps in the prevention of the development of serious obesity.
While monounsaturated fats are still, technically, fat, they are one of the healthiest fats we can eat. In fact, they’re actually required for good health. Unlike saturated fats, which are typically found in meat and dairy products, monounsaturated fats come from olive oil, beans and seeds, and do not contain the same artery clogging properties as saturated fats. Read the label closely to determine whether or not the microwave meal you are considering contains this type of fat.
Both microwave and frozen meals often contain high amounts of added sodium. This is because sodium acts as both a flavoring and a preservative, and can help to keep microwave and frozen meals tasting fresher for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, high sodium intake has been linked to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure and other serious conditions. For best health, look for microwave meals that are free from or low in added salt.
Fat is often used as a way to increase the flavor in an otherwise dull-tasting microwave meal. Unfortunately, fat is extremely high in calories. Unlike protein and carbohydrates, which contain four calories per gram, fat contains nine calories per gram. The intake of high amounts of fat and calories can not only lead to the development of obesity, but can also contribute to several serious health conditions, including high cholesterol, diabetes and even cardiovascular disease. For best results, look for microwave meals that are low in fat and calories.