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09.26.11

20 Killer Frozen Meals

The freezer section’s pre-made concoctions may be convenient—but many are trans fat and sodium bombs. The Daily Beast ranks the unhealthiest, from Stouffer’s to Lean Cuisine.

When the Center for Science in the Public Interest named the “10 Worst Foods” earlier this year, most of the winners weren’t a huge surprise. Chocolate cake from The Cheesecake Factory, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, and a bucket-size shake from Coldstone Creamery—all notorious for outsize amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. But another list-maker was Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie, which boasts a day’s worth of saturated fat and sodium. Turns out eating in can be just as detrimental to a healthy diet as eating out.

Many frozen dinner options contain trans fat—the substance linked to heart disease that’s now nearly banned, even in fast-food chains. And to enhance flavor, they’re packed with additives, sodium, and even sugar, not to mention a plethora of preservatives.

To assess the nutritional details of frozen meals, The Daily Beast partnered with GoodGuide, a research company that evaluates consumer products based on how healthy they are, as well as the environmental and social impact of the companies behind the products. To determine which of the nearly 1,300 frozen meals rated by GoodGuide were among the unhealthiest, we ranked each frozen entrée based solely on its health rating, a score out of 10 that looks at nutritional value, level of nutrients in relation to public-health guidelines and presence of potentially hazardous food additives. For reference: a supremely healthy meal would score near 10; a hazardous meal closer to one or two.

To view further details, including the environment and society ratings for each product that made the list, go to GoodGuide, or click on any of the product names in the following slideshow.

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