Frozen breakfasts are something many of us need in our lives for tons of different reasons: Maybe you’re the kind of person who relishes spending a few extra minutes in bed before getting into the intricacies of your day, cutting into your food-prep time. Maybe you’re not into food prep at all, and just want an easy way to get some breakfast in front of you. Or maybe your morning routine is not exactly set in stone—some days, you have more than enough time and inclination to make some breakfast, while others, you definitely need a little help in that department.
Keeping a few ready-to-go frozen meals in the ol’ icebox means you’ve got the whole feed-yourself thing covered on busy mornings, without having to spend extra money or time grabbing something from a coffee shop (or worse, skipping breakfast altogether). And if you play your cards right, you can actually find picks that A) taste pretty darn good and B) are a decent enough size so you don’t feel hungry before you plan to.
All frozen breakfasts are not created alike, though. Some are just a little bit better on the taste and satisfaction front. Read on to find out how to choose the best frozen breakfasts—and for some ideas on which options to stock up on!
How to choose a frozen breakfast that’s actually satisfying
Frozen meals in general, including frozen breakfasts, often bring less to the table than your body needs to stay full until the next meal. So when choosing a frozen breakfast, it’s important to pick one that’s sufficient to power you through until lunch. One way to do that is to ID the ballpark portion size and nutritional composition of a breakfast that tends to leave you feeling satisfied through the morning—and then choose a frozen meal that mimics that Katherine Metzelaar, MSN, RDN, a Seattle-based dietitian specializing in intuitive eating, tells SELF.
Another way can be to look at the nutritional makeup of the meal, since aspects of it, like calories or macronutrient profile, can play a role in how full or satisfied it can make you feel. We’ll give some information on what can be helpful for satiety below, but it’s important to recognize that looking at nutrition labels for some people, especially those with a history of disordered eating, can be triggering. If that’s the case, you may want to focus more on what we mentioned above—choosing a frozen meal that’s similar in size and nutritional makeup to breakfasts you already know satisfy you—than engaging in any specific numbers.
If you feel comfortable considering the macronutrient makeup of your meal, protein and fiber can play a helpful role. These macronutrients team up to keep you fuller longer and promote steady blood sugar levels, so a well-rounded breakfast needs both, New York-based holistic dietitian Rachel Naar, M.S., R.D., CDN, tells SELF. In general, for most people, morning meals should serve up between 10 and 20 grams of protein and at least 5 grams of fiber, she recommends.
Calories, or the amount of energy your meal is providing, can also be something to consider. Frozen meals can be on the smaller size, so it’s worth making sure the portion isn’t too puny. There’s no one-size-fits-all number here, as calories needs are super individualized and depend on a bunch of things, like your activity level and size, Katherine Metzelaar, MSN, RDN, a Seattle-based dietitian specializing in intuitive eating, tells SELF. While she typically recommends consuming at least 500 calories at breakfast time, it’s more important that it falls in line with the portion size that you know leaves you satisfied through the morning.
Frozen meals on their own can be difficult to hit all of those boxes, and that’s totally fine—you just may want to supplement your breakfast with some easily accessible add-ons you have handy. For instance, for some extra fiber, you can’t go wrong with a piece of fruit—think a whole fruit like an apple, banana, or orange to keep it convenient, says Naar. Bump up the satisfaction courtesy of filling fats from some sliced avocado, or for extra protein, add a hard-boiled egg or a scoop of Greek yogurt, Elizabeth Barnes, RDN, of Weight Neutral Wellness in Mebane, North Carolina, tells SELF.
Frozen meals in general also tend to pack more sodium than something you’d cook for yourself, and getting too much in a single meal can make it hard to keep your overall sodium intake in a good place. (Most adults should limit their daily sodium to 2,300 mg, the American Heart Association recommends, though people with high blood pressure may want to limit it to 1,500 mg.) It can be helpful to generally stick with breakfasts containing 500 mg sodium or less, recommends Naar.
With that said, one final tip? Don’t worry about perfection with your meal. While it’s definitely a good idea to spend a few minutes seeing whether a frozen breakfast option will meet your nutritional needs, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect meal. (The main goal is convenience, remember?!)
“If your regular, quick frozen breakfast satisfies you, tastes good, and doesn’t leave you starving in an hour and a half, it’s absolutely OK to eat it,” Barnes says.
The best frozen breakfasts for busy mornings
So what kind of picks fit the bill? We tapped registered dietitians to find the frozen breakfasts they recommend to their clients (and reach for themselves) that strike the right balance between taste, satiety, and basic good-for-you-ness. Here are eight of their favorites.