We all know many packaged foods aren't good for us. Fresh food is usually best. But is it possible to buy packaged food and eat healthy? The answer is yes, if you know what to look for. For example, a new, first-of-its kind study found that popcorn and many popular breakfast cereals contain surprisingly large amounts of healthy antioxidants -- the same kind of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.
The frozen food aisle in the grocery store is full of choices, but which ones give you the most nutritional benefit and don't pack a ton of calories?
A Women's Health magazine team of nutritionists tested aisles' worth of items for their annual roundup of the healthiest, tastiest, and most convenient supermarket finds. Lisa Drayer, a contributing editor at Women's Health magazine, shared the magazine's favorites with "Good Morning America."
Below is a sampling of some of their findings. To see the entire list of 125 Best Packaged Foods of 2009, go to the Women's Health website.
Smart Ones Morning Express Stuffed Breakfast Sandwich: Drayer says this breakfast option offers a great blend of carbs and protein to help you get going in the morning. It's somewhat portable, too.
Lean Cuisine Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken: This dish provides a lot of fuel for less than 300 calories, Drayer says. It packs 18 grams of protein, and fewer than 600 mg of sodium (which is less than most frozen meals).
Healthy Ones Beef Franks: Only 70 calories per hot dog makes this one of Drayer's picks. If you love hot dogs but don't want the guilt, this is the choice for you! They're perfect for the upcoming Labor Day barbecues.
Annie's Homegrown Organic Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar: This macaroni and cheese is quite tasty and healthy to boot, Drayer says. It has a nice dose of fiber, protein and calcium. This is also a great option to feed your kids.
Campbell's Select Harvest Healthy Request Mexican Style Chicken Tortilla Soup: Drayer says this soup is delicious and has sea salt in it, which reduces the sodium content (most canned soups have high sodium content). Typically, soups have double this one's 180 mg of sodium.
Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Ready Rice: This microwavable rice is a filling side, and gives you whole grains in just 90 seconds!
FiberGourmet Light Fettuccine: A great option for anyone trying to stick to a low-carbohydrate diet without compromising taste. Plus it has 18 grams of fiber per serving (half of your daily needs).
Kettle Baked Potato Chips -- Sea Salt & Vinegar: These chips have 65 percent less fat than their traditional counterpart, and vinegar helps regulate blood sugar. Drayer says they're more chip-like than other baked potato chips.
Ben & Jerry's FroYo Chocolate Fudge Brownie: Calorie counts are typically through the roof for all ice creams and frozen yogurts, but at least you get 15 percent of daily calcium. Drayer says to make this an indulgent treat and stick to a 1/2 cup serving size.
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Best Healthy Packaged Foods for Women
Country Choice Organic Soft Baked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: These treats are soft and chewy and good for portion control. They have only 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
Chobani Pomegranate Zero Percent Greek Yogurt: This variety has added flavor so if you don't like the tang of yogurt, it's great. Drayer says it's both thick and creamy for only 140 calories, and 14 grams of protein. Greek yogurt usually has more protein than traditional yogurt -- plus, it tastes great for a fat-free product.
Weight Watchers Petite Bagels: It's all about portion control when it comes to bagels. Typical bagels can cost you about 400-500 calories and 70 grams of carbs; but these petite bagels only have 100 calories and 22 grams of carbohydrates. *available only on East coast
Quaker Simple Harvest All Natural Multigrain Instant Hot Cereal: Drayer says this cereal is hearty and filling and can be prepared quickly. It includes flax, which provides Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as a great combination of fiber and protein to keep you full for the whole day.
SmartFood Honey Multigrain Popcorn Clusters: These snacks are great if you like sweet and crunchy. The individual packets also provide perfect portion control, because popcorn's easy to overeat.
Bird's Eye Asparagus Stir-Fry: Drayer loves this tasty, quick side dish. It's great for busy moms and only has 90 calories, just add some reduced-sodium soy sauce. Use as a side dish or toss in some chicken and make a meal of it.
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