POLL: How often do you have "ready made" meals?

Emily H
November 23, 2015

Gesunder Lunch · More Info

Prepared meals or "TV dinners" can make life a little easier when you are working full time or just when you need a little break from cooking. How often are you eating these kinds of meals?

VOTE and tell us about it in the comments!

Once a week
Once a month
Once a year
Other - Tell us below!

Comments (42)

  • PRO
    Sound Painting Solutions

    We need to cook more:(. Failures of a business owner.

  • momof5x

    I cook all the time and large meals as we are a large family. There are no TV type dinner where I live but there are ready made ones. I see mostly university students buying them as not time for them to cook or they just don't want too lol.

    Having said that, I am wary of some types of frozen cooked food.

  • Nancy Munroe

    Very easy to make and freeze your own ready made dinners. Doesn't say anything about having to be store bought.

  • Mark

    I prepare a lot of meals and freeze them. I usually spend one whole day a week cooking different things and then put them in servings of two and then we can still have a healthy meal in no time by reheating them. Even when I make batches of soup I still freeze them in individual containers so that if either of us want soup we can just pull out a container and enjoy home made soup.

    Preparing meals ahead of time is such a time saver for us.

  • PRO
    Julia & Elizabeth

    I love the hot foods at Whole Foods.

  • PRO
    Cabinets & Designs

    We prefer home-cooked meals or dining out but prepared meals help on busy days!

  • acm

    you left out delivered meals -- we probably have Indian or Chinese (or Mexican or sushi) delivered twice a week. would love to cook more, but life is going faster and faster and it's just not going to happen...

  • Ann

    Like Belle, we occasionally do the meal deals from Whole Foods, but that's it for "ready made" meals for us.

  • Beth Bevington
    I love leftovers, and the freezer helps. With Thanksgiving behind us, I spent today making turkey day lasagna. Layered
    Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. So good in January. I like to frequent the grocery store salad bar for
    Peas, corn, beets, hard boiled eggs, things I don't want to have a huge amount of. Add my own greens.
  • M L Radcliffe
    I buy them for lunches at work but rarely for dinner at home. We eat leftovers or once a week go out to dinner.
  • curlieq
    I just spent the past hour chopping (and sautéing half of the) onions, peppers, zucchini for pizza tonight (DH loves rolling out the bagged market dough!). I also took half the undressed salad from Thanksgiving, sautéed it with more greens and white beans for lunches this week (no cafeteria where I work). Does this count for "prepared meals"?
  • Kristine

    Never frozen dinners from the supermarket. Oh, there is an exception: the really good frozen pizza my natural food co-op just started stocking:) Never take-out because there's nothing tasty in my area. I do make pasta sauce and soup and freeze in serving size portions.

  • diyer59

    "TV dinners" are horrible--high in salt (sodium) and fat. If I want to get something "ready made" I opt for a healthy choice I've carefully looked over. But 99% of the time, I cook good meals from scratch.

  • tipmax

    I almost said never since I cook and can ( even make my own beer) all the time, but there is fried chicken and pizza. I guess that grocery store fried chicken and Pizza Hut count as a prepared meal even though I consider them a food group on their own since I love both.

  • moenna

    I have cooked a full meal in the evening, almost all my life. I am now 75. Even now and living on my own, I still cook and bake things for breakfast. I do usually, try to cook two meals at a time. One to eat and one to freeze for later. Just lately, since I hurt my back and arm, my daughter has brought me some grocery store, prepared dinners to microwave, which did help enormously. However, as long as I am able, I still prefer to cook each evening.

  • Karla Faraday
    I wish I had time to prepare ahead of time. And healthy meals preferred.
  • grandmabetty

    I live alone and don't feel like cooking something and having it several days in a row or if I do its quick and not fully health. Now I have containers that are divided into three sections so I make meals with heathy food. I need a certain portion size and these are great for that. So I make 3-4 meals and divide them into the containers. Then for a meal I pull one out and microwave for about 2 minutes and then eat. I learned potatoes don't freeze but recently found Scrambled eggs freeze well and I might start doing breakfast that way too.

  • mowhui
    Once in a while when the schedule is tight. Otherwise, everything else served on the table is healthy home-cooked meals.
  • magada

    I probably would if ever i came across anything remotely edible but industrially prepared food is just too disgusting.

  • slubin7065
    I hate to cook. My only hesitation when I got married (45 years ago) was that I would have make dinner every night for the rest of my life! So, I find every short cut to put a healthy dinner in the table. it just takes too much time to shop, prepare and clean up dinner that takes about 20 minutes to eat. We have just GOT to find an easier way. For those of you who love to cook, I apologize.
  • Not a Pro

    I prepare healthy meals, which I freeze. In the morning, it all goes in a crockpot! Easy and delicious.

  • moenna

    For those who have limited time or hate prepared, store bought food, a pressure cooker is the way to go. They have come a long way from the 50's. I have asked for one for Christmas and keeping my fingers crossed.

  • ninigret

    i don't work 'out' so i have lots of time to cook that others don't, so i do. but on a weekend if one of us is hungry and the other isnt, i have a stash of frozen indian boxes from trader joe's that are awesome. amy's is a good brand too.

  • laurielynne

    I was going to say "never" but then I realized that I do rely heavily on the grocery BBQ'd chickens, especially in the summer if it's too hot to cook. Depending on how many I have for dinner, I'll grab one or two of these, make a couple of salads, and dinner is done in a snap - with left overs used for soup, stir fry, salads or sandwiches during the week. Also, I will buy a frozen lasagne if they are on sale. For the cost, time, mess and effort it takes to make my own, it's more than worth it to me to buy them.

  • Delora Dickey

    Due to my husband's work schedule, I have become an "expert" on quick meals that take 15-20 minutes to toss together. Since it's just the 2 of us, we eat in the living room on TV trays and watch Netflix shows for 2 hours. We visit/talk when he comes home, over dishes, and at bedtime. He gets his down time and we get together time.

  • PRO
    Lindus Construction/Midwest LeafGuard

    Slow cookers can be a real life saver!

  • Carol Tecchio

    I make my own. I buy "family packs" & make multiple meals, package them for the freezer, & either finish cooking them, or microwave them. When the 3 girls were home, we used to BBQ in the summer & make 10 or so meals at one time & freeze them. In the winter, I would have beef stew, chicken soup, chicken cacciatore, & chili all going at one time on Sundays.

  • pasovasz

    I spend my time sewing but do not like to cook, so...I cook once and we eat twice of the same food. Skip a day or 2 between, have a dinner "out" or, if we are lucky, a neighbor invites us for dinner, even if he is just making tacos. He loves to cook.

  • mynxr

    Never. I have a severe gluten allergy so we make all our meals from scratch.

  • Sam Hope

    We never do TV dinners. We don't even own a microwave. But we do the rotisserie chickens from the deli quite a bit, and they are effing delicious. I also use the meat off them for other meals- chicken alfredo, chicken noodle soup, etc. They're pretty awesome when you want something real, but also something super easy. We're also guilty of going to our favorite Mexican joint every Sunday. And pizza and a movie on Fridays. It gets especially bad during kayaking season... work all day, paddle after work, suddenly it's nine o' clock and we haven't even thought about food! If we didn't have convenience, it'd be a heck of a lot of peanut butter 'n' jelly sandwiches for din.

  • imgonefishing

    We never eat "ready made" meals. My Mom was a fantastic cook and everything was made from scratch. Even curds and whey instead of store bought cottage cheese. We buy a whole beef every year from my brother (its organic and about half the price of store bought) and sometimes a 4-H animal if we know they have been raised hormone free. We have two big freezers that are always full. We catch our own steelhead and salmon. Buy farm eggs from one of my girlfriends. Even when I was working two jobs when my kids were little, lots of crock pot meals tossed together before off to work, but never ready made meals. For one thing ready made meals are about twice to three times as expensive as homemade and all those preservatives are just scary when I think about them adding up in our cells for decades.

  • mynxr

    We buy half a cow in Ohio and bringing it back to NC. Even with the cost of gas, it's cheaper than buying the same thing here. Plus, we know the farmer so we know exactly what goes in and most importantly what doesn't go into her beef. She takes the cows up to Cleveland for butchering because he flash freezes and vac seals and labels everything. A neighbor's son in NY raises pigs and we get half a pig every year from them. I would love to raise chickens but we would have to cut down on travel or find someone willing to tend them while we were gone. We catch our own flounder, sheepshead, and anything else that will bite in addition to crab and shrimp. This season, we plan on trying our hand at oysters and digging clams. We do a soup pot for leftovers and when the containers in the freezer are full, we combine it with some homemade frozen broth and canned tomatoes to make soup. It's never the same twice but it's always good! I've never thought about buying a 4-H animal. Will have to look into that for next year.

  • lauren1

    I've completely changed the way I eat this past year. I call it "virtually vegan" because my menu is vegan except for salmon (6 oz.) once each week and sardines (2 tins per week) as part of my new health regime. Prepared meals and TV dinners just don't fit the way I want to eat these days. I'm amazed at how easy it was to make the switch, how much energy I have, and how easy it has been to drop the excess weight while still enjoying satisfying meals.

  • slubin7065

    I knew a woman with 5 kids. When she was about 65 she tried to figure out how many meals she had prepared. Whatever the number, you couldn't find anyone in the world to sign up for that job. It's a labor of love. It's also ridiculous.

  • PRO
    MAP Consultants, LLC

    I cook 90% of my meals at home, however, Trader Joe's has a great selection of frozen east indian fare that I will readily admit I will "heat and eat" about 1x a week if I am in a jam.

  • moenna

    slubin7065 But millions have and still do - and enjoy it.

  • nhme

    Absolutely never!

    All it should take is reading one label on any given package, realize it is a box of chemicals, and that should put an end to it.

  • retirment

    I love to cook and my family love to eat what I prepare. I am retired now so when I cook which is once a week, I make a large batch of every thing put them in servings in the freezer. larger servings for special days as in Sundays and when visitors drop in and servings for two. Each meal I just prepare veggies and a healthy hot meal is ready in less that 20 minutes. This way I have more time to go walking with my husband and the Grand Children when they visit. One Love.

  • Diane Fairbanks

    After retiring early due to health problems, I was quite used to cooking my own meals and freezing extras for days when I didn't want to cook. However, this summer I fell and shattered my ankle, and was in a wheelchair w/cast for 2 months, making it very difficult to cook for any length of time. Thus, I had to resort to frozen dinners during that time period. I will say that I did not starve to death, but I enjoy my own cooking so much more! Plus, I don't use nearly as much salt as TV dinners do, but my food still has a lot more taste!

  • Alison

    I'm a vegetarian, so that rules out a bunch of frozen meals and also don't have a microwave which rules out even more. I will occasionally get a frozen meal if I'm going to be somewhere with a microwave (1-2 times a year normally) as a treat. Also have a few frozen burritos and cans of soup ready as a backup in case I really don't feel up to cooking. Luckily I don't have a Trader Joe's anywhere nearby or I might grab frozen things more often. I love their vegetable gyoza. Haven't tried many other of their frozen meals.

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