Thursday, March 31, 2011

Move Over, Lean Cuisine Paninis!

I stated in an earlier post that I’m not a giant fan of the Lean Cuisine Panini line. The bread just doesn’t cook particularly well in the microwave and I never feel like I’ve consumed enough of a meal.  But when it comes to taste, I think I’ve found an awesome alternative.

I recently enjoyed Stouffer’s Corner Bistro® Chicken Quesadilla Flatbread Melt.  And I should emphasize that I *really* enjoyed it.  The seasoned flatbread was excellent, and unlike the bread of the Lean Cuisine paninis, it was able to achieve the desired texture, moisture, and flavor in the cooking process.  While the ingredients are very similar to the Lean Cuisine ingredients – chicken, roasted red peppers, Poblano peppers and onions – I think there must be *more* here because I felt like I had consumed much more of a complete meal.

However, a glance at the nutritional content begins to explain my enjoyment:

  • 370 calories here in contrast to 310 calories in Lean Cuisine
  • 15 g of fat here in contrast to 9 g of fat in Lean Cuisine

But truthfully, I think the taste of this one is worth the 60 extra calories and the 15 g of fat (only 6 g saturated fat, by the way).  If you haven’t tried this product, or any of the Stouffer’s flatbread items, I highly recommend you give them a try. 

Calories:  370
Fat:  15 g
Sodium:  640 mg
Notable good nutritional content:   Vitamin C 25% / Calcium 35%
Notes on cooking:   Single 2 ½ minute shot
Notes on packaging:  cardboard box and silver crisping tray; nothing recyclable

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Actual Nutrition? Who Knew!?!?

I launched into Healthy Choice’s Chicken Teriyaki without much thought.  It was a busy day and I was trying to get a lot done while I ate through lunch.  It was fine.  I can’t say it really left me with a strong negative or positive impression when it came to taste.  The side of vegetables – which included carrots, red peppers, shelled edamame – lacked salt, as is customary with these compartmentalized tray meals.  The gingersnap peach crisp was an interesting change.  Given that most of these compartmentalized trays boast an apple crisp, it was good to have a different dessert.  Admittedly, though, I think I prefer the apple crisp; Healthy Choice has perfected that option a little better than this one.

Near the end of my meal, I grabbed the box to make my notes for this blog and noticed that when compared to other meals I’ve reviewed, this one claims quite a bit of nutritional content.  In the details at the end of each blog entry, under “notable good nutritional content,” I generally note any vitamin/mineral when 20% of the daily value is contained in the product.  For a few meal reviews, I’ve had only one or two items to list.  Having *seven* might be a record for this blog. I, for one, take pride in the times when I make a truly healthy choice for a lunchtime meal, and this is one I can really feel good about.

Calories:  350
Fat:  6 g
Sodium:  500 mg
Notable good nutritional content:   Vitamin A 35% / Vitamin C 50% / Vitamin E 20% / Manganese 50% / Folic Acid 30% / Selenium 30% / Niacin 20%
Notes on cooking:   Single 5 ½ - 6 ½ minute shot
Notes on packaging:  black compartmentalized tray, recyclable

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Healthy Choice Garlic Herb Shrimp

Just a simple meal review here…

Today’s meal is the Healthy Choice Garlic Herb Shrimp.  This is one of Healthy Choice’s “Steaming EntrĂ©e” products – which is not the line with a colander nested into a bowl, but the line that includes a small, single tray that does not require puncturing of its plastic wrapper for cooking.  The cardboard packaging portrays the product to be chock full of vegetables and other natural ingredients; there is even a stamp-like image that states “Fresh Taste from Quality Ingredients” and photographs of the individual natural ingredients.  The ingredients listed begin with whole grain pasta, zucchini, asparagus, and shrimp.

Another thing that further solidifies this product’s description as “healthy” is its taste.  Which is to say…it tastes very boring.  Now don’t get me wrong; as I’ve said on many occasions, I like the taste of a good fresh vegetable.  But somehow this product’s bits of asparagus and zucchini just didn’t add the flavor I desired.  Additionally, the sauce was overly mild – a bizarre statement, many would say, about a garlic-flavored sauce (since afternoon meetings following consumption of such a named sauce are typically not a good idea). 

I wouldn't say I would never eat this again, but I can’t say I’d turn to it if I was looking for rewarding flavor. 

Calories:  260
Fat:  7 g
Sodium:  600 mg
Notable good nutritional content:  Folic Acid 20%
Notes on cooking:   single shot, 3 - 3 ½ minutes
Notes on packaging:  clear plastic tray, recyclable