Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Frozen low down

Life gets crazy. And sometimes when life gets crazy healthy eating choices are the first thing to go out the window. DON'T let this happen to you. Meals thrown together can mean unknown nutritional value and that can be dangerous. There are ways to remedy. When cooking a nutritional meal just doesn't fit into your schedule the drive-thru window isn't your only option!

Although I was totally scared to delve into the "frozen meal" world at first, my mom helped show me that not all of them are as scary as they seem! It all started when my family moved to AZ right at the start of my college experience. Cooking for myself seemed near impossible at that point, and I began to wonder if cereal for dinner every night was just the way it was going to be. Elaine, being the fantastic mom that she is, shed some light on the healthy choices of frozen meals that are out there that don't taste awful. I've since become a better cook, thank goodness, but still rely on these frozen guys every now and again when time is short and my stomach is waiting!

Here are some tips when picking out frozen meals...

1. Aim for those that keep calories in the 250-300 range (journal as light frozen meal).
2. Choose meals with less than 4 grams of saturated fat.
3. Choose meals with less than 800 milligrams of sodium.
4. Select meals with at least 3-5 grams of fiber.

Even if you can get 3 out of 4 of these down you'll be in pretty good shape. If you're still feeling baffled I'll let you in on my picks...
Some of my favorites include;

Smart Ones Chicken Enchilada Suiza
ringing in at 310 calories it has a great flavor and is filling!

Smart Ones Chicken Santa Fe
This one has only 140 calories and a full serving of veggies. WOW. I've found that it's not filling enough for me, so I'll cook this bad boy up and put it inside a La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Tortilla. This will put your calorie count up to 220, 5.5 grams of fat, 16 grams of fiber, and 28 grams of protein. Tell me those stats aren't KILLER. You could even throw some salsa on there if you wanted.

Smart Ones Picante Chicken Pasta
This one has 260 calories and 23 grams of protein! AMAZING. It has a spicey southwestern flavor too it that is really good!

Smart Ones Ravioli Florentine
This one has a great sweet flavor to it. It only has 250 calories in it, and is great paired with some steamed veggies!

Lean Cuisine's Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans
This tasty dish almost makes you feel like you're eating authentic mexican food...almost. It is super tasty and filling at only 300 calories.

Lean Cuisine's Roasted Vegetable Pizza
I LOVE this one! I don't eat pizza very often...or at all really, except for this! It's a perfect little pan size pizza, and one you can't feel too bad about. With 310 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 14 grams of protein, I'd say it's pretty decent.

Amy's Frozen Black Bean Burrito
I was a little hesitant to try this one, but once I did I fell in love with this all organic product. With 270 calories, it is a little higher in fat (ringing in at 8 grams) but only 1 gram is saturated fat, so I don't feel too bad. Amy has a whole line of frozen burritos and they are delicious!

As you can tell, I stick mainly to the chicken/meatless entrees, but I'm sure some of the others that I haven't tried are just as good!

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