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More Frozen Entrees

Posted by tinako on February 28, 2010

I had Moosewood’s Pasta e Fagioli tonight.  It was good, and at 230 calories, I am not hungry.

Consumer Reports had an article on “diet meals” in their February 2010 issue, Lean Cuisine-type stuff.  Though they didn’t mention anything that I have been buying in the natural food section, they covered a few pasta and bean dishes, though noting that vegetarians need to check the ingredients, which often include animal broth or fat.  I could also see that some had cheese.

They made a couple of points I can second:

  • Overall, these meals are much better than the TV dinners of yore.  Salisbury Putty, anyone?
  • Most have too much sodium.  This Moosewood meal was fine with 180 mg.  A guy I saw on the internet once was talking about how to read nutrition labels, and he pointed out that people should be eating around 2,000 calories per day, and that the maximum RDA for sodium was 2,400 mg.  Pretty close, so an easy way to tell if a food is high in sodium is to see if the mg of sodium is more than the calories.  This meal has 180 mg of sodium in 230 calories, so it will keep me on track.
  • Their calorie count is often too low.  Not all are sold as full meals, but many people will eat them like that.  Even dieters should be eating 400-500 calories per meal, they say.  They suggest adding vegetables and a healthy “dessert” such as grapes or a low-fat granola bar.

Unfortunately, adding something in is not convenient for my situation: bringing something to my parents’ house to just toss in the microwave while everyone else eats pizza.  But somehow these meals seem to work for me as is.

Last Sunday I had an Amy’s meal, Low-Sodium Brown Rice and Vegetables Bowl.  It was good.  This one had 270mg sodium in 260 calories, so pretty much on target.  Here is an interesting review, though they seem to have reviewed the regular-sodium product and inserted the wrong photo.  I notice that regular-sodium item has 550 mg in the same calories, so more than twice as much.

The reviewer seemed disappointed that another Amy’s item is high in calories at 400, but I agree that 19 g of fat is way too much – I guess that’s what you get when you buy something called “Cheddar Bowl.”


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