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TOPIC: Frozen "Healthy" Dinners as Meals- Advice

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March 6, 2012 6:43 AM
I would really like some information on the frozen dinners such as Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, etc.
Does anyone rely on them for every meal? Are they beneficial?
The reason I am asking is because my husband refuses to eat a healthy meal, so I usually have to fix what he wants then a healthy meal for me. These frozen dinners would make life so much easier!
What are some better alternatives?
March 6, 2012 6:46 AM
I think you'll get a wide range of answers based on a someone's personal views.

For me, they are convenient and sometimes, when I work 9 hours I want something quick and easy to eat when I get home. I don't eat them daily or even weekly, but I do eat them.

Read the labels. Some of them are better than other ones. If you have issues with it, you'll want to watch the sodium in them as it can be on the high side (I don't have issues with sodium, so it doesn't bother or worry me).

They do have preservatives in them (which is where the "clean eaters" will come in and say "They are JUNK!"). Other people say they don't fill them up (they do for me).

On the weekends (or your days off) you could make a bunch of healthy meals yourself, portion them out and freeze them. That would be an alternative to them. Since I'm not much of a cook and would rather not spend my days off slaving in a kitchen, I'll just go and buy a couple of these meals to have around.
Edited by chevy88grl On March 6, 2012 6:46 AM
  3200790
March 6, 2012 6:52 AM
the only bad thing about them... to me lol... is that they are high in sodium. just drink a lot of water and ull be good to go. As for ur husband, just eat what he eats in moderation. im sure u arent cooking him big mac and french fries every night. "healthy food", to me, is one that is home made. I wouldnt worry to much about eating something different from what he is. just have to have self control.
March 6, 2012 6:52 AM
I really do not think they are very "healthy" i eat them for lunch occasionally. Try salads, whole grain cereals, eggs, chicken, tilapia, make a dinner where there are a few healthy options that you can eat and still a few things that he wants. For example here is a meal that accomodates everyone in my family.

Chicken breast
Side salad
Mac and Cheese

I eat the salad and chicken. My husband smothers the chicken in either bbq sauce or honey mustard on his plate, eats the salad and mac and cheese as well.
My son will eat the Mac and cheese and lettuce dipped in cesar or ranch.

Hamburgers
Fries
Broccoli

I will eat 1/2 to possibly a whole hamburger with broccoli and perhaps 2-3 fries. My husband puts cheese on his hamburger and tons of toppings, loads his fries with cheese in the microwave and broccoli. My son will eat the fries and broccoli.


I just try to make a "win/win" dinner for my family because cooking two separate meals would be way too much for me.
March 6, 2012 6:56 AM
You can usually fit in most foods with a little healthy adjustments, as a previous poster suggested. I would NOT be fixing two meals. He needs to compromise with you somehow or learn to cook for himself.
  14822256
March 6, 2012 6:56 AM
Like Cmh1211 said, they are high in sodium, and usually high in GI 9white rice, potato, pastas) but they tick the calorie box, and when you are simply out of time, then YES, use them.

I needed to kickstart my diet when i first started, so used them for almost every meal and it was great - for about 1000 calories I could get 3 meals per day which was a great boost. After a couple of months though, I made a shift toward whole foods. My weight loss slowed down, (I was eating more calories) but I felt more balanced.

I now keep 4 in the freezer all the time, just in case! Cheaper, and better for you than a takeaway!
  10230898
March 6, 2012 6:56 AM
I eat them when I have a serious time constraint. I do see them as good or bad, I just use them in the interest of time and stay below my calorie goal.
March 6, 2012 6:57 AM
QUOTE:

I would really like some information on the frozen dinners such as Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, etc.
Does anyone rely on them for every meal? Are they beneficial?
The reason I am asking is because my husband refuses to eat a healthy meal, so I usually have to fix what he wants then a healthy meal for me. These frozen dinners would make life so much easier!
What are some better alternatives?

uh oh...here's where my "strong willed, single girl" attitude comes in...
If you're cooking and he doesn't want it, isn't he free to make his own meal?
Besides, do you have to tell him it's healthy? Chicken is chicken right?
  10024635
March 6, 2012 6:57 AM
I personally have been eating the Weight watchers Smart Ones for almost 2 weeks now and I think their great,they control portion size for you and I don't feel hungry afterwards,like someone else already said drink lots of water,I live on water and have been doing pretty good with my weight loss,so it's definitely a personal decision you have to make.
  140401
March 6, 2012 6:57 AM
QUOTE:

They do have preservatives in them (which is where the "clean eaters" will come in and say "They are JUNK!"). Other people say they don't fill them up (they do for me).


I guess I'm one of those but to me it is also about the "cooking" process. 60-80% of the nutritional value of food is lost when you heat it up/cook it. Half your plate should be fruits and veggies and eat as much as possible RAW or lightly steamed. It requires planning and effort to eat healthy.
March 6, 2012 6:57 AM
I live on them during the work week... convenient and low cal for me. I've still been losing weight and it fits my busy schedule.
March 6, 2012 6:57 AM
I wouldn't eat them every meal, but they're not bad to have sometimes. They're usually high in sodium, and not exactly made from the best ingredients, but they're low in calories and usually have a good fat/carb/protein ratio.
  2766532
March 6, 2012 6:58 AM
I am sure some of them are good but my personal opinion try to stay away from the processed stuff. It has all sorts of additives and a ton of sodium. If you are looking for convenience try making large meals on teh weekends and freezing them in serving size containers. Then during the week you can take them out and zap them in the microwave. At least that way you know exactly what is in them because you put it there.
  876312
March 6, 2012 6:58 AM
bump
  5772124
March 6, 2012 6:59 AM
I eat them occasionaly and usually add vegetables to them or Ill prepare a side salad to go along with them. It is really about convenience. Another thing I do is make a huge batch of brown rice and freeze it in cup portions. I also buy a bag of tyson chicken tenderloins. Both can be made into healthy stir frys in a jiffy or baked chicken with brown rice. Just add veggies to both as desired. Ive also mixed brown rice with the brocoli and cheese steamers and thats makes a quick easy and filling meal. Just some ideas!

- JoAnna
  8531767
March 6, 2012 7:00 AM
There are alot of meals you can make that don't sound or taste like "health" food, but are actually pretty tasty, and perfectly suitable for a household. Check out Skinnytaste.com, the food is great, seriously.
March 6, 2012 7:00 AM
I have a cookbook that I love. It is Taste of Home's comfort foods cookbook. It has "traditional" recipes made healthy and includes the calorie count. My husband and kids have no idea they are eating healthy options. I do eat a Healthy Choice like meal once or twice a week at work on my busiest days, but they don't really fill me up and they are loaded with sodium.
  11432537
March 6, 2012 7:00 AM
If he won't eat, then let him cook his own dinner. I cook healthy meals, and my son and husband can eat it, or not. They do.
If he wants pasta as a side, then make chicken and his side, and your side, if you do have to cook for him.

I think they are junk (sorry). for me, they cause huge cravings and make me want to eat more.
  4526537
March 6, 2012 7:01 AM
Thanks!
I guess these dinners would be best for a quick fix when the husband is fixing his bear stew (yuck).
Another bad thing is is that he HATES greens! I've just recently gotten him to like green beans (mmmm Papaw's homegrown) and for the first time he's eating salads! Now if I can just get him to start liking broccoli, spinach and peas I'll be happy.
I feel bad about eating things like fries and hamburges. Mac and cheese is my all-time weakness! But as mentioned, as long as it's homecooked and in moderation?
March 6, 2012 7:02 AM
Healthy doesn't have to be boring. There are so many websites out there that have healthy meal ideas and are really good. Everything from the old chicken breast standby to casseroles and even mac and cheese. My favorite site is www.skinnytaste.com. Everything I have made from there so far my kids and husband love and it doesn't taste like "diet" food. Try the chicken broccoli noodle casserole and the healthy baked chicken nuggets.
  18057059
March 6, 2012 7:02 AM
Frozen dinners have been a staple for me in the past but after a while you'll get sick of them. Since you are already cooking, I would try to find ways to modify the meals you are cooking for your husband so that you can have some too. A few tricks that I've used on my husband that significantly lowered the fat content of the food are using skim milk and parkay butter spray in place of regular butter and milk. Plus, figuring out trade offs that you can both live with will help you out tons in the future when you are trying to maintain your weight. An example, today I am maklng cinnamon toast using whole wheat bread, truvia (natural sweetener with zero calories), zero cal parkay butter spray and of course cunnamon. I wonder if anyone will even notice the difference?wink
  18140668
March 6, 2012 7:02 AM
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/top-12-healthy-frozen-dinners
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This list might be helpful to you.

*The Mayan Harvest Bake is SO good!!

Typically, I try to eat fresh, unprocessed foods (which can be incredibly challenging for obvious reasons)... but the results are way better. There's a really cool blog I read from a girl who's lost over 130lbs and keeps it off with just walking and eating mindfully. Every Sunday, she makes a big "base salad" from which she'll draw every lunch from over the course of the week. Each day you can make a DIFFERENT salad with the fixins, but the basic work will have been done on Sunday. Also, healthy crockpot recipes might be helpful --- a lot of them you can actually FREEZE and thaw later when you're pressed for time. Just some ideas for you.
March 6, 2012 7:02 AM
I don't think any processed food is great for any length of time. I do keep a few in my freezer for emergencies. I live on my own, so although I don't have a partner to feed I do batch cooking at the weekend and fill the freezer up which usually ends up lasting me a couple of weeks and my shopping bill has reduced dramatically.
I do a batch of Chilli con carne (with 450g turkey mince, not beef) and place into four freezer bags. I also do a batch of Cottage pie, again with turkey mince and full of veg and place this in 6 containers and freeze, I also do a homemade bolognaise sauce. So every night when I get home from work I only have to heat up what I have taken out the freezer the night before and probably just cook rice, pasta or mashed potatoes to go with my meal.
This helps me to stay on track as I know exactly what I'm having each day and doesn't leave me time to crave or think about having something I'm not suppose to xx
March 6, 2012 7:03 AM
I have a couple Lean Cuisine ones in my freezer. I scoured the freezer section at the store forever trying to pick the 'right' ones. Each one I picked is under 300 calories I think. Sugars are not bad, fat is not bad, sodium is not awful (not as high as others that is, basically doable without blowing my sodium limit for the day). I bought them at least a month ago and have only eaten 2 so far. They are not everyday meals, they have simply been a quick 'go to' when time is short. I always add more veggies on the side or a salad. They don't taste bad either so that's good I guess!

I however wouldn't eat them as a meal everyday.
March 6, 2012 7:08 AM
Like most have said, frozen meals have their place. I used to eat them a lot more, but I'm focusing more on clean eating now. I do keep them around for a quick meal when I need it. I also make large meals whenever I cook and freeze in portion size containers. Also, when I make very time consuming things like lasagna, I always make 2 and freeze a whole one for later.
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