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TOPIC: Smart ones, lean cuisine.... A good idea?

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April 12, 2012 8:34 PM
I'm on a 1200cal/day diet. I don't haves lot of time to cook and prepare meals, especially for lunch. Are frozen meal entrees like smart ones and lean cuisine a good idea? I see they're low in calories but very high in sodium. Would I be better off take a meal replacement shake like slim fast instead?
April 12, 2012 8:36 PM
What can you keep doing for the remainder of your life? My thoughts are the meals as while they are higher in sodium they are something that you have multiple choices and can do for a long time... I made the mistake my first go round at cutting things too tight and not making choices that i could sustain for a long period of time... just my thoughts.....
  17897539
April 12, 2012 8:38 PM
They are high in sodium... I use to do them thinking I was doing good, but they are processed and filled with sodium.
  4563381
April 12, 2012 8:56 PM
I had little time today to prepare my lunch. I had a LC shrimp scampi and a small salad. The LC was only 250 cals. I buy them for emergecies only.
April 12, 2012 9:18 PM
Why don't you try to pack a simple lunch instead? Sandwiches, fruits, veggies and dips, salads, pasta. There's a whole lot of things you can do that don't require a lot of cooking. Look up bento box blogs for ideas, especially ones dedicated towards packing for kids. You can also start making a double portion of dinner and eating that at lunch the next day.

Convenience foods might be just fine now and then, but relying on them might back you into a corner. Will you want to eat like that for a long time? Would you benefit more from taking the time to learn how to make quick, healthy meals? It might take some adjusting, but you might find that more worthwhile in the long run.
  19216638
April 12, 2012 9:19 PM
I use smart ones and lean cuisines all the time. I have no problems with sodium. Everyone is different. Its best to just experiment and find what works for you.
April 13, 2012 6:48 AM
QUOTE:

Why don't you try to pack a simple lunch instead? Sandwiches, fruits, veggies and dips, salads, pasta. There's a whole lot of things you can do that don't require a lot of cooking. Look up bento box blogs for ideas, especially ones dedicated towards packing for kids. You can also start making a double portion of dinner and eating that at lunch the next day.

Convenience foods might be just fine now and then, but relying on them might back you into a corner. Will you want to eat like that for a long time? Would you benefit more from taking the time to learn how to make quick, healthy meals? It might take some adjusting, but you might find that more worthwhile in the long run.


This. It takes 10 minutes on Saturday to cut up a bunch of carrots and celery. You can go to Costco and buy hummus REALLY cheap. It's delicious, healthy, and better for you.

Cheese sticks and turkey breast (nitrate free...or roast it yourself) are easy to keep on hand and throw in a lunch box.

Bento boxes are super popular right now and so there are TONS of ideas out there. I think that's your healthiest bet.

If you really "need" to go the processed frozen meal route then you might look at Healthy Choice. I know they focus on low fat low sodium.
April 13, 2012 7:41 AM
Generally speaking, they are't great if you are having 2 per day every day of the week because they are processed and have tons of sodium. That said, I think having them occasionally isn't really going to hurt and they are a good quick option that doesn't spoil. I might have 2 or 3 of them a week. I think they are a good way to realize what a proper portion size really should be. I usually will have them for dinner and follow it with an apple and it is enoguh to hold me over.
April 13, 2012 8:09 AM
I usually have a frozen dinner for lunch most weekdays. Most of them are high in sodium, but one of my favorites is the Stouffers baked Chicken breast with mashed potatoes & gravy. I scrape most of the gravy off, but it's 240 calories, 8g of fat & 24 g of protein. I add some fat free yoplait light, fruit, vegetables & a Jello sugar free pudding & it tides me over until supper.
  14265699
April 13, 2012 8:12 AM
In a pinch, but not on a daily basis....a 1200 calorie diet is nutrient deficit enough without compounding it.
April 13, 2012 8:13 AM
I do lean cuisines alot for lunch. I do try to stick to ones with under 350 cals and lower in sodium.
  11047991
April 13, 2012 8:14 AM
you need to learn how to cook smart and snack smart. Using those are just being lazy. For instance, when you cook a chicken breat cook 5 instead of onw so you have a quick chicken sandwich or chicken salald to eat.
April 13, 2012 8:17 AM
Smart Ones are a life saver...yes watch the sodium..which shouldn't be a big issue as long your'e having one a day..Remember no matter what diet you follow always supplement with good multi mineral/vitamin...
April 13, 2012 8:18 AM
Taking 5 minutes to throw together a salad with some tuna/egg/chicken doesn't take long or throwing together a wrap. In order to suceed in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you have got to MAKE time for preparing meals. Even if you make big batches of something on Sunday to use for the week....chop your veggies then, wash your lettuce, make a batch of hard boiled eggs, etc...surely you can't be THAT busy every waking minute of every day. However, it's okay to keep some lean cuisines on hand for the days where you're in a bind!
Edited by determined2lose89 On April 13, 2012 8:19 AM
April 13, 2012 8:19 AM
I think the best advice someone could give you is......TRY IT FOR YOURSELF.
  17621019
April 13, 2012 8:19 AM
I'm having to eat them at the moment as my cooker's broken and I've only got the microwave - but I hate them. The ingredients are poor quality, they're not balanced, and the sodium content is mad.

When I have cooking facilities, I make up batches of very substantial salads using say roasted vegetables, brown rice/pasta/beans, and protein in the form of chicken or tuna. A batch might take an hour to assemble, and these freeze. Smiliarly, for hot food I make big casseroles and freeze some in portions. Sort of homemade convenience food, but much healthier...

A weird thing about the ready meals is that even though they are often higher in calories than my versions, they don't seem at all filling, so I'm much hungrier than usual - I don't know whether that's because of the salt content?
April 13, 2012 8:20 AM
I think the solid food would keep you more full over a protein shake. Yes, they may be higher in sodium, but I like the fact that they are portion controlled. Some of them are pretty tasty. I often take them to work for lunch, and if I'm feeling lazy I'll eat one for dinner (I live alone so often cooking for one is a pain).
  228500
April 13, 2012 8:21 AM
QUOTE:

you need to learn how to cook smart and snack smart. Using those are just being lazy. For instance, when you cook a chicken breat cook 5 instead of onw so you have a quick chicken sandwich or chicken salald to eat.


I don't think that is lazy, she might have a very busy schedule or may not know how to cook. I cook my meals before hand as well but for people who schedules are a bit busier it could be diffucult. OP i think it is best for you to try and cook your own meals but if you are in a rush for time, lean cuisines should be no problem,
April 13, 2012 8:22 AM
Well, speaking for myself, I ate frozen lean meals on a daily basis for lunch during the work week for about 6 months. That paired with a healthy breakfast and dinner, I was able to lose 50lbs and have kept it off for the past 6 yrs.. So, it worked for me. Now, some days I would eat tuna, low-fat cottage cheese and wheat thins for lunch, so I would change it up from time to time. Like a previous poster said, there are so many options that you could eat them long term and not get too burned out on them.
  3462481
April 13, 2012 8:22 AM
As long as you are having a good breakfast and a good dinner; Smart Ones for lunch will work. However, plan the night before if you possibly can and have a good lunch because I find if I eat Smart Ones...I'm hungry about two hours later. Do what works for you and your caloric intake!

Good luck! flowerforyou
  17505996
April 13, 2012 8:25 AM
Yum. Sodium!

Great way to add taste and lose weight!

Works for me :)
  8542221
April 13, 2012 8:45 AM
I'm of the "one mountain a day" camp... I used these to help break my "cheeseburger and fries" lunch habits so the sodium was actually the same or maybe lower than what I was eating. Later I realized I was paying anywhere from 2 to 4 bucks for 40 cents worth of pasta and sauce, and started making my own in big batches that I could divide and freeze. Salt content controlled. Taste improved.
  5812368
April 13, 2012 8:53 AM
I think the lazy comment above is a bit harsh.

I got wrapped up in all or nothing thinking. That I had to prepare all meals, all the time with all natural, all whole ingredients. And it started to get over whelming. Sometimes, in life when you are trying to balance a lot of things, you have to prioritize. And for me, sometime reading a second bedtime story to my son IS more important the cooking chicken for lunch the next day. When I do cook, I do enough to have left overs, but sometimes leftovers run out and it is just best to cut myself some slack and grab a frozen meal.

I have noticed that Healthy Choice seems to have stepped up their meals a notch. They seem to have decent ingredients. I ALWAYS add extra veggies. I buy those Zip 'n' Steam bags that Ziplock makes and toss veggies in that to steam in the microwave. (sometimes I buy pre cut/pre washed veggies to save on time, too, even though they are a bit more $!)
April 13, 2012 8:59 AM
QUOTE:

you need to learn how to cook smart and snack smart. Using those are just being lazy. For instance, when you cook a chicken breat cook 5 instead of onw so you have a quick chicken sandwich or chicken salald to eat.


Lazy is an ignorant way to look at it. When I have the time, I'll cook extra food & take it for lunch, but with a family, two jobs, helping out on my in-laws farm & working out 5-6 days a week, lazy is the last thing I am. I'd also rather have a variety in the foods I eat, rather than have the same thing 3-4 days in a row.
  14265699
April 13, 2012 9:17 AM
Healthy choice makes some that seem to be a bit lower in sodium and use "real" ingredients - I can't remember what line they are, but they're under the Healthy Choice brand.

I like Amy's burritos in a pinch too. They're basically a whole wheat tortilla, beans, veggies and cheese. Less than 300 and more filling than the LC's. They're in the frozen section and you just microwave them for 3 min I think.
  14205701

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