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TOPIC: Lean Cuisine - good or bad?

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February 12, 2010 11:02 AM
Heathy choice steamers are very low in sodium the asian ones! I have to watch my sodium cause of high blood pressure but there very good and very low!
February 12, 2010 2:10 PM
There was an article on yahoo a few weeks ago (and it was also on one of the Evening News shows....(still not sure exactly how reliable the sources are but...)
The overview of the article/news bit was that lean cuisine, smartones, healthy choice and one other one (not sure which, sorry) were all "tested" for calories counts. (not additives, just calories) and all - every single one - of the brands actually had MORE calories then were stated on the lables. MORE?! The reason that the companies said this was ok had to do with 1. the federal govt guidleines that say that calorie amounts can vary within a certain amount and 2. that the added ingredients are so hard to calculate that they are estimated.
My opinion -- if you cant calculate nutritional value because they are so variable I dont think I want to put it in my body. Id rather buy some meat, cook it with seasonings that I am aware of, mix it with vegetables that I have cooked and add a rice or carb (I do eat about 80% orgainc) then freeze them in individual containers to "eat my own" "tv dinners.
just my opinion
February 12, 2010 2:17 PM
I have had the same question. My cholesterol is through the roof, and I started eating them to help me stop buying so much fast food for lunch and skipping dinner. I have never had a problem with sodium, but I am afraid of fixing one problem and risking creating another. Any suggestions?
February 12, 2010 6:38 PM
I eat lean Cuisines every once in awhile. They are better than other choices, however there are better choices than lean cuisine. We can all claim to know what exactly "healthy" means in terms of food, but honestly there are so many different ideas and conflicting studies floating around, noone is really 100% sure. I choose to eat in moderation, I do eat some processed foods (a very small amount), I also eat fresh veggies, whole grains, lean meats (no red meat). If someone want to eat organic non processed or whatever that is great. All I can say is that I have lost alot of weight, gotten to where I can control my stomach problems, depression and blood sugar without medication and I enjoy all the foods I love even some processed. If you want to eat a lean cuisine great its much better than a cheese burger and fries. They are high in sodium but I know if I don't have time to prepare my lunch I would rather choose lean cuisine over fast food anyday. Use your own judgement and take everything you read on hear with a grain of salt, do your own research. That would be my opinion.
February 12, 2010 7:04 PM
When I tried Lean Cuisine, I noticed they were sky high in sodium (at least the ones I grabbed). I eat Healthy Choice meals instead, most of which are under 500 sodium. My favorite are the cafe steamers.
February 12, 2010 10:46 PM
QUOTE:

When I tried Lean Cuisine, I noticed they were sky high in sodium (at least the ones I grabbed). I eat Healthy Choice meals instead, most of which are under 500 sodium. My favorite are the cafe steamers.


LOVE LOVE LOVE them!
  522444
February 12, 2010 11:12 PM
All the frozen entrees that are marketed toward dieters have sodium issues--depending upon which particular one you choose. There are certain Smart Ones that are high in sodium, and some that are low. Same with Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. I choose entrees that have 600 mg or less of sodium. There are a couple of exceptions because I like a particular dish.

Because of my work schedule, I don't have time to fiddle around with cooking. I eat lunch and dinner while working. If I wait to get home to eat dinner, it is late and I have trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

My typical day of eating on a day when I work is to have for breakfast a Earth Grains, or Orowheat Sandwich Thin, some almond butter, 1/8 cup of roasted soy nuts, and a banana for breakfast, OR oatmeal with the soy nuts and blueberries. I snack on an apple or maybe another banana.

For lunch I will have some kind of frozen entree. Today it was Healthy Choice Lobster Cheese Ravioli, with another 1/8 cup of roasted soy nuts. For dinner I had a Lean Cuisine Cheddar Broccoli with Potatoes and 1/2 cup of cooked edamame.

I use soy nuts and edamame as ways of adding protein to an entree that might be a little low, for example it doesn't have a meat, chicken or fish protein.

Even using 2 prepared entrees per day, average, I am able to keep my sodium to anywhere from 1500-1900 mgs per day. I also look at carbs and fat in the things I choose. I do take blood pressure meds, though I have reduced my dosage by 75% since I reached my 50 lb. weight loss.

In a perfect world, I would be able to do everything from scratch, but I play the hand I am dealt, and for me, judiciously chosen frozen entrees have significantly contributed to my successful weight loss. I like the recent changes Healthy Choice has made where they have products with no preservatives. The Safeway brand "Eating Right" also has some good options.

Everyone has their own opinion about prepared foods, and I don't expect everyone to approach things as I do, but I do think you can make good choices with these products if you are a label reader and look at the cumulative picture of how these products contribute to your total consumption of calories, sodium...etc.
Edited by weaklink109 On February 12, 2010 11:14 PM
February 13, 2010 2:21 AM
QUOTE:

I eat Lean Cuisine frozen meals quite a lot when I'm at work, but I'm wondering if they are actually doing me any good. I love how convenient they are, and I think they are delicious, but I'm worry when it comes to pre-packaged stuff. Thoughts??

If you are trying to stay within a low calorie range, then Lean Cuisine offers many low calorie choices. They also have some low sodium choices, if that is a concern for you. I think that if eating Lean Cuisine meals helps you to control your calories, and thus lose weight, then it is a reasonable choice.

Heck, I drink sugar-free hot cocoa mix in the evening. It satisfies my sweet tooth, and chocolate craving. Yes, it is full of chemicals, but I am currently more focused on watching my calories than I am on eliminating all chemicals. "One step at a time", for me. I'm wanting to get the extra weight off as quickly as is safe, and then later I will concentrate on other health choices. I have many areas that I can improve upon. (Stop eating force-feed chickens, stop eating white flour saimin, stop eating artificial coffee creamers.) In other words, my focus right now is losing weight. I know that I will have other things to improve upon after that. And more after that. Adopting "healthier" habits is a lifelong process.

IMHO, if Lean Cuisine meals help you lose weight, they are an acceptible choice. Not a perfect food, but not a terrible choice also. Read the labels on their foods, and chose ones that are within limits that you can manage (additives, sodium, etc.).

While I'm commenting about here, I will add that I think heating foods in a microwave in a plastic container is much more potentially harmful to your health than the artificial ingredients are! I ALWAYS remove commercial frozen foods from the plastic containers and heat them in a glass container in the microwave. It is simple to do it, and adds a layer of safety from chemical exposure that I find worthwhile.
Edited by deedeehawaii On February 13, 2010 2:22 AM
  197240
February 15, 2010 12:38 AM
DeeDee--

Good point about the change in cookware for heating microwavable foods. Yet another thing I must start doing!!!
February 15, 2010 5:16 AM
To be honest, lunchmeat is highly processed and full of sodium and preservatives too. Unless you're buying organic chicken or turkey and cooking it yourself, your sandwich could be just as bad. It is really hard and really expensive to eat foods that aren't processed and full of things they shouldn't be.
I eat frozen dinners sometimes and I eat canned soup sometimes and I eat canned veggies sometimes. I try to balance that out with fresh fruits and vegetables. I also eat alot of fish and chicken that I cook myself. It's hard to be perfect all of the time. I'm losing weight and I'm drinking at least 10 glasses of water a day and I'm losing. You should probably set your sodium level before you plan your meals and try to stay right around that.
  491131
February 15, 2010 7:10 PM
QUOTE:

To be honest, lunchmeat is highly processed and full of sodium and preservatives too. Unless you're buying organic chicken or turkey and cooking it yourself, your sandwich could be just as bad.

How true. We all need to make educated choices. LIfe is full of choices. For example, I'd eat a plate full of some of the flavors of Lean Cuisine before I'd eat a bowl full of yogurt made from GELATIN. We all have our limits and our personal choices on what lines we will cross. I don't eat beef, pork, nor gelatin (google what it is made from... yuck!). But, I'd probably eat a L.C. Veggie Lasagna in a pinch.

And, as I mentioned earlier, if you warm food in the microwave, and use plastic containers, you are opening the door to possibly ingesting a big dose of chemicals. It just might be that your warming the healthiest of home-made leftovers in a plastic container is no better than eating a commercial frozen food.

MFP is great ... it gives a good opportunity for us to share thoughts and ideas. Viva la internet!
  197240
February 15, 2010 7:13 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

To be honest, lunchmeat is highly processed and full of sodium and preservatives too. Unless you're buying organic chicken or turkey and cooking it yourself, your sandwich could be just as bad.

How true. We all need to make educated choices. LIfe is full of choices. For example, I'd eat a plate full of some of the flavors of Lean Cuisine before I'd eat a bowl full of yogurt made from GELATIN. We all have our limits and our personal choices on what lines we will cross. I don't eat beef, pork, nor gelatin (google what it is made from... yuck!). But, I'd probably eat a L.C. Veggie Lasagna in a pinch.

And, as I mentioned earlier, if you warm food in the microwave, and use plastic containers, you are opening the door to possibly ingesting a big dose of chemicals. It just might be that your warming the healthiest of home-made leftovers in a plastic container is no better than eating a commercial frozen food.

MFP is great ... it gives a good opportunity for us to share thoughts and ideas. Viva la internet!


Thanks for the part about plastic containers. I had never heard that before. Learn something new everyday!
February 15, 2010 8:46 PM
Glad someone else asked about this. Frozen foods aren't great for you, but they are easy. I like to keep some on hand for the days I'm just not able to cook. I'm trying to stay away from preservatives and overly proccessed foods, but that isn't always possible. So I've been researching foods that still meet my other diet requirments like whole-grains, high fiber, low sodium, and etc. Well two brands so far meet that, well all but the sodium parts.

Kashi and Healthy Choice

Kashi frozen pizza, for example, are made with whole-grain and flaxseed. It is also high in fiber. The sodium isn't good, but it's the least of my problems. I'm healthy other than my weight, but for those who have to double check that for health reasons this example isn't the best.

Healthy Choice new dishes are also made with whole grains and extra virgin olive oil. It's also high in fiber like Kashi foods. The sodium is also not too bad. One meal I was looking at was 25% of our sodium and if you watch your other meals, that isn't bad!

The meals may not always be that high in calories though, so you may want to eat something along with it or a snack about 2 hours later. Remember that going for low caloiries isn't always the best thing.
  668398
February 15, 2010 8:57 PM
I just wanted to say i enjoy the Safeway Eating Right entree's. I used to eat the Lean Cuisines. Eating Right has lower sodium (around 400), taste better, and are bigger and more filling, and have less preservatives. they are also 5 x $10. So they are good for the budget conscious. I would recommend, love them!
  240664
February 15, 2010 9:11 PM
I don't think anyone's eating Lean Cuisines or similar frozen meals because they think they're nutritious- we eat them for convenience. I ate a 210 calorie microwaved pasta dish tonight, and (mentally) felt like crap after because I know it's garbage, loaded with chemicals, and then microwaved...not really something I personally feel good about eating, but it was there, and it was 210 calories.

If it keeps you from eating something worse, then it's doing some good, but there are also much better choices that involve a little more effort.
  232091
February 15, 2010 9:16 PM
I just have one comment about Lean Cuisine and that is that they do not contain enough protein for the amount of calories. I find myself looking around for something to eat in a couple of hours after eating them.

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