Consumer Reports: Tastier Frozen Diet Meal

Consumer Reports: Tastier Frozen Diet Meal »Play Video

It's the New Year and many of us have resolved to lose weight and eat healthfully. Could adding diet microwaveable meals to the menu help? Americans spend more than $2 billion a year on those prepackaged frozen meals. No wonder store shelves are full of them.

When Consumer Reports taste-tested diet meals a few years ago, most weren't very good. A lot had rubbery vegetables, mushy pastas, and a general lack of wholesome, fresh ingredients. But Consumer Reports' latest tests of two dozen diet meals find that things are changing.

The tests of diet entrées included 24 meals from names like Weight Watchers, Healthy Choice, and Lean Cuisine. Meals were rated on the basis of taste and overall nutrition, including saturated fat, dietary fiber, and sodium, which tends to be higher in prepackaged and prepared foods.

This time more than half of the meals rated very good for taste.

  •      Testers found Kashi's 290-calorie Chicken Florentine fresh-tasting and flavorful.
  •      For beef-lovers, try Weight Watchers Smart Ones Home Style Beef Pot Roast Bistro Selections. At 180 calories, it has real beef-stew taste.
  •      For a meatless meal, consider Lean Cuisine Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans with its flavorful cheesy sauce.

But Consumer Reports says be aware that not all of those entrées have enough calories to replace a full meal. You may want to add a healthful salad or some vegetables or fresh fruit to help round out the meal.

Consumer Reports says that even if you're on a diet, meals with less than about 400 calories aren't enough as a full meal. That's when you want to add those healthful side dishes.

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