A friend gave me one of her cookbooks. What a waste of the paper it's printed on. As far as I can tell, they're less recipes and more just instructions for how to prepare packaged foods with a few add-ons. (Although it was super sweet of the friend to give it to me, and he doesn't really know better, so I don't have the heart to tell him...). It kind of annoys me that she's making money off of this stuff (and that she made a little money off of my friend).
She's the perfect example of the difference between "dieting" and "lifestyle change." Her recipes are for diets - little knowledge of nutrition, little nutritional content, a lot of processed crap - but hey, it's low in calories!
There's nothing wrong with some frozen foods. I use frozen veggies when fresh aren't in season (cheaper than fresh and far better than canned), and I use frozen fruit in smoothies and the occasional recipe. I enjoy the occasional vita-top muffin or whole-grain waffle. A veggie burger with a slice of cheese and a few slices of tomato and avocado makes for a quick, easy lunch.
Most frozen meals, though, generally lack in nutritional content, are extremely high in sodium, leave me feeling far from satisfied, and taste (at least to me) like a chemical laboratory instead of a kitchen. They're fine for the rare occasion when you're desperate (I've been known to keep one or two in the freezer for when I really, really don't have any time).
I don't know anything about Hungry Girl. She sounds disgusting.
The rule for me concerning frozen vs. canned vs. fresh is, pick the item in which the most nutrients were preserved. A strawberry frozen at the peak of its season tastes better and is more useful than a fresh one that's been grown out of season. Canned tomatoes and cherries, for instance, are processed during their peak, and are available when you can't get them fresh in season. Check the sodium, sweetener, and preservative content, and choose accordingly. I try to buy whatever fresh produce is in season, and use frozen or canned items when I can't.
I agree that it does depend on your life style. With me being a clean eater I don't do the frozen dinners. I do buy frozen veggies.
Fitness Minutes: (40)
158 4/27/12 9:23 P
I agree with SUSAN_FOSTER's assessment of Hungry Girl " she was too much about frankenfooding things instead of learning to eat moderate portions of the foods you love."
She uses a LOT of artificial and fat-free, sugar-free products (lots of chemicals). Like making desserts with diet hot chocolate mix, fat-free puddings, and fat-free Cool Whip.
I DO use a few of those products. But I feel like if I followed one of her cookbooks, I'd never get any real food.
The frozen dinners are pretty small and you're not getting much of anything (protein, vegetables). My mom likes to make them and add things (like tuna to the macaroni & cheese, or broccoli to some of the ones with sauces) or eat them with a salad.
Lately the only one I get is the LC Pepperoni french bread pizza, because it satisfies my pizza desires .
As far as frozen foods, we always have frozen unsweetened fruit (blueberries, strawberries, mixed berries, cherries). Vegetables are great too. Also seafood that is flash-frozen is fresher than some of what the stores call "fresh" (actually a lot of what they sell as "fresh" was previously frozen).
I sometimes eat frozen, prepared, meals. They do have a lot of sodium in them, though, so I try to limit them to a couple of times per week. Many of them (like the Lean Cuisines/Healthy Choice meals/Amy's, and a few others) are definitely better choices than stopping to get fast food.
I don't think they are bad, they maybe aren't the best choice.
If you had to choose between grabbing a Big Mac, Fries and a Milk Shake or a Lean Cuisine meal. I am positive the LC meal is a better choice. It is all about learning. We are not going to be perfect right off the bat.
And remember, HungryGirl means it's the "best pick" out of all the different frozen meals out there, and "best" means best tasting, not healthiest. She's not saying it's as good as homemade whole foods, just that it's better than HungryMan Jumbo Platter o' Fried Things.
Frozen meals like Lean Cuisines aren't worth the bang for the buck. They have a lot of sodium and aren't necessarily better for you. Too much sodium will cause you to retain water more than usual.
Hungry Girl focuses more on low-calorie as opposed to low-sodium, high fiber, low carbs, etc. You may be only eating 170 calories for a main course, but you're not getting any fiber and you've just gotten 1/3 to half your recommended amount of sodium for the day. I could eat a bowl of Kashi GoLean and get half my daily intake of fiber (10 g), just as much protein, same amount of carbs, but it's whole grain. There's also 1/8 the amount of sodium in a bowl of that cereal versus any Lean Cuisine or Hungry Girl meal.
I like cooking and baking a lot; I think it's fun, but it also allows a person much more control over what they are putting into their body than eating a LeanCuisine meal.
There's an obvious difference between frozen prepared meals, and frozen foods in general.
Many nutritionists say that having frozen veggies and fruits on hand is great, because they're picked fresh and frozen fresh - so no waste/spoilage/shipping time between field and package. This is especially great when living in an area where fresh fruits and veggies are outrageously priced, especially off-season.
On the other hand, prepared meals tend to be high in sodium, small in portion, and rather tasteless, on the whole. While useful in a pinch, it's much nicer to be able to take the time and prepare extra portions and freeze them - making your own frozen meals, with ingredients you know about, and are likely healthier for you.
Most of the "Hungry Girl" website advocates chemicals and junk.
Frozen FOOD isn't necessarilay junk. My freezers are packed with unsalted frozen vegetables, un sweetened berries, chicken, fish... all sorts of actual food... not premade cardboard and chemicals!
Fitness Minutes: (4,551)
566 4/27/12 12:05 P
As others have stated they are not necessarily 'bad' nor the best choice, depending on your goals. They can definitely fit into your plan based on informed decisions.
You also have to take into account 'Hungry Girl' is not a Registered Dietitian. She's just a fun lady who has a blog and a show on tv. She sometimes has good ideas for swaps. Though I did try a couple and they were no where near a good substitution (taste wise) in my opinion. I find some of her recipes too high in sodium, for my liking, to be called healthy. (The same goes for Chef Meg here at SP).
I am not against frozen meals - I love the Lean Cuisines especially. I don't read Hungry Girl anymore because she was too much about frankenfooding things instead of learning to eat moderate portions of the foods you love.
Also, when I buy the LC, I try to buy ones that have more protein and less carbs, so my range is at least 15 grams of protein and no more than 30 grams of carbs. Which puts out most of the pizzas, etc, but still leaves a good amount of choice for the week.
I don't think they are bad. It depends on your goals. If your goal is clean eating, they are bad. If your goals are a more complete meal with low calories, these are a good choice. I am a part time clean eater, I cook most of my meals from scratch and Lean Cuisines are the only think I buy prepared or boxed. I eat them for lunch because that fits my lifestyle. My job is hectic and I am lucky I can throw one of these in for 5 minutes and eat at my desk while answering emails.
And, I am a firm believer that frozen vegetables are better than canned.
My opinion, they are not BAD just not the best choice.
The portion is soooo small you could make your own and get so much more food wise.
For a few hundred calories that the Lean Cuisine's have, you could make yourself a really nice filling healthy meal.
It is all the chemicals they put in foods that are bad . Chemicals to preserve the food and keep it frozen. YUK
Frozen dinners are good in a pinch or if you have no other alternative . Too much sodium and chemicals for me.
Fitness Minutes: (165)
42 4/27/12 10:06 A
If Frozen Foods are bad...then why does Hungry Girl suggest Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chef's Pick Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli as being top picks?She also has Healthy Choice Top Chef Café Steamers Chicken Fresca with Chardonnay..
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.