Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken Frozen dinner




kaplods
09-22-2010, 04:15 PM
I bought a few frozen dinners last week. I don't eat frozen meals very often, because they're so often disappointing in taste and texture the portions are ridiculously tiny, there's hardly a vegetable to be found - and they're outrageously expensive for what you get. Even the 99 cent ones have less than 10 cents worth of ingredients if you were to make it at home, but....

They're convenient, especially for sick days or other situations in which anything more challenging than rinsing an apple is too much work.

So when our grocery store had a special on Healthy Choice dinners, I bought several.

I didn't expect to be impressed, but I was.

Don't get me wrong, these are not great food, either in taste or healthfulness. Anything you make yourself is going to be healthier and probably tastier, but for frozen dinners they were surprisingly good (so far I've tried the Honey Balsamic Chicken, the Sesame Glazed Chicken, and

The Honey Balsamic Chicken per the label, contains "chicken tenderloins with red potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes in honey-herb balsamic glaze."

Also according to the label

Calories 220
Fat 3.5 g
Carbs 34g
Fiber 5g
Sugar 3g
Proten 13g
Sodium 540 mg


WW points 4
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat {protein}



I follow an exchange plan (and usually track calories too). I can translate any nutrition label into exchanges, using the math I learned in the book "Exchanges for All Occasions." It's not complicated math, and only takes a few minutes, but Healthy Choice gets "points" from me for having this information on the box, and it's easy to find - underneath the standard Nutrition label is a green box for Weight Watchers Points, and under that, the diet exchanges.


The chicken pieces are typical frozen dinner chicken pieces. Brined with salt and other preservatives so they have a deli-meat/ham texture (I don't know how else to describe it - you probably know what I'm talking about, the chicken "breasts" you can buy that have the fake "grill markes" molded into the tops).

The asparagus wasn't mushy (big plus), and there was a fair amount of it. I didn't have to pick around the cherry tomatoes - I'm not a big fan of large pieces of cooked tomato. It's a texture thing. If you love them, you'll probably be disappointed, there were only three halves in the entire dish.

The sauce is tasty, but a little too sweet (though not as cloying as many frozen dinners). And unlike many, the entree isn't swimming in the sauce.

My main criticism is the low protein level and the high carb count (proportionally). Only 1 protein exchange is a bit skimpy, especially as it's outnumbered by starch exchanges.

Also, the calorie count is too low to consider a real full meal for most (especially dinner). Though the portion is decent considering how low the calories. To make a frozen dinner more filling, I serve them on top of or along side raw or cooked vegetables. A bed of lettuce, cooked or raw spinach, french style green beans, roasted eggplant...


SCraver
09-22-2010, 04:41 PM
I always keep some frozen stuff on hand to grab if I am not feeling up to cooking.

Healthy Choice does a line of "Cafe Steamers". Those are quite tasty and are my favorites. (I add veggies to them, too)

Another good frozen dinner brand is Contessa. (If you can find it.) Decent amount of veggies, but I still add more. They come in bags and are three servings. The servings are pretty generous. Some bags you open and dump the contents in a skilet, others you can put the bag RIGHT in the microwave. They seem to be pretty low in preservatives and "crap". And they are tasty, tasty, tasty. Some have chicken (REAL chicken!), some have shrimp, etc.

ValentineNicole
09-22-2010, 08:39 PM
The healthy choice steamers are amazing!! Whenever I'm feeling lazy, I eat those. They're leaps and bounds above any single serving frozen meal I've ever tried :) I love the way the sauce is kept separate - it really helps a lot with freshness.

The Honey Balsamic Chicken you're talking about is the new one, right? I like those, too. :)

Obviously frozen food isn't an every day thing, but when you just need a quick meal to go, these totally hit the spot for me.


kaplods
09-23-2010, 01:58 AM
ValentineNicole: Yes, I think the Honey Balsamic Chicken is new, or at least relatively so.

SCVraver: I'll have to look for the Contessa brand, they sound good.

Jojo381972
09-23-2010, 02:00 AM
Thanks for the review on the healthy choice meal, kaplods. They went on sale today, and I almost picked some up. I'll try these soon. I eat frozen dinners mostly Lean Cuisine (new spa meals), quite often when I work long shifts. I like the lean cuisine meals. I find them tasty and low in points. I picked up a few weight watchers smartchoice meals today, but I haven't tried them yet.

Karen925
09-23-2010, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the updates. Often when I travel, the hotel room has a microwave, pop in a frozen meal, and I am set. I am always interested in frozen meal reviews for just this situation.

kaplods
09-23-2010, 08:21 PM
The sesame glazed chicken was also very good (a little on the weet side, but lots of veggies - at least for a frozen dinner), and today I tried the portabello risotto (which was a little disappointing).

The risotto, would have made a better side dish than a meal, as there was no protein (2 starch, 1 fat, 1 vegetable). It was tasty and the portion seemed huge in comparison to the other two meals (this also may have been my appetite, as today I'm having a major flare of fibro and sinus/allergies - I feel like I've been hit by a truck - so my appetite and energy level is about zero. My tastebuds could be off too, because I thought it could use a little salt, and that seems a bit odd to me (I don't have much of a salt tooth, and usually frozen dinners seem way too salty for me even the Healthy Choice which usually has less than most).