I admit it–I’m not a huge veggie fan. I know they are good for you, but I am not every eager to down big bowls of them. That’s why I was curious when I received information about a new products from Del Monte called Harvest Selections. These ready-to-heat-and-eat meals are convenient and low calorie, but even more importantly, each bowl contains 2 servings of vegetables (40% of the USDA MyPyramid recommendations for vegetables).
If you or (perhaps more importantly) your kids, balk at eating vegetables, this could be the best way to get them to eat a hearty meal at lunch time and get the benefits of vegetables as well. You can eat pasta or chili and still get those veggies into your body.
I am not a true fan of frozen or pre-packaged meals, but these store flat, and microwave in literally 90 seconds. That’s about 1/3 the time needed for a frozen meal. And while I was a bit dubious about how they would taste, the truth is, they were GOOD! The sauces, pastas and meats were tender and warm and far better than the regular, frozen dinners are. These lunch or light dinner meals run around and under 350 calories. They come in flavors like: Cheese and Spinach Ravioli ; Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans ; Home Style Chili; Chicken Cacciatore ; Beef and Vegetable Stew ; Italian Style Pasta Bake.
I got three samples, so I gave the Chicken Cacciatore to my husband. He immediately and suspiciously eyed the plastic bowl and said: “This is going to be like airline food” (remember when we got meals on planes?). But he is my guinea pig for some items, so he began to pick at his plate. Then he really tucked into it and finished the entire bowl. Then he eyed mine (the cheese and Spinach Ravioli) and ate some of that, too!! We both thought the texture, flavor and overall presentation was impressively good. I also tried the Santa Fe Rice and Beans, and found that to be more like a home-cooked version than anything I’ve ever tried that was frozen. These honestly are good, quite good.
The downside, if there is any, is that the sodium content is high (1100mg for the rice and beans and 1080 for the chicken cacciatore). For those with high blood pressure, this could be a deal breaker. I know pre-packaged foods tend to include more salt for flavor, but I don’t see why manufacturers couldn’t allow the individual consumer to add more on their own if they wish it.
While the United States Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recommends consuming two and 1/2 cups of vegetables each day, studies indicate that most Americans eat less than half the recommended daily amount. Additionally, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help to lower the risk for certain diseases and illnesses, and help to keep the body strong. For adults who are just too busy to really eat right, these easy to fix, tasty meals are a step in the right direction. They’re certainly a better alternative to junk food!
All in all, very impressive. Find Del Monte Harvest Selections in your favorite grocery store.