I’m not a fan of “reality” television — at least not for a steady diet (pun intended), and I’ve watched the hit TV show: “The Biggest Loser” just a couple of times. While the contestant’s weight loss is spectacular, they are losing weight rapidly, in a controlled setting, where an expert team of trainers and motivational helpers push them to the limit. Just as importantly, they are steered towards healthy eating.
Most of us can’t get the same attention, or spend the same amount of time and money on losing weight as the people on The Biggest Loser, but we can stick to healthy eating a little more easily now, thanks to a new line of refrigerated, fully-prepared healthy meal options called: Simply Sensible.
Simply Sensible features five menu options: Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Zing Chicken with brown rice, Pot Roast with mashed potatoes, Mediterranean Chicken with bow tie pasta, and Beef Tips and brown rice. It’s not just “convenience food.” Each meal includes two servings and is less than 250 calories per serving. Simply Sensible is also endorsed by the American Heart Association.
You’ll find Simply Sensible meals in the grocery case (not the freezer). Each “dinner for two” will cost about $6.99. Each meal suggests you add a cup of vegetables to round out the nutrition (to make an approved “Biggest Loser” meal), but even with that, most people will consider it a pretty economical dinner. Compared to full diet plan meals that are delivered to your home, these really are a bargain (but there aren’t lunch or breakfast options–at least not yet). And, there are just a few meal choices right now. Hopefully, more are being developed.
So are Simply Sensible meals, any good? Yes, actually, they were surprisingly decent. It’s not gourmet food delivered directly from a restaurant, or cooked at home, but the meals were definitely tasty. I received two different meals to try: the Mediterranean Chicken with Bow tie Pasta, and the Beef Tips and Brown Rice. Each meal arrived in a glossy, paper box (as most prepared foods do) and each featured a glorious photo of the meal, heaped onto a dish. When I opened up the box, inside was a well-sealed plastic “boil-in bag.” Apparently, the “Sous Vide” cooking method Simply Sensible uses, “allows the natural flavors to develop and provides a longer shelf-life with less sodium, no preservatives and innovative packaging, which improves convenience.” The beef tips and gravy had just 200 calories per serving (there are about 2.5 in the package) and just 360 mg of sodium (low, compared to most frozen dinners), no trans fat, and only 35 calories total, from fat. You can read the rest of the Nutrition facts from the back of the package (in my photo, above).veggies (about 2 1/2 cups each) supplemented the main course just enough so we weren’t very hungry.
My husband was, at first, a reluctant guinea pig. He generally dislikes anything that just comes out of a package. But he agreed to be a good sport (when he realized there wasn’t another dinner option). I eat prepared food all the time (villify me if you must), but my husband (grudginly) said these Simply Sensible meals were good. He even went so far as to say that he would consider continuing to eat them for weight control. That was definitely a big thumbs up! We both agreed that the non-frozen food was superior to frozen bricks of diet food, in pouches or pans. I added two vegetables as well. The meals may teach you what a reasonable portion size should be, but there was only so much deprivation I was going to force on my family after a long, hard day at work. There was enough for two adults in each package, but the additional two
Another thing I like about these non-frozen dinners, is that you can either microwave them (which I did0, or you can open up the pouch, pour it into a pan, and heat it on the stove top. For those who don’t like microwaved food (or who don’t have a microwave), this additional option for a fast meal, is fabulous. And for those who are eco-conscious, you’ll like the fact that the packaging is made from recycled materials.
Everyone knows (especially those who watch TV shows like ‘The Biggest Loser”) that a sensible diet is a good start, but it is essential to include regular exercise, stress busters, and the reduction or elimination of other bad habits (e.g. smoking or drinking too much alcohol) if you want to have a healthy lifestyle. It would be far better to make every meal you eat with healthy foods, prepared with thought and care and love, but for most people, that is unrealistic. So, if you’re strapped for time, or you have another reason why you’re not going to cook healthy at home, Simply Sensible meals could be one step in the right direction.
You can find Simply Sensible in the grocer’s case of your supermarket (or you will be able to find them, very soon as they launched in January). There is also a Simply Sensible web site (not updated as of this report).
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