You’ve seen the ads on TV – those glamorous celebs talking about how deliciously they lost those 20 pounds or 40 pounds with the help of weight loss meals delivered directly to your door. It’s a nice option – if you can afford to spend $150 to $400 a week on just your meals. If that’s a little pricey for you, don’t despair. These days, you’ll find a wide array of healthy, low-calorie prepared meal choices sitting in your grocer’s freezer. Most of them weigh in between 250 and 400 calories per meal and include an entrée, a side and a vegetable. Some even include dessert, while others offer dessert choices as separate options. They generally cost less than $5 per meal, and you can often find them on sale for considerably less. Even better, you get a much wider selection because you get to pick from many different suppliers. Here’s a quick overview of the best-known supermarket weight loss meals.
Kashi is a relative newcomer to the frozen food aisles, but they’ve made a big splash in a short time. Kashi makes a big deal about the company’s commitment to healthy, whole foods, and their frozen entrees tend to live up to their press. Whether you choose Kashi frozen entrees of Kashi Steam Meals, you’ll get foods that are all-natural, and meals that include fresh vegetables and whole grains, with calorie ranges from 240 to about 350 calories per serving, Kashi meals tend to be on the higher end of the supermarket weight loss meals variety, but they require far less supplementation with additional nutrition sources.
Our Favorites: Kashi Frozen Entrees Mayan Harvest Bake with roasted sweet potato, black beans and kale served over seven whole grain polenta: 350 calories per serving
Stouffers’ Lean Cuisine is one of the originals in the frozen diet meals categories, and offers an amazing variety of choices, though your grocer’s freezer may have a more limited range of choices. The Lean Cuisine website lists 6 full pages of Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, including such delicious optons as Sweet and Spicy Ginger Chicken (290 calories) and Steak Tips Portobello (190 calories). A Consumer Reports exclusive pointed out that Lean Cuisine meals are a good base for a healthy meal, but suggest adding a side salad and more vegetables to most entrée choices to make sure you get enough calories and nutrition for your body’s needs.
Our Favorites: Shrimp and Angel Hair Past, with succulent shrimp in a creamy seafood sauce, served over angel hair pasta: 230 calories, 6 Weight Watchers Points Plus; Diet Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 1.5 starch, .5 vegetable and .5 skim milk
Add a vegetable side dish and a healthy salad to make it a full meal with less than 300 calories
Weight Watchers Smart Ones
If there’s any company in the world that has credibility when it comes to weight loss, it would be Weight Watchers. Even if you prefer not to attend meetings or follow the traditional (or revised) Weight Watchers diet, you can still take advantage of the delicious recipes and prepared foods in the Weight Watchers frozen diet meals line. What’s extra special about Weight Watchers Smart Ones is that the full line includes foods for all meals, including breakfasts, snacks and light lunches.
Our Favorites: Smart Ones Breakfast Quesadlla made with egg whites, cheese, vegetables and turkey bacon, wrapped up in a flour tortilla: 230 calories, including 12g protein and 7g fiber. It’s a five-minute take-and-run breakfast that will keep you from running through the drive-through for a 600-calorie breakfast sandwich
Healthy Choice has been a frozen diet food staple since 1989, when the company started working with the FDA to define what “healthy” means. The company started with a personal journey, that of former CEO Mike Harper, who developed the Healthy Choice line after his 1985 heart attack led him to search for healthy, delicious frozen foods. The average Healthy Choice frozen meal provides 278 calories, with less than 520 mg of sodium and only 1.6 g of saturated fat. The company continues to innovate flavorful, healthy, low-calorie foods that are high in nutritional value. Most recently, they’ve partnered with Top Chef to create a full line of Café Steamer meals that are fresh, contemporary and on the cutting edge of new cuisine.
Our Favorites: Café Steamers Barbecue Seasoned Steak with Red Potatoes, an incredible combination of lean beef with roasted potatoes and vegetables with uncured bacon in a whiskey barbecue sauce. 330 calories, 2 lean meat exchanges, 2 starch exchanges and 1 carbohydrate exchange