Monday, November 26, 2007

On food...

I have the palate of a six-year-old. I'll put it that simply. If I could get away with eating only grilled cheese sandwiches, Fruity Pebbles and french toast without getting very very large, I'd do it. Lately, the only foods that sound good are Lean Cuisine dinners. Sure, they're teeny-tiny and they don't fill you up, but it's better than overeating. Throw into the mix that I don't eat red  meat, and only occasionally eat chicken, and they make it easier to eat something rather than coming home from work and foraging from a can of dry Stove-Top Stuffing mix.

Since I had to cut my workout short today (since I'm apparently Pavlov's workout dog and can't continue on a treadmill if my music ends with a dead iPod battery) I thought I'd come home and have a little Lean Cuisine action to curb my hunger. I hate grocery shopping. I like to get in, get food and get out. I'm not one of those who will stand there and discuss the subtle nuances of margarine. I also don't like to stand there with the freezer section door open, like many who try to become expert-level in that activity. Here are the best, and worst Lean Cuisine dinners to save you some time when you're at the grocery store. 

The good:
Asian-Style Pot Stickers, 4 grams of fat, 260 calories- Currently my top favorite. These taste the least like "healthy" tv dinners and I really like the texture. But be warned: these require you put them in the microwave for eight minutes at half-power. I put one in for nine minutes at full power one time on accident, and I got Asian-Style Roof Shingles. Also, be warned these are tricky to find in the grocery store. In fact, I've only ever found them at Wal-Mart, and that means you have to go to Wal-Mart.

Butternut Squash Ravioli, 9 grams of fat, 350 calories- More fat than I'd like, but these taste pretty good. I was once turned onto real butternut squash ravioli at a local restaurant that quit making it when they changed up their menu years ago, and this is in the same neighborhood. I won't say it's comparable because microwave dinners are crap, but if it's all you've got time for, this dinner is a good one. Be again warned: If you microwave this at work for lunch, your co-workers will say it smells like barf.

Chicken Fried Rice bowl, 6 grams of fat, 280 calories- This is another "fake Asian" dinner, but it isn't so bad. The bowls seem a little bigger than the skimpy dinners so you feel like you're eating more. There were bits of unidentifiable substance that I later assumed were "eggs."

The Bad:
Salmon with Basil, 6 grams of fat, 220 calories- I got this because I like the calorie count. I tried it and a little part of me died. Not only is not fresh salmon fishy and gross, but not fresh microwaved salmon is like dining at Satan's buffet. I once heard this dinner was used as a torture device in the Middle East, but it was too cruel so they had to ship it off for pathetic public consumption in the United States.

Grilled Chicken Primavera, 5 grams of fat, 220 calories- This was so unfulfilling and horrible tasting I wanted my money back and actually considered writing to Lean Cuisine to let them know I was sending them a flaming bag of poop in retaliation. In fact, I figured that eating the inner wall of my grandmother's coffin might taste better than Lean Cuisine's grilled chicken primavera, but that might have more calories so I decided against it.

Because my mom rarely cooked (thank god) while growing up, I've eaten a lot of microwavable meals, and in all, these dinners are actually pretty decent for you if you can get past the taste of most. They have salt in them to make them taste better, but still only about 20%-30% of the daily value of sodium, so they're not bad. They're decidedly better than anything made from the Smart Ones line, as I once had the misfortune of eating their chicken alfredo pizza and landed in the hospital for two days with salmonella.

On my list of New Year's resolutions? Finally learn to freaking cook real food and try new things! 


Mike Doe said...

Dear Self-Proclaimed Diva,

Not a bad thing to, uh, call yourself! I think you're onto something with your healthy quickie meals. Cooking from scratch creates dishes, which just means more work. And that's just crazy talk!

Try Healthy Choice Steamers if you haven't had the chance. They're actually pretty decent. Otherwise I have no value to add other than see you on Twitter (yep, I be THAT Mike Doe) and looking forward to your next post!

NinjasOfLoretto said...

hilarious. i'll make sure to avoid the salmon, as that is one i certainly would have expected to be good. clearly i need schooling in lean cuisine.

JM Bell said...

This post makes me sad.

Cooking is one of the few pure joys left in the world. I like to cook more than I like to eat, and I LOVE to eat. There is something satisfying about the look on another person's face when they taste something you've cooked and they like it.

If nothing else, try a little Food Network University. Start with something easy like Semi-Homemade or anything Rachael Ray does, before you graduate to the Iron Chef.

If your food comes frozen in a box, it's probably giving you cancer.

Holly said...

Kel: Seriously, beware the salmon. It sounds like a good idea...

JM: I know of people who have done a lot less than eat frozen box food who have gotten cancer...
On another note, Rachel Ray is a little bit evil, I can't watch her. Besides, if eating a box dinner is better than not eating at all, it works. ;)

NinjasOfLoretto said...

Rachel Ray is evil incarnate.

i would rather starve to death than watch one of her shows.

also, let's talk about the rampant tipping issue in the world that Ray is only exacerbating by tipping the minimum in order to make her $40 A Day show actually work...good message Rachel...not only should regular people tip poorly, but so should TV Stars!

dolt said...

Holly, find yourself a nice young single guy that enjoys cooking for you. Your mouth deserves better!