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NIRERIN Posts: 14,158
2/19/13 10:06 P

i'll use knorr sides as my example because they are what i keep on hand. a bag of one of those has about 2.5 servings per bag, a serving being a cup and a serving having around 600 mg sodium and 200 cals. when i make them i add a cup or two of beans and a cup or two of chopped broccoli or cauliflower. let's say i'll go with a cup of beans [225 cals and 2 mg salt because i cook mine from dried and don't add salt] and 1.5 cups of chopped cauliflower [25 cals and 30 mg salt per cup]. with that 2.5 cup addition, i am getting a total of 5 cups of food [instead of the 2.5 of the original box mix]. so each cup of the new mix will have 152 cals and 309 mg sodium. it's not that you're really getting less sodium if you eat the whole box, it's that when you cut the boxed mix with fresh ingredients then you only end up eating a half cup of the boxed mix per cup you eat. and if you're adding in hamburger, that's what is bringing the fat cals up.

basically the idea is that when you cut something really heavy on sodium with something that isn't heavy on sodium there is less sodium per serving.

ANARIE Posts: 13,174
2/19/13 3:33 P

Also, look closely at the serving size. The "lower calorie" boxed stuff is probably actually a little less food.

I also read recently that "hamburger helper" type boxed meals have a startling amount of added sugar, so that's something to check. If it's true, that's another advantage of making your own.

GRATTECIELLA SparkPoints: (116,018)
Fitness Minutes: (75,465)
Posts: 4,022
2/19/13 2:42 P

I agree with Missruth - it is almost always possible to tweak a recipe. Use lower fat meats, add vegetables, add whole grains, add a salt substitute instead of salt, and you will end up with something healthier than the prepackaged version, plus no preservatives!

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,201
2/19/13 12:01 P

I like to look at recipes from lots of different sites, not just low-cal or low-fat or whatever. When you ditch the boxed stuff and make it yourself, you can "tweak" the recipes to be healthier. For example, if the recipe calls for some sort of pasta, you can make it whole wheat and right there, you've made it healthier. If the recipe calls for 2 Tbl. oil, you can try cutting it back to just 1 Tbl. I've found a lot of times, if you're using the oil to saute onions (for example) you really don't need as much as they say.

Plus you can do things like use low-sodium canned tomatoes, instead of "regular" canned tomatoes. Swap out ground beef for ground turkey.

Years ago (back in the dark ages when I was a kid) there wasn't hamburger helper or anything like that. And our moms made that kind of stuff from scratch. Most of it doesn't take any longer than the boxed stuff, to cook. It just takes measuring out more ingredients, rather than dumping the box in the pan and adding some water.

POOFERSGRL SparkPoints: (9,711)
Fitness Minutes: (27,665)
Posts: 91
2/19/13 11:52 A

Hi all.

Was looking at some nice and yummy recipes on the Campbell's Kitchen website, and they have the nutrition info. Like's interesting that their beef skillet (aka hamburger helper) has less sodium but more calories than the box version. would that be a fair trade off when trying to watch both? At least by making my own, I control what goes in and nothing processed...hmmm....What are your thoughts about this?

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