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DEANNA0725 SparkPoints: (22,611)
Fitness Minutes: (13,947)
Posts: 2,072
5/22/14 5:18 A

I like the meatloaf and mashed potato and the roast turkey and mashed potato smart ones. They are the only two I get and I eat them for lunches with a piece of fruit.

ALMISSE SparkPoints: (27,250)
Fitness Minutes: (7,130)
Posts: 722
5/20/14 1:45 P

I heard LC isn't as filling so I've always stuck to Smart Ones. Love the Alfredo ones.

5/20/14 12:43 P

I used to eat them regularly and ended up liking LC much more than any other. I loved the Lean Cuisine is the Butternut Squash Ravioli until i ate it so often that I can't eat it anymore. :D I bought plain frozen sugar snap peas and added a cup to the package before cooking. Mmmm.....

I also liked the LC French bread pizza.

Orange chicken, sesame chicken. I guess i was pretty much a chicken choice kind of person. The spa line is my first choice. I don't like beef in frozen dinners the texture is slimy/soft.

I don't eat any frozen dinners anymore. But I do keep a bag of frozen cheese ravioli for my daughter. She likes it with peas and parm in her lunchbox.

NEWBIRTH2014 Posts: 2,488
5/20/14 12:05 P

Lean Cuisine love the emoticon

Edited by: NEWBIRTH2014 at: 5/20/2014 (12:06)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,403
5/20/14 12:01 P

I prefer the Lean Cuisine meals

BOGERAG SparkPoints: (65)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 5
5/20/14 11:31 A

Out of all the frozen meals I've tried in the past, I would say Lean Cuisine is my favourite. I love the flavours and varieties they offer compared to the other brands. With Lean Cuisine the meal actually tastes the way it's described (or better). When I tried Smartone they were really bland in comparison.

But I think ultimately you should just go by which one you enjoy the most, and of course read the nutrition facts on the back. emoticon

Good luck on your journey!

LOTUS737 Posts: 3,172
9/14/13 3:06 P

lean cuisine has some new products i like- they have salad additions and some new 'honestly good' entrees that i actually enjoy. the salads are great- protein, dressing, and crunchies- just warm them up and toss with bagged salad greens. the honestly good (i had pomegranate chicken) was tasty, and looked more like something i would make myself at home.

i also really enjoy steamfresh corn once in a while- it's super sweet and tasty. i like bagged frozen edamame too (i buy it in bulk at sam's but i've seen it at the regular grocery store too). good to snack on plain or add to salads, etc.

can you devote a couple hours once or twice a week to make a bunch of meals ahead? eg you can buy chicken breast in bulk and bake it off- you can keep the flavors neutral and then use it throughout the week- cube in salad, make pulled chicken sandwiches, enchilladas, add to pasta, etc. couscous literally takes 5 min to prep- you just boil your liquid of choice, add in the couscous, and let it absorb- you can heat up some frozen veg and some meat or beans and have at least 4 meals out of one box of couscous.

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 950
9/14/13 2:29 P

I like healthy choice, amy's and lean cuisine. I never really cared for smartones (except for a few of the desserts).

SMARBUTHNOT SparkPoints: (2,472)
Fitness Minutes: (2,470)
Posts: 1
9/14/13 1:32 P

My all time favorite so far is the LC Butternut Squash Ravioli. I cannot get it at my hometown grocery store :( so have to plan ahead whenever I'm out of town. I love the crunch of the pecans. The post about less than 450 mg of sodium is a great reminder for me - so thanks for that. I have been concerned about that because I do like the convenience of these meals. I also liked the idea of adding additional veggies/fruits to make the meal more substantial and healthy.
Now for the roast chickens at the store - these are great and my family loves them, too. I have to plan ahead for these too as I live in a rural area. I like Sam's the best. But...I found a recipe this past summer with a great idea that I love to use. Whenever whole chicken fryers go on sale, I buy the 2 largest ones to roast myself. If you're roasting one - it's just as easy to do two. You have to make the time to do this in your schedule! I serve one whole to the family - pulling the skin off of my 3-4 oz serving and carving off what my boys want. There is always some left-over plus that whole other chicken that is cooling to go into the 'fridge. I usually pick the meat off the cooled chickens and store enough for 1 other recipe in the "fridge and freeze the rest for future recipes. The smell of roasting chicken in your own oven is such a delicious scent and gives you that feel of comfort food.

Edited by: SMARBUTHNOT at: 9/14/2013 (13:33)
SCRIMP1 Posts: 651
9/13/13 4:26 P

Agree with the previous posters--a rotisserrie chicken can last several meals. Honestly I could eat a whole half chicken when I am hungry after work--but I dutifully remove the skin an visible fat and measure out 4 ounces.
My usual store sell a nice size golden plump and juicy chicken for $6.49.
The store across from me sells for the 7.99 and they are always burnt. I have asked the Manager why the skin is always dark--and the meat dry. He says they have to cook them that long for safety. But who wants a dark dry chicken?.

I don't like Healthy Choice. I have tried several varieties and I find them to be bland.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
9/13/13 8:05 A

I do the same thing, I regularly pick up rotisserie chickens from the Giant Eagle deli. They're so delicious and I either eat the chicken as-is or I make something out of it, like chicken salad or I'll shred the meat up and add in some BBQ sauce for shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,094)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,748
9/13/13 12:27 A

Another quick option is to buy a bag of salad and a rotisserie chicken from the deli. The chicken lasts me about 5 meals or more for about $5.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
9/12/13 4:14 P

I like them both, actually. To me both Smart Ones and Lean Cuisine taste way better than Healthy Choice (although I hear Healthy Choice has a new one that I just have to try, crustless chicken pot pie) so I really don't have a specific favorite, although when I buy Smart Ones the first meal I grab is the tuna au gratin. Also the butternut squash ravioli from Lean Cuisine. That's some good stuff.

I love my low-cal ready meals. I don't eat them all the time, but I keep them around for days I'm shooting out the door and haven't made myself anything homemade to take for lunch. Those meals keep me from running up the street to the Chinese place for takeaway, haha.

ANNAERA SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,306)
Posts: 63
9/12/13 4:01 P

Personally, I would get one of the 15 minute or 30 minute cookbooks out on the market now. 60 hours a week is a lot, I remember working two jobs to get through college, but cooking really is the best way to get adequate nutrition. That said, lean cuisine and smartones are are decent, personally if I HAD to eat that stuff I like the weight watchers ones...they use whole foods as often as not and taste a little better.

SPORTSFANMAS SparkPoints: (5,589)
Fitness Minutes: (2,336)
Posts: 10
9/12/13 1:35 P

I prefer Lean Cuisine (more options that I like) SmartOnes aren't bad just not as many choices for me. I always watch the sodium content. And when talking to a dietician, she said Lean Cusines, SmartOnes & Healthy Choice are all acceptable but look for ones that have less than 450 sodium content. Surprisingly there are quite a few!

SONICB Posts: 4,375
9/12/13 12:52 P

We can't all be saints about eating whole foods prepared from scratch all of the time, especially with the workload some of us have! Do what you can, and don't let other people shame you for occasionally relying on frozen meals. They are better for you than a Big Mac meal at McDonalds, you know? And at least most of them will provide you with 1-2 servings of fruits & veggies for the day!

That being said, my favorite Lean Cuisine is the Butternut Squash Ravioli (which I usually eat with an apple to round out my lunch--I think that's around 3 "freggie" serving in one fell swoop!), while my favorite Smart Ones entree is the Santa Fe Rice & Beans. I do tend to like Lean Cuisine better, but I couldn't tell you why. Maybe because the packaging is prettier. :P

SCRIMP1 Posts: 651
9/11/13 1:07 P

I like both brands and buy them every week. I don't care about the sodium . I try to buy the ones under 300 calories.

I also use 1/2 package of the meatless varieties like fettucine or ravioli them to mix in with my own sauteed veggies and meat portion.

KELLYK1027 SparkPoints: (7,570)
Fitness Minutes: (6,492)
Posts: 236
9/11/13 12:14 P

Thanks so much for the help! I definitely do add veggies and fruit to every meal just to help them feel more substantial. I see a few people recommended buying tuna or other fish, but unfortunately I am severely allergic to seafood. I can't have anything, I can't even take fish oil pills. I am starting to explore crockpot recipes a little more, I just get nervous leaving it while I am gone.

ANARIE Posts: 13,179
9/7/13 11:35 P

There's not much nutritional difference between the two, so eat the ones you like. You've already gotten suggestions for other brands to try (I think the Amy's Indian and Mexican meals are better than some restaurants.) You can also make them better by adding frozen veggies-- just pour some veggies right into the tray and microwave for about 30-60 seconds more than the frozen dinner instructions say. It's easy to just grab a bag of veggies and keep it in the freezer right next to the meals. Besides giving you an additional veggie serving, it also makes the meal much more filling. They can be pretty skimpy otherwise.

Frozen meals might not be ideal, but they do have a place. They can teach you about portion sizes, and they also give you ideas for things you can make (better) yourself. After a while, you're almost certain to start thinking, "I could make this for a tiny fraction of the price, and my version would have less sodium and more fiber and protein." Many of the dishes in those frozen dinners are just as fast to make for yourself. And do think about a slow cooker. There are dishes you can assemble in the CrockPot in less time than it takes to microwave a Lean Cuisine, and you have a hot, homemade meal waiting for you when you get home.

JUNKDRAWER Posts: 1,253
9/7/13 9:34 A

I use them in a pinch or when I'm craving a flavor that would be unhealty to have from a restaraunt. I used to eat more Lean Cuisines but it seems like they are trying too hard to be gourmet/strange for me. Healthy Choice seem to be more of what I gravitate to. The salt content worries me, and I'm not always sure they feel satisfying when I'm done eating them with how processed I know they are, so I don't do it very often.

Just wanted to throw another idea out there though, do you have a crock pot? Or ever thought of batch cooking? You could get a pack of chicken and cook it up at one time and have a couple days worth of meals. You can vary the seasonings to mix it up for different flavors. Soups and chilies are also good for the crockpot. If you make a large batches of food you can divide it up and freeze it for the next week or so. Then you could have your own less processed meals to eat. I'm a big fan of making enough for leftovers, especially when it saves me time for another day of the week.

9/7/13 8:18 A

Lean Cuisine Sesame Chicken is pretty good. I haven't had many of either variety, but when I look at the SmartOnes, they seem really expensive. The Weight Watchers desserts are fabulous.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,094)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,748
9/6/13 11:48 P

Have you approached steamfresh vegs paired with a pouch of tuna/salmon? The only prep is to put it on a plate

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 9/12/2013 (23:22)
RMILLER531 Posts: 15
9/6/13 10:04 A

This is past experience as I avoid processed foods as much as possible, so it may be outdated information. When I worked a similar length schedule, I seemed to think Lean Cuisine had a better flavor and preferred their paninis over the more meal-like ones. Another option I did that might help though is I would buy fresh vegetables I like and would eat them throughout the day. Didn't need to refrigerate them and they didn't need to be heated. Saved time and calories.

DEANNA0725 SparkPoints: (22,611)
Fitness Minutes: (13,947)
Posts: 2,072
9/6/13 3:34 A

I like the meatloaf and roasted turkey smart ones, but I haven't been eating them as much since I am not working.

JOIFULJOII SparkPoints: (2,346)
Fitness Minutes: (895)
Posts: 499
9/5/13 11:38 P

I really like both of them - Love the Lean Cuisine Pizzas, Smart Ones Mini Cheese Burgers are one of my favorite little meals, I probably have them a couple times of week post workout. Also, Smart Ones Chicken Fettuccine is awesome. I'm a picky eater, so I eat a lot of the same ones when I get them. But there are also a lot of decent calorie/fat Stouffer's meals. The baked chicken & mashed potatoes is only 220 calories + 7 grams of fat, so great. If you have a bit more calories to spare the Stouffer's fried chicken + mashed potatoes is only 340 calories, and I believe 13 grams of fat... They also have a wonderful ham & cheese panini (400 calories) & I think 16 grams of fat. I mix it up a lot, but I do definitely eat a lot of meals such as these.

GETSHORTY Posts: 1,370
9/5/13 11:02 P

Between those two lines, I wouldn't say one's better across the board; I have my picks from either. From SmartOnes: lasagna florentine, mini rigatoni with vodka sauce, santa fe rice and beans. Lean Cuisine: Cheese cannelloni, stuffed rigatoni, mushroom mezzaluna, veggie enchilada rojo. I certainly have had much better freezer fare from other companies--Amy's, Red's, Cedarlane, Lyfe Kitchen--alas, they are more money and harder to come by...

HEAT04 Posts: 116
9/5/13 3:50 P

I like the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers the best - they are good for lunch!

9/5/13 2:59 P

Hey, they may not be the best, but you gotta do what you gotta do. If it works for now, it works. I feel like the healthy/organic/specialty ones actually taste better and fresher.

SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
9/5/13 2:58 P

When I worked a lot of overtime, I prefered Lean Cuisine, and kept a a few favorite kind in the freezer. Not the healthiest, but to tired to cook anything when I got home and better than skipping dinner. I made a small salad or extra veggie/fruit as a extra side since the prepackaged meals are small.

ROXIELU0422 Posts: 317
9/5/13 12:57 P

I used to live on those until I realized how much sodium is in them. I cook on Sunday's and put stuff in the freezer for me to take out and heat up. Much healtiher.

They are good in a pinch, but don't rely on them.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,094)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,748
9/5/13 12:54 P

Heated for a fast meal:
frozen meats
frozen veggies
olive oil

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,213
9/5/13 8:11 A

I rarely eat packaged foods but the two Kashi dinners are decent.....

Check out Healthy Choice which is usually lower in sodium...also the Southwestern Chicken dinner by Kashi...they have a spicy black bean enchilada that has 600mg of sodium.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,231
9/5/13 7:55 A

amy's are my favorites.
and you really just have to label read. smart ones are the red ones, right? the last time i checked i found that bagel bites were a better option [lower cals, fat, and sodium plus more recognizable ingredients] than the smart ones [or whatever that red box brand is. and yes, that's the red box brand that's marketed as being low cal and better for you. as you might guess between the bagel bites looking better and a lack of veg options i skip over that entire section of meals now].
so heading into the store with the plan to spend five minutes in the frozen section reading labels is the best thing i would suggest. buy the one or two best options that look good, and keep a running list of what you have tried and if you like it. you should eventually make it through the frozen section with a list of the best, tailored to your preferences.

SLASALLE SparkPoints: (264,688)
Fitness Minutes: (100,566)
Posts: 11,566
9/4/13 11:27 P

I lean toward Smart Ones (WW), but definitely limit them. There are worse choices, for sure, but this is better than blowing it at a drive-thru!!!! I love the Santa Fe Beans and Rice and Chicken Enchilda Suiza.

KELLYK1027 SparkPoints: (7,570)
Fitness Minutes: (6,492)
Posts: 236
9/4/13 10:51 P

Which one do you prefer? I know they are not the healthiest for you, but I don't really have time to prep food. I work 60 hours a week and I am a full time grad student. I have yet to find a Lean Cuisine that I like, but I have found a couple of smartone meals. What kind are your favorite? I am looking for something new!

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