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JWOOLMAN SparkPoints: (2,446)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 647
8/24/14 2:04 A

Sometimes a frozen meal is too much for me at once, not leaving enough room for lots of veggies for instance. I have a large collection of Pyrex glass bowls with rubber lids and just divide the frozen meal in half after cooking. You could also do that to reduce sodium. I can even add frozen veggies to the half that goes into the freezer if there is room. I use bowls that contain 1, 2, 4, and 7 cups routinely. The 1 cup and 2 cup ones are the ones I use for freezing, the others for veggies (cut up or not) or fruits like grapes or cherries or for greens. The bowls can go straight from the freezer to the microwave, although I cover (if needed) with a paper plate rather than the rubber lid.

I use the same bowls to divide up baked potatoes (white or sweet), canned beans or veggies, etc. for freezing also so (as the only human in the house) I don't have to eat the same thing every day. This way I can bake several potatoes at once, they stay tasty to me in the freezer. I also will freeze portions of roasted mushrooms, bell peppers, celery, zucchini, or tomatoes for adding to rice, millet, quinoa, or pasta. I don't even bother adding oil, just dump the cut up pieces in a pan and bake in the convection oven for a while. So I can get a package or several whole veggies on sale without anything spoiling before I can eat it.

KASTRA Posts: 369
8/22/14 12:17 P

Congratulations for finding a solution to meet your calorie requirements. Baby steps! If you're not yet ready to make the big leap in self-portioning and preparing, that's okay. You've taken an awesome step in the right direction by watching your calorie and nutrient needs and found a solution to make it happen.

I keep a couple frozen meals in my freezer for those mornings when time gets away from me and I cannot pack. Lean Cuisine is pretty tasteless, with exception to their pizzas and paninis; those are the only ones I buy from them. Marie Collander's also makes a few calorie-conscientious options that are tasty. I also look at calories (I keep my lunches under 400 calories), and next requirement is flavor, with a close follow-up to nutrition (I want my lunch to come with 15-20g protein and ideally a fair bit of healthier fat and fiber). So long as those boxes are checked, the maker doesn't matter one bit. As far as's a frozen meal so the sodium content is always going to be obnoxious. Once you're in a better place and more comfortable with your ability to self-portion, it is a great idea to make your own frozen meals, steps! No need to rush that and take on too many habit changes at once.

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
8/21/14 3:37 P

I try not to have them too often, but you're right they are good for portion control

And at least they're a wide range of choices. Eating salads for lunch gets old and it's nice to switch it up some

I think 'most' frozen dinners have a lot of sodium unless you buy some of the new 'healthier' versions that have recently come out. So I would say it doesn't matter much between Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine, but that's just my opinion.

Personally, I have Banquet meals because they seem to be the cheapest around here! haha.

SSAINTPI SparkPoints: (6,044)
Fitness Minutes: (10,115)
Posts: 9
8/21/14 12:47 P

I don't think there would be too much of a difference as long as you are staying in range, but you defintiey want to watch out for the sodium levels in the meals. They have so much sodium in them and sometimes its hard to even notice the sodium levels unless you are looking for them specifically.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
8/21/14 9:19 A

I like Stouffer's but if Lean Cuisine has an entree that is particularly tasty, I'll go for that. I like their Swedish Meatballs meal best of all.

If you're looking for ready-made portion control, they are great. They are now posting the Weight Watchers Points Plus values on the meals, which is really helpful.

If you are watching your sodium, eating 3 Lean Cuisines a day will probably put you at 100% of your sodium allowance, it's true (maybe over, depending on what you choose.) However, that is three meals. Add to that some fruit for snacks and you can still have a very low-calorie day (the Swedish Meatball meal is all of 290 calories).

If you are watching your sodium, measure every bit of sodium you use to season your food. Also count the natural sodium in the food. I don't often hear of people watching their own sodium habits that closely. I know what very low sodium food tastes like because my elderly neighbors cook every meal with very little salt. It is extremely bland food and they provide salt at the table for guests.

'Here are the approximate amounts of sodium, in milligrams, in a given amount of table salt:

1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium'

1500 mg a day is the allowance.

The Swedish Meatball meal contains 670 mg sodium total.

HOLLY1404 SparkPoints: (6,609)
Fitness Minutes: (265)
Posts: 26
8/21/14 9:15 A

I eat one maybe twice per month when I run to the store on my lunch break. They really make me retain fluid because of the sodium. If I preferred one it would be the Weight Watchers Smart Ones. They have a lot of variety and have pretty good flavor. I do like the Lean Cuisine Panini too.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,300
8/21/14 8:09 A

Here is a Spark article on choosing a frozen meal

And here is a Spark article about making your own frozen meals


MARTHA324 Posts: 6,085
8/21/14 7:38 A

I doubt if it matters. Both are processed food and personally I'd move away from that to real food. However, if you don't have time to make a meal, these can be OK. I would encourage you to make salad to go along with them as they never filled me up for long.

Just watch the sodium.

ZELDA13 SparkPoints: (79,833)
Fitness Minutes: (26,215)
Posts: 3,497
8/20/14 6:08 P

I usually avoid processed foods, but I have some in my freezer to help me get back on track. I cook veggies to eat with it to fill me. Right now if I were to make a meatloaf, I would probably eat half of it. I do watch my salt intake so I usually only do one meal this way, but it seems to be helping me. I also choose the one with the lower sodium amount because of this.

BHENDRICK2 Posts: 1,211
8/20/14 4:41 P


EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
8/20/14 3:51 P

Processed is processed. I try to avoid any of that stuff. I do eat some off-plan thing like that, rarely (I mean like once or twice a month).

I agree with JERF - we make our own quickie meals here. It's a very nice and companionable thing to do if you can. We make several whole meals on a weekend day and put the leftovers up as individual meals. This is great because there's many times he wants meatloaf and I want some chicken, or I'm craving a piece of fish and he'd rather have chili... it's not just lunchbox items, it's frequently dinners. We get what we want, but we're still eating together. It's cheaper and healthier, too. You also only get a messy kitchen *once*! LOL Not to mention the cost to heat the room up cooking, and the a/c working to keep the place cool... yeah, maybe those are minor expenses, but I'd rather cut where I can, if possible.

Once you get used to cooking this way, you'll start to wonder why you ever ate those boxed things. They start not to taste like food! honestly. I never thought I'd feel that way... but I do. My mouth and my stomach just think it's throwaway stuff. I suppose it really is, at the heart of it.

Try it. You might open a whole new window into healthy eating!

8/20/14 3:40 P

Same, same.

Have you ever thought of making your own TV dinners?

Make a meatloaf, mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables (or whatever meal you want). Portion it out into Pyrex glass or plastic dishes containing the amount of calories you're looking for and freeze and warm as needed.

Just a thought for a healthier option with less additives and preservatives.

COFFEEGRL14 SparkPoints: (136)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 29
8/20/14 12:28 P

Right now I'm avoiding processed frozen dinners. Even it it 's advertised as healthy-the manufacturer is selling a product!

IMDADOGGIE SparkPoints: (42,022)
Fitness Minutes: (11,767)
Posts: 3,128
8/20/14 11:23 A

Technically they are the same thing. Stouffer's make Lean Cuisine. They both are good products but there is a lot of salt in both and the fat content varies. The main difference is taste and calories. I love a few of the LC items like sesame ginger chicken spring rolls. But the regular stouffer entrees are tastier overall. You should never limit your diet to all prepared foods though it will become unhealthy. Fresh fruit and veggies as a snack or added to your meal is better for you and not high in calories.

JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
8/20/14 10:11 A

Yeah, I agree. It isn't the calories I'd worry about, but taste and then sodium. They aren't the healthiest things, but in terms of ease and portion control, I figure if it helps you, use them!

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
8/19/14 9:24 P

I agree with MICHELLEXXXX.

As long as you are within your ranges, I would eat the one I like better. I think it is easier to stick with your plan long term if you eat things you like.

Those meals can help with portion control.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 8/19/2014 (21:26)
MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,281)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,793
8/19/14 8:27 P

As long as you are staying within your ranges for the total day, I'd consider them to be equal.

FREDERICKWAVE SparkPoints: (9,120)
Fitness Minutes: (30,481)
Posts: 34
8/19/14 5:20 P

Got a question, Im mainly eating frozen meals right now mainly for portion control.

Is it hurting me more by buying stouffers frozen meals as opposed to lean cuisine. Like the meatloaf, the stouffers version is great and the lean cuisine is like a version of the same thing with all the taste removed. The Stouffers has a few more calories but am I hurting myself by eating stouffers meals over lean cuisine meals. I see more salt and about 90 more calories but the lean cuisine has more carbs.

I guess its 90 more calories over a long period adds up, but one of these meals is my lunch and 230 calories or 320 calories.

I might be answering my own questions but as a person who has to get portions under control, is going stouffers majorly worse than going lean cusine

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