Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Healthy (?) Choice

Okay... I am like, the world's WORST dieter.

The only time I kinda even a little stick to a healthy eating plan is at work. I bought a fridge, the office mate contributed an old microwave and I stock frozen meals and Campbell's Select Harvest Light soups. This is what you call dieting by default. It's not so much that I'm making a good choice as it is that I eliminated the unhealthy options. As long as Raidman doesn't call and ask if I want to go to lunch and foil my 'plan.'

I've always been a fan of Healthy Choice, just because their (old) bright green labels made it easy to grab and tell myself I was doing the right thing. I'm even trying, in a very lazy way, to get a little closer to natural foods, lower preservatives, less processed stuff, etc. So I was super excited when I found the Healthy Choice All Natural entrees at HEB a couple weeks ago.

Then I ate one for lunch yesterday. This one, in fact.

It is pretty good. The veggies are tender but still have a little crunch to them (which, I admit, I don't really like, but other people do so I'm mentioning it as a public service) and the ravioli themselves are pretty yummy in spite of the ricotta (ewww) inside. All five of the ravioli that is.

In the spirit of scientific inquiry I measured them. They are all of 2in square and NOT puffy (totally not Chef Boyardee looking!).

Chef Boyardee image courtesy of cfinke via Flickr.com

I know the picture on the HC box is meant to entice, but come on, it has twice the ravioli my box had, easily.

Serving size: 9 oz (255 g)

Umm, yea. I'm pretty sure that weight includes the plastic tray - and that it is 2/3 of the total.

I can easily believe the box's claim that this is 30% of my daily fruit and veg. Problem is, it's mostly fruit and mostly tomato sauce. I didn't count my slices (half slices, technically, since they were half moons and most even smaller than that!) of squash and zucchini, but there were less than a dozen total. And they were all half the size of the ravioli or smaller. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to get that 30% I'd have to dive in and lick the sauce off the plastic.

The sauce itself was, frankly, way too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth that has aided me in getting 100lbs over weight. Do you know how sweet it has to be for me to say it's too sweet?! Yea.

Then there's the thing that puts me over the edge. I'm overweight. I'm medicated for high blood pressure. And my "Healthy Choice" for lunch has TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT of my recommended sodium for the day? In five freakin' ravioli?! Come ON Con-Agra (*shudder* wish I hadn't read the side of the box to find out who makes this now... I've seen Food, Inc.!) If it was really a healthy choice it wouldn't have 8g of sugar (twice what it has in fiber!) and 580mg of sodium.

I want a healthy choice that's really healthy. Is that so much to ask? And, umm... Can it be healthy AND more than 8 bites? I didn't get where I am by eating light.

Side note: Here's a thought! Can someone make freezer meals for the obese that work like nicotine patches... You start out with Hungry Man portions, end up with Healthy Choice ones - gradual steps to retrain your body?

Damn, I'm a freakin' genius


Candy said...

Unfortunately, I've come to the realization that the boxes and cans are out if I'm going to lose weight. It has to be actual food. I'm trying to make sure Tom or I make enough of the healthier variety so that I have lunch the next day. Or if it's a protein, I'll put it over a salad. I know, salads are out for you though. Seriously, all that frozen/canned stuff is the same story. It's RIDICULOUS. There are places that will make you meals, but they're so expensive. Maybe try to do it on your own and freeze them? Do it for 2 weeks at a time? Maybe we need to get together at someone's house and make our own damned diet food.

I'm so with you. Those "diet" meals are mainly "diet" because there's no freaking food in there! And what is in there is one big preservative or salt!

Justin said...

What I did, and still do, was to skip the meals and head straight for the veggies themselves. Green Giant has a range of single-serving portions that are 40 cal each, take 2½ minutes in the microwave, and are really quite good. In fact, they have a pretty good selection in general.

I take three or four of those and make a meal out of it. Say, one of their red potato/peppers/snow peas boxes (full box, 2 servings, 100 cal), with a single-serving broccoli & cheese tray (40 cal), a single serving corn tray (40 cal, but I can't have it anymore b/c of my gallbladder), and maybe some green beans (20 cal). It ends up being a plate overflowing with filling food, and just 200 calories for the lot.

One of the things I learned really quickly was that there is a lot of really good food out there, it just doesn't have big red stickers that say "OOH, I'm what you want!"