We know, we know. Portion control is one key to weight loss. That's why we buy frozen entrees, right? (OK, sometimes we feel lazy in the kitchen, too.)How do some of the newest ones in the freezer aisle stack up, health-wise and taste-wise?We put our microwave and oven to work to find out.
Weight Watchers Chicken TendersServing size: 1 tender (15 per box)Calories: 60Fat grams: 0.5Cholesterol: 30 milligramsSodium: 90 milligramsSugars: 0 gramsProtein: 12 gramsPrep time: 18 minutes (in oven)Found it: At SuperTarget, $3.99The dish: There's no guesswork here if you want to make chicken tenders part of your diet: One tender is one serving, which means 60 calories and one "point" on the Weight Watchers plan. These are very small, plain boneless, skinless tenders -- no marinades or seasonings to add calories or sodium. They are not, however, organic, if you prefer that; "all natural" on the box means "minimally processed" and "no artificial ingredients."Will I keep it in my freezer? No reason not to, except I'd be interested to know how the chickens are treated on the farm they come from.Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Safeway Select Thai Style Coconut ChickenServing size: 1 boxCalories: 320Fat grams: 8 (3.5 grams saturated)Cholesterol: 35 milligramsSodium: 800 milligramsCarb count: 48 gramsFiber: 2 gramsSugars: 7 gramsProtein: 12 gramsPrep time: 5 minutesFound it: At Tom Thumb, $2The dish: This is one of the most flavorful dishes we've come across in a while. White meat chicken simmers in a sauce of coconut milk, lemongrass extract and chili paste, and sits on a bed of veggie-speckled white rice. The chicken stayed moist and nonspongy, and the sauce packed both a hint of sweetness and just a kick of heat. Those concerned about sodium should beware that this entree provides 33 percent of the recommended daily allowance.Will I keep it in my freezer? Yes, this is a "find!"Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Amy's Light & Lean Roasted Polenta with Swiss ChardServing size: 1 boxCalories: 140Fat grams: 4 (1.5 grams saturated)Cholesterol: 10 milligramsSodium: 540 milligramsCarb count: 20 gramsFiber: 4 gramsSugars: 7 gramsProtein: 6 gramsPrep time: 6 minutesFound it: At Kroger, $3.89The dish: In this vegetarian-friendly entree, organic sweet yellow cornmeal polenta is roasted and topped with a "summer vegetable stew" of organic squash, organic tomatoes and mushrooms; "slow-cooked" chard sits on the side. We loved the texture of the smooth polenta topped with the vegetables and found it to be quite flavorful. With just 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, though, the dish didn't keep us satisfied from lunch until dinnertime.Will I keep it in my freezer? Yes.Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Lean Cuisine Enchilada Rojo with Mexican-style RiceServing size: 1 boxCalories: 310Fat grams: 8 (3.5 grams saturated)Cholesterol: 20 milligramsSodium: 670 milligramsCarb count: 46 gramsFiber: 4 gramsSugars: 9 gramsProtein: 13 gramsPrep time: 7 minutesFound it: At Kroger, $3.33The dish: This vegetarian-friendly entree has strips of a (vegetable, grain and soy-based) chicken substitute called Gardein inside a tortilla, with a chili sauce, rice, black beans, sweet corn, red peppers and tomatillos on the side. Meat-eaters won't know the difference. Heat-seekers will want more spice.Will I keep it in my freezer? Yes.Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Jimmy Dean Delights French Toast GriddlersServing size: 1 sandwich (4 per box)Calories: 240Fat grams: 10 (2.5 grams saturated)Cholesterol: 70 milligramsSodium: 500 milligramsCarb count: 29 gramsFiber: 1 gramsSugars: 7 gramsProtein: 11 gramsPrep time: 75 secondsFound it: At SuperTarget, $4.59The dish: In this fast-food-style breakfast sandwich, a patty of turkey sausage sits between two pieces of cinnamon-glazed French toast. We liked this more than we thought we would; the turkey sausage is a more diet-friendly alternative to sausage that doesn't sacrifice much flavor.Will I keep it in my freezer? Yes.Rating: 2 1/2 (out of 5)
Red Baron Biscuit-Style Sausage ScramblesServing size: 1 piece (2 per box)Calories: 360Fat grams: 17 (8 grams saturated)Cholesterol: 60 milligramsSodium: 750 milligramsCarb count: 38 gramsFiber: 2 gramsSugars: 9 gramsProtein: 15 gramsPrep time: 3 minutesFound it: At Tom Thumb, $3.25The dish: In these mini breakfast pizzas, crumbles of sausage, scrambled eggs, mozzarella and cheddar cheese top a biscuit-style crust. These pretty much lack any redeeming nutritional value, and they were greasy and unfulfilling. In the same amount of time, you can cook a real egg, and we'd prefer that for breakfast. However, one of our tasters said they're "good for hangovers, though."Will I keep it in my freezer? No.Rating: 1 (out of 5)