These Aren’t Your Parent’s TV Dinners

I’m on a mission to find decent, nutritious meals that can be made in a matter of minutes.  With two small children and a full time job, I have even had to push my “Meals in 30 Minutes” cookbook aside.  These days thirty minutes to cook or bake is not always do-able.  Thus, I have started to dabble with “TV Dinners,” (also called frozen meals, frozen dinners, microwave meals or ready-made meals).  TV dinners were introduced by Swanson in the 1950s and got their name because the package featured an image of a TV set and families would often eat them in front of the TV.

TV Dinners have come a long way in the last 50 years.  For the rest of the article I will refer to TV Dinners as frozen meals.  There are hundreds of frozen meals available at your grocery store and many of them are marketed as being healthy or promoting weight loss.

My experience with frozen meals is limited but I did find one that I really like, Lasagna Florentine from Smart Ones.  In an attempt to find more frozen meals that would please my taste buds I decided to survey my co-workers and post a question on my Facebook page asking for everyone’s favorite frozen meal.  I was surprised at how many people quickly responded with an answer.  The two brands that most people had favorites from were Weight Watcher’s Smart Ones and Lean Cuisine.  Other brands listed were from Healthy Choice, Marie Callender’s, Kashi, Amy’s Kitchen, and one person said Swanson’s Hungry Man.  Ironically out of all the responses only two people listed the same frozen meal as their favorite, which was Lean Cuisines Panini’s, without naming a specific flavor.  Here are some of the responses I received from brands that focus on creating nutritious frozen meals:

Smart Ones Lean Cuisine Healthy Choice Amy’s Kitchen
Three Cheese Marinara Flat Bread BBQ Chicken Pizza Cafe Steamers Sesame Chicken Garden Vegetable Lasagna
Orange Sesame Chicken Chicken in Peanut Sauce Popstickers Cheese Enchilada
Chicken Quesadilla Panini’s Chicken Fired Steak
Lasagna Florentine Sesame Chicken
Chicken Sante Fe Turkey with Apples & Stuffing

While grocery shopping I did a quick cost analysis of the average cost of popular individual sized frozen meals.

Amy’s Kitchen $4.50 Banquet 10 for $10.00 Healthy Choice $2.50
Kashi $3.95 Lean Cuisine $3.63 Marie Callendar’s $3.99
Mama Michelina 4 for $5.00 Smart Ones $2.68 Stouffer’s $3.35

Based on my friends responses I decided to do some taste testing of my own.   So throughout this next month I will be taste testing and will report on my findings in next month’s blog.  If you have any you’d like me to try this month let me know!

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1 Response to "These Aren’t Your Parent’s TV Dinners"

  1. Metro Chef

    I loved this article. It’s nice to know that you can still serve a quick meal to your family, and have it taste good and be good for them without feeling bad! I can’t wait to see next month’s blog!