We all do it. You worked late, you’re tired, you haven’t gone grocery shopping since the weekend, nothing looks good or barely edible in your fridge—whatever the reason, you find yourself poised for “the grab.” Unfortunately, far too often, that means a fast-food stop or microwaveable mac and cheese, or—God forbid!—the 7-11 Big Bite, loaded. Hello fat and salt, and lotsa calories…
So, I’m here to offer some alternatives. A couple are based on actual research conducted by my husband and me in the frozen entree section of our local supermarket, but more on that later.
First, for that quickie, “I’m-hungry-and-can’t-wait” food grab, here are some alternatives to fast or processed or simply “not worth it” options:
- Grab a banana to tide yourself over until you can eat rationally.
- Have breakfast: an egg, a piece of toast, fruit, or some cereal with milk—breakfast for dinner is fun every once in a while, and best of all, it’s quick and healthier than traditional fast food.
- Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but listen up. Use a brand like Crazy Richard’s, made with just peanuts, ‘smuch better than any of the peanut-flavored Crisco’s out there. For jelly, try Polaner All Fruit (all natural, no cane sugar or corn syrup). Use a wholegrain bread or English muffin. Add a piece of fruit or any fresh veggies lying around (who doesn’t have a 10-lb bag of baby carrots huddled in the fridge—Costco much?).
- Slice off a couple thin pieces of cheese (less than an ounce, total) and have them on a Fiber One English muffin with some mustard. Take time to toast it open-faced (so worth the extra 2 ½ minutes.)
Anyway, you get the drift. Now, what if you want to actually PLAN for such times, when you know you won’t have the time, energy, or willpower, to cook? What if you were to buy some, gulp, TV dinners for such an occasion? Well suh, that’s where our research comes in, and the news ain’t all bad.
The following is a comparison of chicken and beef entrees, found in the frozen section of Giant. For each, I’ve provided the nutrition data from the box, along with our reviews of taste and healthiness.
Here are the beef entries:
And here are the chicken entries:
So there’s my review. Major points here:
- Err on the side of “pure” food (see first list at top of this blog).
- If you do a frozen dinner or entree, go ahead and microwave a bag of broccoli florets while you’re waiting for it to cook—open the bag, place in microwave for 2 minutes. Have those with whatever quickie dinner you make. OR
- Add a big salad! So you don’t lose the benefit of a controlled meal by snacking later out of hunger.
“Grab” healthy and keep moving, Jen Katt