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The Microwave Diet: 8 Great Frozen Entrees
Posted Tue, Oct 23, 2007, 5:17 pm PDT
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It's a given: Life is going to hand you a certain number of days so crazed that high-speed take-out seems like the only dinner option.
The hitch? The only people who know less about portion control than restaurant chefs are the stressed-out and starving. (You know the feeling: You deserve to supersize something after the day you've had.)
The fix? Stock your freezer with healthy versions of your fave take-out treats--ones that are delicious enough to keep you driving right past the fast-food palace. Honest, they exist. Just check this list, tested by a bunch of tough-to-please tasters.
PIZZA: Lean Cuisine Brick Oven Style Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Here's a great way to soothe pizza craving without worrying about the 2-slice cut-off! The flatbread crust is topped with creamy garlic sauce, chicken, and cheese. And it crisps up perfectly in the microwave.
340 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 49g carbohydrates, 670mg sodium, 2g fiber, 20g protein
ENCHILADAS: Amy's Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas
Dig into two corn tortillas filled with black beans, corn, zucchini, tofu, and bell peppers, all covered in mild enchilada sauce. Note that there's a low-sodium version of this meal: 380 mg vs. 780 mg in the regular recipe. Smart. High salt hits are hard to avoid in most frozen food, so take advantage.
380 calories, 12g fat (1g saturated), 44g carbohydrate, 380mg sodium, 6g fiber, 10g protein
BURRITO: Cedarlane's Low Fat Beans, Rice, and Cheese Style Burrito
This almost sounds too healthy to be fun, but even our burrito junkies loved this dish of pinto beans, soy cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and organic brown rice, wrapped in a warm wheat tortilla. For extra zing, top it off with your favorite salsa.
260 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated), 48g carbohydrate, 490mg sodium, 7g fiber, 13g protein
PANINI: Lean Cuisine's Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Panini
Okay, it's not quite the same as the corner bistro's, but a little perspective here: eating just half of Panera Bread's Frontega Chicken Panini would cost you 440 calories, 21g of fat, and 1150mg of sodium! This is faster, cheaper, much healthier, and surprisingly satisfying.
280 calories, 8g fat (3.5g saturated), 32g carbohydrate, 690mg sodium, 5g fiber, 21g protein
THAI NOODLES: Seeds of Change Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles
You don't have to be a nutritionist to figure that large servings of noodles drenched in peanut sauce are hazardous to your waist. Not these. The linguini is made with healthy semolina wheat flour, and there's plenty of zippy ginger-peanut sauce flavoring the noodles, veggies, and tofu (done just right--nice and firm).
350 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 620mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 17g protein
RAVIOLI: Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli
This indulgent-tasting dish features pillowy squash raviolis with a creamy pumpkin-like filling, surrounded by yellow and orange carrots, snap peas, and chopped walnuts, all covered with a light cream sauce. Bonus: It gives you almost all the vitamin A you need for the whole day.
350 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 56g carbohydrates, 660mg sodium, 6g fiber, 13g protein
MAC 'N' CHEESE: Smart Ones Macaroni and Cheese
Every now and then you need a taste of your favorite childhood dish. If mac and cheese is yours, this one will soothe your inner 5-year-old's needs for just 270 warm, creamy calories.
270 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated), 52g carbohydrates, 790mg sodium, 2g fiber, 11g protein
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
A delicious bowl of tender snow peas, carrots, broccoli, and grilled chicken breast on a bed of seven whole grains that are flavored with a lemongrass-coconut sauce...this meal smells almost as good as it tastes.
300 calories, 8g fat (4g saturated), 38g carbohydrate, 680mg sodium, 7g of fiber, 18g protein
One more thing that's great about these 8 freezer finds: Avoiding saturated and trans fats can make your RealAge up to 4 years younger