I recently had an opportunity to try some of Lean Cuisine’s new SPA CUISINE entrees, samples of which were sent to me by their PR firm.
Here’s what they promised I would find:
- Each entree offers five to six grams of dietary fiber from natural sources like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- They’re made with high quality ingredients like sea salt.
- None contain preservatives or artificial ingredients.
What’s your definition of artificial?
When I checked the labels, I found a lot of “questionable” (to me) things like modified tapioca starch, whey protein concentrate, chicken flavor and corn syrup solids – not the stuff I normally cook with. Even worse, one of the entrees (the Thai one) had hydrogenated vegetable oil – a real no-no.
On the positive side, there were lots of wholesome ingredients like whole wheat orzo pasta, carrots, green beans, and wheat berries. (You can see the entire ingredient list for Apple Cranberry Chicken here.)
I tried three different types of entrees: Thai-Style Noodles with Chicken, Apple Cranberry Chicken, and Roasted Honey Chicken. I liked how all three dishes were colorful and had big pieces of chicken in them. I also like how each box listed the Weight Watchers POINTS.
A tasty turnoff?
My favorite was the Thai-Style Noodles with Chicken, which had a delicious spicy peanut sauce, thick whole wheat fettuccini noodles, and a good serving of vegetables. Unfortunately, it had seven grams of fat compared to the other entrees, which had four or five grams. Also, the aforementioned hydrogenated vegetable oil was a deal killer for me.
Even so, if you were hankering for some decadent Thai food, this would be a less fat and calorie laden choice. Then again, your local Thai place is probably using regular vegetable oil instead of the hydrogenated stuff and use fresher ingredients, too. Maybe it’s more beneficial to your health to control your portion of of Thai takeout (combine it with lots of brown rice and steamed veggies) than to rely on diet convenience food?
Finally, when comparing it to my favorite “not too artificial” frozen diet meals, Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees, Lean Cuisine SPA CUISINES were almost twice the price. Just another reason I can’t really recommend them.
Disclosure: I was sent three entrees to review and three free sample coupons to give away to my readers. Since I’m giving Lean Cuisine SPA CUISINES a thumbs down, I don’t feel right about giving away the coupons and will toss them.