Rants, Rules & Recipes

An Effort to End Nutritional Ignorance

RANT: Packaged Meals


I worked around 110 hours a week and I gained like 11 pounds in the first month of my medical training.  I didn’t even notice because I was so exhausted—plus, the scrubs we wore, allowed you to,  unknowingly go up 4 sizes, and still fit in to your cinch-able scrub pants.

My diet consisted entirely of individually wrapped graham crackers and peanut butter tubs (which were free in the resident lounge) and frozen dinners.  Because there was no time to grocery shop, cook, or even think about washing or cutting a vegetable, I would load my freezer with about 50-60 Lean Cuisines: Swedish meatballs, Chicken Carbonara, and my favorite, Chicken in Peanut Sauce. The few hours a week I was at home, and not sleeping, I was wolfing down these various frozen dinners;  every second was precious.

lean cuisine

What I also didn’t have time to do was look at the ingredients.  OK, Lean Cuisines are better than most and have come a long way since then, but most frozen dinners have 49 ingredients are LOADED with Sodium, and worse, they have all kinds of crazy ingredients like sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and ETDA to “preserve freshness”. Ain’t nuthin fresh about a frozen dinner, BTW.

These days, I usually take last night’s left-overs for lunch, but occasionally I have a day when I need a quick grab-able something I can take to work or send with my left-overs-snob husband as his lunch.  Fortunately I have found some great healthy options, which include:

ANNIE’S frozen meals:    can be more expensive, so I buy them by the truck load when they are on sale

KASHI Frozen Meals:    still check the ingredients on some of these, can be a long list

Trader Joe’s INDIAN FARE:    MY FAVE because they are in expensive and don’t have to be frozen!

jaipur vegetablesjaipur vegetable ingredients

Sure, I’d rather us all pack a vegetable laden organic salad for lunch, but when that’s just not possible, do yourself and your health a favor, and at least choose a packaged meal with REAL ingredients!

3 comments on “RANT: Packaged Meals

  1. All Seasons Cyclist
    September 9, 2013

    We have a motto at our house: “If it comes in a cardboard box it is not food!” I used to live on “Healthy Choice” meals — they are better than most frozen meals, but they are a long way from ideal. Fortunately, I have a small refrigerator sitting next to my desk at the office — and I keep it loaded with fresh fruit and bottled water.

    • rantsrulesandrecipes
      September 10, 2013

      So true! Thanks for sharing!! I tell patients, ” if it comes in a box or can, it’s made in a factory, and this isn’t intended for our bodies”

      Glad you’ve made food and health a priority–wish that was the norm!

      Check out my Blog! (But only if you are in to your health and living well and feeling good and those sorts of things!)

      http://www.rantsrulesandrecipes.wordpress.com

  2. tommygday
    September 9, 2013

    I really miss those graham crackers. And cinchable scrubs. And I love leftovers:)

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