In the interest of full disclosure, I am being provided with 42 Healthy Choice meals, a counseling session at BlogHer, and am being compensated. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
You can read about my previous experiences here:
Wow did I have a blast at BlogHer. While there, the Better for BlogHer bloggers had a lunch with Healthy Choice to learn about some of the new things they're doing, and I'm absolutely loving it.
Do you remember in Week 1 where I said I felt bad about creating so much trash from the packaging? Healthy Choice is launching a new line of entrees called Steaming Entrees. Much like the Cafe Steamers that I love, these are steam cooked, and they don't include the dessert and side like the Complete Meals do. My favorite part? The packaging is recyclable! Yay!
Additionally, these new products that will be available beginning in September (and earlier in some markets) include fewer ingredients - meaning more foods that are recognizable, which again makes me feel better about eating them. I can't wait until they're available in Illinois!
I was able to try them when I was in Florida this past week. And yes, I ate my Healthy Choice Entrees while in Florida. Since that was one of the markets that received the Steaming Entrees first, I was able to try one out.
I also discovered that the price issue I have with Healthy Choice is a Chicago issue with Dominick's and Jewel (especially). While those markets charge mor than the suggested retail price per the Healthy Choice website (Jewel is the highest), the Publix in Florida charges are far more reasonable price, as does Wal-Mart back in Chicago - although I rarely go there unfortunately. I've also seen that Costco now carries the Cafe Steamers in a four-pack at a pretty good price.
I haven't been running while on vacation, but eating the Healthy Choice entrees makes me feel like I'm at the very least keeping myself stable, which is important to me.
Some more thoughts of the items that I've tried (and yes, I've started to recycle because I like some of them and some options just aren't interesting to me - plus my Dominick's carries a very limited selection, hint hint).
Sesame Glazed Chicken This was the Steaming Entree that I tried out while in Florida. It was actually quite good and comparable to the Cafe Steamers type of food. I love that they're using the brown rice for these, and the veggies were nice and crisp. The sauce was light and not as heavy or as overpowering as some of the Cafe Steamers (where I have to pour out some of the sauce). That said, this is not a ton of food. It's great to eat, but then a few hours later, I do need to have something else. That's the point of these, though - they encourage eating the small healthy meals.
Grilled Whiskey Steak This was a Cafe Steamer, and it wasn't bad. I liked the flavor of the whiskey sauce - really, how can you not with that name? Shhh, I did pick out the mushrooms, but the other veggies were good and not overcooked. I would have preferred more meat and fewer potatoes, but it was still ok. That said, I am not the hugest fan of the beef dishes. I like my meat more tender than what frozen dinners can provide.
Beef Bourbon Dijon This was an interesting flavor. It's not something that I would have come up with on my own, but it actually worked out ok. I liked the dijon mustard giving it some extra flavor (which seems like it makes up for eating fewer calories in my mind). On the downside, I had some of my vegetables mixed into my dessert, which is really not where I want my veggies. And again, the peach crisp was a little too sweet for me - but my sweet tooth isn't all that sweet.
Fire Roasted Tomato Chicken Another Completel Meal, I enjoyed this one. The pasta was cooked a little more than my preference (but I've already shared how I like my food much more al dente than most Americans), but the sauce was actually really good. Unlike some of the other pasta sauces that were somewhat tasteless, I really liked the roasted tomato sauce that had much more flavor to it. The apple cranberry crisp was ok - not as sweet as some of the others - but I would have liked more and bigger cranberries. And I'm probably the odd one out on that, too!
Sweet And Sour Chicken I love Asian food, if you can't tell from the majority of the choices I seem to make in my Healthy Choice entrees. Sweet and Sour Chicken is one of my favorites, but not one I can eat regularly if I want to be healthy. I couldn't wait to see how Healthy Choice took this one on. I felt like the peppers were really overcooked for me, so I didn't eat them, but the chicken and sauce were quite good and comparable to what I've had in many restaurants. That alone will have me buying this one again. The broccoli was again a little overcooked, but it tasted pretty good dipped in the sauce (shhh!).
I also have some more of Tara Gidus's tips to share with you again this week:
Eat light and eat often. Eat only what you need to sustain yourself for three or four hours, then follow up with a light snack to tide you over until the next meal or snack. This is exactly what the Healthy Choice meals do for me. I eat one, and three hours later, I'm ready for something like some carrots or grapes or something not super heavy. Yay!
Make it a family affair. Take the whole family out for a walk or a bike ride after dinner to enjoy the summer evenings. This I definitely need to do more of. While the wee ones and I play outside, we don't do a lot of exercise things as a family, and this is a habit I need to get into - but a later bedtime is needed for us to do this, too, so it's a Catch-22.
Rise and shine. Breakfast is a no-brainer to kick-start your day. Feel more energetic and fuel your brain by simply giving your body the food it desires. I always eat breakfast - except in the rare instances that I forget - but I need to do better at eating earlier in the day rather than eating as I'm rushing out the door after I've done all my morning chores and gotten everyone else fed and dressed, etc.
Until next time!