Planning a Healthy Choice Meal Plan: The Best Frozen Meals for Your Diet
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Is There Such a Thing as the Healthy Choice Diet?

written by: Michelle Kingston • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 2/28/2011

The Healthy Choice meal plan is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to cook, or has no time to cook. But how healthy is this convenience food? The answer may surprise you.

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    Products

    Healthy Choice offers convenient, pre-prepared microwaveable meals that are ready in three to five minutes. Meal selections are suitable for snacks, lunch, and dinner. You can try the Healthy Choice meal plan in the following five categories:

    • Frozen Meals: complete meals ‘steamed’ in the microwave.
    • Fresh Mixers: lunch and dinner options not requiring refrigeration or freezing.
    • Frozen Treats: low-fat desserts like fudge bars, ice cream sandwiches, sorbets and cream bars
    • Soups: a variety of soup options in microwaveable bowls, or canned.
    • Bread: available in Hearty 100% Whole Grain and Hearty 7 Grain.
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    Is the Healthy Choice plan a diet?

    Healthy Choice is not a diet. And unlike many popular controlled-diet plans delivered straight to your front door, this meal plan is sold on the shelves and in the frozen section of the grocery stores. Portion sizes are adequate, but in some cases, a small salad or extra serving or rice may be needed to supplement the dish.

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    Is Healthy Choice really healthy?

    ConAgra Foods (the makers of Healthy Choice) lives up to claims that its Healthy Choice brand is 100 percent healthy. All menus have less than 500 calories, and due to premium ingredients and high nutritional values, Healthy Choice also receives FDA approval.

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    Nutritional information

    The following nutritional data shows how healthy a Healthy Choice meal plan is. Let’s have a look at The Café Steamer - Sweet & Spicy Orange Zest Chicken. This frozen meal features tender chicken tenderloin, rice, and a medley of vegetables drizzled in a tangy orange, and has only 300 calories.

    Serving Size (286g)

    • Total Fat 4g
    • Trans Fat 0g
    • Cholesterol 35mg
    • Sodium 380mg
    • Total Carbohydrate 49g
    • Dietary Fiber 4g
    • Sugars 16g
    • Protein 17g

    This meal is also loaded Vitamins A, B, C, and E, plus magnesium, potassium, iron, and folic acid.

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    Is Healthy Choice gluten free?

    Healthy Choice products do not carry the gluten-free food label. With the high demand for gluten free products, it is surprising that ConAgra Foods would not use a gluten free label despite revealing a list of Healthy Choice products they claim are made with gluten-free ingredients. Those products include:

    • Cajun Style Chicken and Shrimp
    • Grilled Turkey Breast Healthy Choice Country Glazed Chicken
    • Spicy Caribbean Chicken
    • Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream
    • Premium Fudge Bars
    • Vanilla No Sugar Added Ice Cream
    • Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk
    • Mint Chocolate Chip
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    Soy, dairy, wheat, and other allergens.

    All packages have an allergen statement. Although most of the products do not contain all allergens, most contain at least one of the following—soy, dairy, wheat, and egg. The Chicken Noodle Soup contains wheat, egg, and soy whereas the sole allergen in the Fudge Bar is milk.

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    Worth considering...

    Positives

    • Vegetarian options (although limited).
    • Products are inexpensive, averaging about $2.99 per serving, plus there are additional savings from manufacture and store coupons.
    • Wide variety of food choices.

    Negatives

    • Despite the ‘healthy’ label, consumers have complained that some items are over processed and have lost valuable nutrients.
    • Some selections require more cooking time than described on the package.
    • Some meals are lacking in taste, overwhelming in taste, or are edible but artificial tasting.

    Healthy Choice is a good choice of easy to prepare meals that doesn’t cost a lot. If you have food intolerances, check the label carefully if you wish to avoid particular allergens.

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    Sample contents.

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