Diet Dinners: Fresh VS frozen

By Jennifer Warnick - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Half of starting a diet is what you eat.

Martin's nutritionist Kelly Leonard helps people tweak their food intake to achieve they're weight loss goals. One of her biggest concerns - portion control.

"The portion sizes are pretty good," Kelly stated.

But that's where the love affair with frozen meals ends.

"They have more sodium than they need," she said.

Most contain a lean protein, a serving of grain and a vegetable. Kelly explored three of these meals for herself and made a shocking discovery.

"In a lot of these packages, the amount of vegetables in them are very few," said Kelly. "The one that had zucchini in, that I tried last night, had less than a disc worth of slice of zucchini."

Far less than the standard half cup per serving. But at 180 calories, how could you go wrong?

"That's low calorie and that will actually leave a lot of people wanting more," she said.

She blames convenience, affordability and lack of knowledge for a surge in popularity, so she showed us how easy it is to put a low cal meal like this together.

"This [meal] has rosemary chicken and sweet potatoes, chicken tenderloins with sweet potatoes, yellow carrots and pearl onions in rosemary garlic sauce," Kelly said.

We start with the chicken priced at $3.50.

"You could get four servings out of this [package]. 99 cents for a pound bag of carrots. The white sweet potatoes, 99 cents a pound," Kelly said.

We got two for 90 cents. The onion is 70 cents plus 80 cents for the garlic. We got fresh rosemary for $1.50. As it turns out, you can buy the same meal cheaper fresh than frozen.

"Four [frozen meals] would be about 10 dollars, and this is way more nutritious and I can guarantee you it's going to taste better," said Kelly.

While Kelly thinks frozen diet foods have they're place in the world of weight loss, she recommends blending them with other freshly prepared foods.

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