Can microwaveable meals be healthy?

Barbara!

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#1
So, I've never really been alone much in my lifetime. Cooking is one of my passions and I love it... But I hate cooking for myself. So when I am living alone, I don't cook. I will walk around the house and eat a bag of Cheetos all day before even touching the stove.

So today I went and bought a couple "Healthy Choice" microwaveable pasta meals... And I guess I just wonder...are they really "healthy"? Am I better off cooking in bulk one day and microwaving that for a few days rather than buying premade things?

Also, feel free to share cheap, simple recipes. Haha.
 

Fran101

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#2
Honestly? No. Most (if not all) microwave meals are FILLED with preservatives and other junk. The ingredients list are way longer than they should be..nearly 100% of the time.

I would stick with cooking in bulk and then re-heating if I were you.

The healthy college student cook book has saved me. Even if you aren't a college student, it is full of great, simple meals.. for one!
Since you do know how to cook it may seem a bit redundant lol but it has some great simple stuff!
http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-College-Cookbook-Alexandra-Nimetz/dp/1603420304/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356058932&sr=8-1&keywords=healthy+college+cookbook
I like to cook a lot of "bases".. pasta, rice, soup.. all in one big cooking day. and then have that for 2 weeks that I make with extras, like salad and chicken usually.

To this day I can't cook chicken. Ridiculous I know. I just buy whole chickens from whole foods..
The IDEA of cooking chicken makes me want to reach for the poptarts.

Cooking the other stuff.. making a salad, pasta/rice/whatever, seems much more do-able at the end of the day when I know that my meat is already done.
 

Lyzelle

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#3
Besides being unhealthy, they are rather expensive and most taste like cardboard anyway. I've never really seen the appeal.

I cook in bulk and eat leftovers. Chili, ham, roast chicken can be made into anything, roast beef is the same, so on so forth.

And if all else fails, I guess I would rather have the bag of cheetos and a bowl of ramen before eating a microwavable meal.
 

RedHotDobe

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#4
In my nutrition class we were given guidelines and had to try to make a meal out of frozen foods. It was incredibly hard. No, they're definitely not healthy, lol.
 

Fran101

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#5
..hey.
no hatin' on ramen.

lol I rarely eat it anymore..but man,I used to SURVIVE off that stuff.
Looking at the sodium/calories on it now... I often wonder HOW I survived though lol
 

Lyzelle

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#6
Oh, I don't mind ramen. I just prefer chicken taco things. Or drunk ham. Or whatever else I've hoarded in my freezer over the last month. Lol

Plus...it's noodles. Really cheap noodles. You can do ANYTHING with that sort of base. And you don't even have to worry about seasoning. Just add veggies or meat. Good to go. Or make egg drop soup + noodles.
 

Beanie

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#8
Read the ingredient list. That should answer your question.
It's really pretty disgusting.
 

RedHotDobe

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#10
If I could make ramen like this:





in my kitchen, I would eat ramen for every single meal. Thankfully I can't, and I'm sure my body thanks me for that. :p
 

stardogs

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#11
I used to survive on rice/quinoa/couscous with veggies and cheese in college - it was quick, healthier than something from a box, and I could get decent variety by using different mixed veggies or types of cheese. LOL

Nowadays I have a food schedule basically (Monday: raviolis, Tuesday: dinosaur chicken, Wednesday: leftovers or microwave dinner, Thursday: pasta of some sort, Friday: pizza). It takes some of the guess work out of meals during the week and then weekends are the time for bigger cooking days so we have things to freeze.
 

Barbara!

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#12
These are the ones I get for work occasionally and they don't taste all that bad to me and it's helpful not to have to put anything in the work refrigerator... Lol

http://www.healthychoice.com/products/lunch-express

But idk. Haha. My body doesn't seem to be too interested in healthy foods during this pregnancy. Cheetos, Mexican food, burgers, and Alfredo with meatballs are my biggest cravings.
 

~Jessie~

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#13
Microwavable meals can be healthy if you get the right ones!

I LOVE the Amy's frozen meals. The Indian ones are my favorite. Here's the ingredients list in the Veggie Korma:

Organic brown basmati rice, filtered water, organic onions, organic peas, organic potatoes, organic coconut milk, organic cauliflower, organic carrots, black urad dal*, organic diced tomatoes, organic green bell peppers, organic cashews, organic tomato puree, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, organic mung dal, organic desi chickpeas, organic green lentils, organic lemon juice, organic garlic, organic ginger, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, organic raisins, organic green beans, spices**, organic almonds, turmeric, organic mustard seeds, organic jalapeños, black pepper. Contains tree nuts (coconut, cashews and almonds).*Dal is the Indian word for lentils, beans and peas.<**100% pure herbs & spices (no hidden ingredients)
http://www.amys.com/
 

Fran27

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#14
I know Lean Cuisine has no preservatives. I have them occasionally. The main issue is all the sodium obviously.

Amy's is awesome too but yeah... sodium lol.
 

milos_mommy

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#15
Nope.

Or, like the ones Jessie described, are not available in regular supermarkets here, only places like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, and are easily 3x the cost of something like Healthy Choice or Stouffers.

A lot of things freeze easily...chili, pasta dishes, meat and veggies, chicken pot pie, soups and stews...cook in bulk one day a week and freeze the rest.

When I lived alone and didn't want to cook for myself, I ate eggs for dinner a whole lot. Or I'd make ramen noodles without the seasoning and throw in an egg and frozen veggies.

Andddddd, now I want cheetos.
 

~Jessie~

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#16
Nope.

Or, like the ones Jessie described, are not available in regular supermarkets here, only places like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, and are easily 3x the cost of something like Healthy Choice or Stouffers.

A lot of things freeze easily...chili, pasta dishes, meat and veggies, chicken pot pie, soups and stews...cook in bulk one day a week and freeze the rest.

When I lived alone and didn't want to cook for myself, I ate eggs for dinner a whole lot. Or I'd make ramen noodles without the seasoning and throw in an egg and frozen veggies.

Andddddd, now I want cheetos.
We have the Amy's meals at Publix (I eat them probably 1-2 days a week). They're not much more expensive than, say, Lean Cuisines. I think they're $4.50 a piece, and Lean Cusine is $3 something.
 

milos_mommy

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#17
We don't have Publix up north :( Your options here are shopping at expensive organic health-oriented stores...Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Wild by Nature...or stores like Stop & Shop, Food Emporium, Pathmark....which don't carry very much fresh/healthy food.
 

maxfox426

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#18
Before my son was born, I bought a bunch of cheap, disposable aluminum baking dishes (mostly the 9x9" size), mixed up a few different casseroles, and then froze them. When I wasn't up for cooking, I would bring them out, let them thaw in the fridge for a day, before popping them in the oven.

You could probably do the same thing with "individual" size portions, rather than a family-size casserole!
 

ACooper

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#19
Before my son was born, I bought a bunch of cheap, disposable aluminum baking dishes (mostly the 9x9" size), mixed up a few different casseroles, and then froze them. When I wasn't up for cooking, I would bring them out, let them thaw in the fridge for a day, before popping them in the oven.

You could probably do the same thing with "individual" size portions, rather than a family-size casserole!
You could easily and economically do that :)

I cook nearly every night because we still have a good sized family living at home.

When there are leftovers (and most of the time there is) I take a Quart sized freezer bag (get them at the dollar tree for 1$) put food in it, zip it shut and lay it FLAT in the freezer.

Just the other day I made alfredo noodles and grilled chicken breasts. I put 1 cup of noodles and 1 chicken breast per bag, squeezed out the air, smoothed it flat and froze it. Viola! A frozen dinner and I KNOW the ingredients, easy to thaw, take to work, whatever :)
(I like them when I don't want to cook and tell everyone to have "SEE Food" then the freezer turns into a buffet :D)

So my best advice for your wallet AND health? Pick a time, cook a few dishes you like, divide them up and freeze for later.
 

Beanie

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#20
We don't even have a TJ's here. =< I just stocked up on a bunch of stuff when I was in Chicago, but can't really stock up on anything frozen from there. I did buy some tamales (DON'T JUDGE ME) but just about everything else I wanted had wheat in it so I couldn't buy it anyway. We've been trying for years to get a TJ's or a Whole Foods... no luck yet... all we have is an independently owned natural food store which means $$$$$.


Barbara, you might want to google for once a month cooking "dump" meals. These are meals that you basically put all the ingredients for into a bag, put it in the freezer, then when you're ready for it, you pull the bag out and either dump it all into a crockpot or a dish for the stove and cook it - hence "dump" meals. Those are my fave to stock the freezer with because I can basically spend an hour chucking a bunch of stuff into bags and then I have TONS of meals ready to go.
I'm not a major fan of once a month cooking where you actually cook stuff with the intention of freezing it, but I do purposely try and make large portions so I have enough to freeze for later.
 

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