Michelina's Lean Gourmet Frozen Meals

This post is part of a series on low-cal packaged meals. For more, check out previous entries on Weight Watchers Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, South Beach Living, and Lean Cuisine.

Michelina's meals may be positioned at the low end of the frozen-food market, but give them credit for innovative efficiency. Their cardboard packaging may sometimes impart a papery flavor to the food, but it's more likely to break down in the landfill than all those plastic trays and cellophane wrappers tossed in the trash after America's lunch break.

My mom used to stock the freezer with these for kids to heat up on the days we didn't feel like a sandwich for lunch or had to fend for ourselves for dinner. Actually, these mostly ended up as lunch fare -- for dinner, the Marie Callendar's stocks would more likely get tapped. However, those meals have nutritional stats that make you wonder why you're not just picking up takeout from Olive Garden.

Anyway, onward to the review.

Michelina's Lean Gourmet

From Michelinas.comMacaroni & Cheese
I realize the convenience factor here is small, as it's not so difficult to whip up boxed mac and cheese and stuff it in Tupperware. However, when I was a kid, back in the pre-Easy Mac dark ages and less than confident at the stove, Michelina's mac was definitely a freezer favorite. I don't find any of the more expensive frozen mac and cheese dinners to taste at all superior, so if I felt a desire to pack myself a plate for lunch, I bought this. The serving is definitely tiny, but it's only 270 calories and, really, should you be eating more when it's only mac and cheese?

I don't recall ever eating most of the other meals listed on the Lean Gourmet home page. Some look promising, such as this 220-calorie Vegetable Rice Pilaf that looks chock-full of colorful veggies, if the picture is to be believed.

Next week: A frozen delight from the folks at Gardenburger.

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