28 April, 2010

Healthy Frozen Meals: Healthy Choice Pineapple Chicken

Since picking up the task of reviewing Healthy Frozen Meals, I've learned a few things. There are some meals that are better than others, there are some brands that are better than others, and there are some things that just don't lend themselves well to being frozen and put into a "healthy" form. (Dave's look at frozen lasagna proves that.) Over time, 've come to expect a lot from the Healthy Choice meals that I try. The brand is usually pretty good.

And then there's Healthy Choice Pineapple Chicken.

This was one of my least favorite Healthy Choice meals to date, and it's very much due to the chicken and the sauce. As usual, the rice and veggies are done to perfection: slightly crisp red bell peppers that overflow with flavor, carrots that are done so that they don't turn to mush, and rice that's not tough or mushy, but just right. The pineapple is fairly standard processed pineapple chunks, so I don't really have an opinion there.

But the chicken is just like those chicken tenders that you get at the Chinese fast food place up the street - you know, the ones where it's mostly batter and just the slightest hint of chicken within? Think of those with none of the grease, but all of the cardboardy flavor of the Chinese fast food kind, and that's what you get in this Healthy Choice meal.

And the sauce is the worst part yet. The package said that it was in a "sweet" sauce, and boy, that box wasn't kidding. Sweet notes - honey, pineapple juice, sugar - overpower everything in this meal. The ingredients say that there's supposed to be ginger in here, but I can't taste it over the syrupy sweetness of the sauce. In fact, I couldn't taste the veggies over the sauce, either. This was some seriously sickeningly sweet stuff.

In any extensive product line, there are bound to be items that fail to appeal.  This is not a meal that I'd ever contemplate buying again. It was a real shocker for me: until now, I'd only ever had one Healthy Choice meal that I didn't like (that review will be up within the week.) But this was just too overpoweringly sweet for my tastes. Perhaps if the sauce is toned down quite a few notches, I'll consider getting it again, but not before that.  If you've got a strong sweet tooth, though, you might give it a try.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 380 (70 From Fat)
Total Fat: 7g
Sodium: 210mg



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