Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why Frozen Diet Meals SUCK: Elle Noel Favorite Series

Good morning and Happy Wednesday!  Today marks Part 3 of the Elle Noel favorites series! This morning I want to introduce you to Jennifer. I enjoy reading her blog each day for my own personal motivation. Jennifer can describe the battle of the bludge with all the success, joy, and sometimes setback that comes with it,in such a way that has you saying out loud Oh em gee ME TOO!!! She often offers up a new perspective that has me rethinking my own struggles with new ways to approach food and fitness. I LOVE her blog, and I know you will too!

Hello Elle Noel readers! I am Jennifer and I blog over at FatChick2FitChick. I was thrilled when Mrs. Noel herself, asked me to write up a guest post for her blog. I have been reading her blog and following her on Instagram not too long after she started blogging. I love her and her blog because she is so motivating, but mainly because she is so kind and supportive. She truly offers a judgement free zone. With a million and 1 ways to try to lose weight and get healthy and fit out there, there is simply not a one size fits all. I am not going to tell you anything you are doing is wrong. I am going to tell you how I finally conquered
for the most partthe diet yo-yo. Point blank, diets suck. Feeling hungry suckssssssssss! Seeing things like this

80-20-rule images 80-20-diet 80-diet-20-exercise

Only causes more stress and confusion about what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it. I have seriously tried every diet known to man. I have tried to live off of Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice meals, only to be crazy hungry by dinner time and go ape crap crazy eating that night. This constant ebb and flow of hunger and over eating is what led to me weighing in at 332 lbs when I finally had enough. If you over eat a lot, you will have to endure some hunger early on to help your body adjust to a more normal portion size. The good news is that you do not have to stay hungry. You can lose weight and feel sated. I always say sated or satisfied and I never say full. Full equals over-eating to me. I want to feel comfortably sated after a meal, not weighted down and miserable. The way I keep calories under control and not become a starving huddled mess is that eat real food. The less processing that goes into what you eat, the more nutrient dense that food is going to be. When your body is being nourished and given adequate calories, you are not hungry. You do not have a physical need to over eat (although a mental one may exist *raises hand*). Let's compare my lunch from last week with one of those frozen "diet" meals.

photo (21) 

Ingredients: 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast 1/2 cup of brown rice sweet potatoes squash green and red bell peppers onion olive oil This dish is about 16 ounces. That's a big bowl of goodness!
415 calories 10 grams of fat 30 grams of protein and 49 grams of carbs

Now let's look at a similar meal from a frozen entree.

Sweet Potatoes, Water, Green Beans, Cooked Turkey Medallions (Turkey Breast, Water, Isolated Soy Protein Product [Isolated Soy Protein, Modified Food Starch, Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin], Olive Oil, Chicken Broth Powder [Maltodextrin, Chicken Broth, Salt, Flavors], Dextrose, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Potassium and Sodium Phosphates, Spice Extract), Cooked Wild Rice, Honey Granules (Syrup, Honey), Diced Onions, Contains 2% or Less of: Brown Sugar, Chicken Base (Chicken Meat, and Natural Chicken Juices, Salt, Chicken Fat, Sugar, Hydrolyzed [Corn and Wheat Gluten, Soy] Protein, Dried Whey, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavoring, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Natural Extractives of Turmeric and Annatto), Modified Corn Starch, Vinegar, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Xanthan Gum.
This dinner is 10 ounces of food.
250 calories 2 grams of fat 14g of protein and 43 carbohydrates
Here are my two cents comparing these two meals:
  • Ingredients. While the Healthy Choice meal has a less offensive list than a lot of frozen meals that I have seen, I still prefer fewer ingredients, ones that I can pronounce, and ones that I don't need a Chemistry degree or Google to know what it is.
  • Calories. They average out to around 25-26 per ounce for both meals. I just ate about double the amount of food that is included with the HC meal.
  • Fat. This is quite a bit less in the HC meal, but the fats in my meal are part of what helps keep me feeling satisfied. Your body needs fat.
  • Protein. This is about ounce for ounce the same just like the calories. I just get more meat with with my meal and it is not a processed meat with additives.
  • Carbohydrates. My meal has less carbs per ounce. If you were to eat the same amount of the HC meal as my meal the carbs would be 68 for the HC meal and 49 for mine.
  • Taste. I have not had this particular HC meal, but I have had my fair share of these types of meals over the years. I would put my meal up against any of those frozen dinners in a taste test any day of the week.
The additives aside, the frozen diet meals are mostly "diet" because of decreased portions. Portions that too small to prevent some major hunger in the afternoon and dinner time. If you are at all like me, when I get to that point in my day, I am much more likely to opt for take out food and over eat. After that it is hard to stop that locomotive and not keep snacking until you finally roll yourself to bed. No judgement here. I just want you all to know that you can lose weight and not be hungry all the time. There is a way out of that cycle of hunger and over indulgence. It starts with feeding your body good whole foods and enough of them to nourish your body. This took a while for my husband and I to figure out, but I am so thankful that we did. Neither of us has maintained a weight loss, or healthy lifestyle for more than a few weeks before. We have been chugging away and tweaking our eating along the way for over a year now. We finally feel like we have found our stride...that is sustainable, healthy, and includes balanced portions of delicious and nutritious foods. The journey is never perfect and it is never without struggle, but it always about continuously working to be our healthiest and happiest selves.

Thanks to Elle for letting me share this with you and thank you all for taking the time to read it! If you would like to see recipes, read about food prepping, and lots of randomness, be sure to come visit my little corner of the internet!

Find me on FacebookPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitness, and My Fitness Pal!

Daily Motivator


  1. Great post! And she didn't even mention salt content which is always high in the frozen diet dishes... I know I am guilty of eating them from time to time in a crunch, but they really aren't as satisfying as home made... or as healthy... love the post! :)

    1. You are so right Melissa! I totally forgot the salt content. Which is something that I love about making my own seasoning blends. I get to control the salt! Thanks so much!

  2. Love this post! I do keep "healthy" frozen meals on hand for times when I'm in a hurry, but I have to be really desperate to actually eat one. And you're right, I am always still hungry afterwards!!

  3. Good point, Jennifer! Now I'm inspired to go look for healthy meal ideas in the frozen section then recreate them on my own. Never thought to do that.

  4. I was going to add the sodium comment too. I have high blood pressure and if I eat one of those diet meals it makes me sick, literally causing my bp to skyrocket.

  5. Oh I love you both. Now I've said it and we can pretend that's normal. Lol seriously I tell people this and they look at me like I have two heads. You have to eat right you can't just exercise. Oh well!!

  6. I reallt love this kind of blog I can read a lot of stuff I don`t know ...thanks

  7. Nice website and great information that you have shared.Really i like your website.You shared a great information about how to lose weight.Thanks for sharing your website.