I should start this off by stating quite clearly that I am not a fan of frozen meals. First of all, the cheaper ones are disgusting. I really don’t know how Banquet manages to stay in business, considering the overall sponge-like qualities of their food and the fact that their chicken nuggets are of the “a chicken walked through the room that these nuggets were made in” variety. Secondly, the more expensive meals are entirely too costly, especially considering the meager portions they generally contain. I’ve too often witnessed friends eating such things as Healthy Choice meals for lunch, often containing as little as 200 calories worth of food. It’s not a healthy choice if you’re starving 2 hours after eating your ‘meal’ and subsequently raiding the vending machine in the break room at work. I mean, if some of these meals are really intended for people trying to watch their weight, shouldn’t they be filled with a giant pile of food, 90% of which is vegetables? There’s also the fact that almost all these meals contain entirely too much salt considering the calorie count. Salt is a preservative, and I expect a high salt content from, say, canned foods. However, the freezer is supposed to do most of the preserving in this case, and so salt is just not nearly as necessary. That is, unless the company is saving money on ingredient costs by using the relatively cheap salt rather then more expensive seasonings.
In any case, I will eat most things if they are free. And so I happened upon a coupon for a free Kashi frozen meal. At a bit over $4.50 a box, these are definitely at the high end of the frozen meal price range. The one I ended up getting was the Lemongrass Coconut Chicken. 300 calories on this baby, which I still think is a bit too low for an entree, and 28% sodium, still a bit high but lower then I’ve seen on other meals.
In any case, here’s how it looked on the packaging:
And here’s how it looked in real life:
The real thing is, of course, not nearly as appetizing as the cover of the box, but part of that can be attributed to it having been all mixed up. Still, it matches more then some other products match their food. Tastewise, it was actually not too bad, considering. Maybe slightly too bland, but that’s probably standard for any sort of mass-produced food. Thing is, while I would eat more of these if they were free, and if I had to choose between this or other frozen meals I would likely choose this, I would still never buy it on my own. With tax, it’s almost $5.00 full price. There is, of course, the argument that this is the cost of not having to prepare food in advance to take for your lunch. Thing is, considering the quantity of food you get (a whopping 300 calories!), you can find a local Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai place and order similar food, pay a bit more then $5.00 (plus delivery charge or your time driving over to pick it up, unless you can find a gullible coworker/spouse to do it for you), and have probably three times the volume of food that this little meal provides. Plus, it would likely taste better.