Frozen dinners often get a bad rap because they are typically sodium and saturated fat meal bombs formulated into frozen mac-n-cheese, chicken pot pies and Salisbury steak dinners from words I can’t pronounce and neither of us should be eating. They sell well because they’re cheap, convenient and as many would describe, tasty. So what’s a dietitian to do when she gets eight, free frozen TV dinners delivered to her family’s doorstep? Take a few nights off from cooking, eat a frozen meal out of a box and write about it! EAT! BimBap™ sent me samples following a segment where I taught viewers five top tips for selecting healthier frozen prepared meals.
Frozen Food is Changing
EAT! BimBap™ is capitalizing on consumer demand for cleaner, healthier and more sustainable ingredients that is combined into unique and interesting flavors. The 3 flavor categories are very fresh and global: 1) Asian BimBap 2) Latin La Vida and 3) Traditional 2.0 (I don’t get this name?) favorites. Here’s my dietitian assessment:
- No artificial flavors
- No artificial colors
- No preservatives
- No nitrates or nitrites in their bacon products
- Less than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving.
- 100% natural white meat chicken (natural is not a regulated term. This company interprets it to be minimally processed and nothing artificial.)
- Barley, brown rice, whole grain pasta or roasted red potatoes form a healthier base than traditional white rice and processed pasta counterparts.
- Each meal has a colorful rainbow of 1/2 cup vegetables making it a good and in most cases excellent source of Vitamin A and C.
- I can say all of the ingredients and can find most of them in my kitchen cupboards and refrigerator.
- 12 minutes in the microwave or 25 minutes in the oven, the latter of which is always better in my opinion.
- Light on calories and in some instances fiber which could leave you hungry in a couple of hours. Remedy this by adding an additional 1/2 cup of brown rice, tossing on some chopped nuts or better yet adding a side of mandarin oranges or seasonal fresh fruit.
- In a few instances, the saturated fat content exceeds the <10 percent but that’s for your day’s total so do lighten up at other meals if you choose these flavors.
Bim Bap Korean Inspired Chicken contains 300 calories, 5% saturated fat, 530 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber and 15 grams of protein. Baby corn, edamame, carrots and red peppers are mixed with brown rice and white meat chicken in an amazing Korean sauce that won’t set you back on your sodium intake for the day.
Bim Bap Orange Chicken contains 270 calories, 5% saturated fat, 550 mg of sodium, 3 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein. A zingy citrus sauce tops broccoli, carrots, yellow squash, red peppers and white meat chicken on a bed of brown rice. Enjoy how good citrus chicken tastes when it’s not breaded, deep-fried, frozen and served soggy.
Bim Bap Chicken and Potato Curry contains 250 calories, 12% saturated fat, 490 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber and 14 grams of protein. The coconut curry sauce is a trendy addition to white meat chicken mixed with roasted red potatoes, carrots and peas.
La Vida Tomatillo Chicken contains 240 calories, 8% saturated fat, 450 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber and 14 grams of protein. It’s made with white meat chicken, red and green peppers, corn, black beans in a bed of brown rice with a tasty tomatillo lime sauce. This was by far my favorite, a little sweet and little sour with a alot of color and a very fresh taste.
La Vida Mexican Style Mac N Cheese contains 400 calories, 50% saturated fat, 570 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber and 20 grams of protein. The bacon is uncured which gives you a nitrate, nitrite (cancer causing) free meat. The pasta is whole grain and the poblano and bell peppers give it a nice kick. The bacon and cheese combo load the saturated fat content far beyond the goal of <10% so lighten up the rest of your meals.
Chicken Penne Primavera contains 250 calories, 23% saturated fat, 640 mg sodium, 5 grams fiber and 18 grams of protein. The pasta is again whole grain with carrots, yellow squash, red peppers, broccoli and white meat chicken in a creamy parmesan sauce. Ditto on the above saturated fat recommendation.
2.0 Lemon Herb Chicken contains 270 calories, 13% saturated fat, 710 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber and 13 grams protein. Kale, red peppers and white meat chicken are mixed in a bed of brown rice and lemon herb sauce. This breaks my sodium goal so drink an extra glass of water and add a potassium rich side dish such as mandarin oranges, sliced tomatoes or spinach salad to help you flush out the excess salt.
2.0 Honey Balsamic Chicken contains 300 calories, 5% saturated fat, 360 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber and 14 grams of protein. Sweet potatoes, mushrooms and zucchini are mixed with barley and white meat chicken with a honey balsamic sauce without excess sugar grams.
Bottomline: EAT! BimBap™ combines global flavors and quality ingredients, leaving out the artificial. The nutrition profile while not perfect in every case is built upon whole grains mixed with 1 vegetable serving and a protein source. If you’re short on time, energy or don’t like to cook it’s a healthier reach in your grocery store freezer section. Try it with this downloadable coupon .
Categories: product review