Friday, July 20, 2012

Food Friday: Lunch lately (+giveaway of sorts)

To say July has been busy might be the understatement of this summer.

We went to Boulder to visit baby Zoe.

We celebrated Miles' first birthday.

There was a little trip to New York.

The fabulous Kelly Benton took Miles' 1-year photos the same weekend that we went to the zoo, the Three Rivers Festival and hung out with my brother, who was in town for a convention.

This weekend, I will head to Cincinnati to see my best girlfriend and next weekend Mark and I are hoping to squeeze in a date night.

While I would like to think I can do it all - be a jet-setter, runner, mom and healthy eater - it's just not possible. Something has got to give, and this month what gave was my meal prep for lunch.

In my ideal world, I plan my lunches a week out and buy any ingredients I need during my weekly grocery trip. I prefer to make one big dish that I can portion out but sandwiches and wraps are a nice change of pace, as well.

I have been stressed trying to find dinner ideas and so I forwent planning, much less prepping, lunch in favor of meals at the hospital, leftovers and whatever else came my way.

Thankfully, the folks at Quorn came to my rescue.

The company that makes all-natural, meat-free frozen foods recently launched a line of frozen entrees and offered me the chance to try them.

About the new entrees:
Perfect for the on-the-go family, a working lunch, or a quick snack, Quorn’s entrées are the meatless alternative we’ve been waiting for. The all-natural, mycoprotein-based entrées satisfy vegetarians and meat-lovers alike as they are an excellent source of protein and fiber but have less fat and fewer calories than their meat-based rivals. The ready to serve meatless Entrées: Kung Pao Chik’n, Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs and Chilli, will be available nationally in natural food stores and in the natural food section of selected mass retailers. The burritos, Chik’n & Tomato Roasted Corn Salsa and Chipotle Lime Chik’n & Bean, will be available nationally in natural food stores and in the natural food section of selected mass retailers  
I was sent one of each new entree and happily gobbled them up when going out wasn't in the budget and Mark ate the leftovers.

What I thought:

Anytime I try something new, especially something with faux meat, my first bite is always with a bit of trepidation. How fake is it going to taste? Is it going to taste too healthy?

The answer to those questions was not fake and not healthy - in a good way, of course. I really enjoyed just how much flavor the entrees had. The Kung Pao Chik’n, Chilli and the burritos had a lot of kick, and the Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs was filled with herbs. My favorite was probably the chili, especially topped with a bit of cheese and plain Greek yogurt.

The portion sizes are what you would expect with a frozen meal, especially those with less than 300 calories. While they are protein-packed (a good thing!), I had to supplement them with a little extra. A corn VitaTop with the chili, salad with the spaghetti and soup with the burritos. It does sort of take away from the ease of a grab-and-go meal but I always take a BAG of food to work so it was no biggie to me.

My one complaint about the entrees lies with the burritos. The burritos are hefty in calories, to me at least, coming in close to 400. I try to keep my entire lunch to 400 calories and supplementing it with soup and a small treat, I went well over my daily budget. The products are full of natural ingredients and the spaghetti featured wheat noodles but I think the burritos may have been white flour. I like white flour tortillas but part of me expected wheat.

Final thoughts:

I would definitely eat these again, especially if they were on sale as the entrees have a suggested retail price of $4.99. I sometimes feel guilty eating processed frozen meals but I felt good about the Quorn products. The company touts using all natural ingredients, and I could see chunks of vegetable in the burritos and liked the wheat spaghetti noodles. They were high in fiber and protein, low in fat and reasonable in calories.

Of course, you don't have to believe me.

The folks at Quorn were kind enough to share the love with y'all and sent me some coupons. OK, not just some - a lot. I have 25 envelopes sealed, stamped and return addresses on them, each with two coupons for a free Quorn product and four $1 off any Quorn product coupons.

Want me to send you one? I'll make it easy on you ... sort of. Email me at hlthystrides at gmail dot com, sharing with me which entree you'd most like to try and your address. The first 25 to send an email get an envelope.