Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Satisfying Selections: Smart or Not?

Weight Watcher's and Heinz team up to produce Smart Ones, frozen meals that are designed to be used with Weight Watchers PointsPlus or for anyone looking to cut calories, but avoid the kitchen.

I was sent a few coupons to try the new Smart Ones Satisfying Selections. Since we focus on healthy eating, let's see how these low calorie, frozen meals measure up.

I sampled Smart Ones Sesame Chicken, which comes in a single serving bag. It can be heated by placing the whole bag in the microwave or the contents can be placed in a non-stick skillet. An 11.7 ounce serving delivers; 360 Calories, 7 fat grams, 6 grams of fiber, 25 grams of protein, and 49 grams of carbs with 10 of those coming from sugar.

The meal was a satisfying portion and it tasted good. It looked to me like there were less vegetables in the actual product, then were pictured on the package and the chicken was breaded, which was a little soggy. I'm not sure why they went that route since breading only adds calories.

Here's where Smart Ones Sesame Chicken derails a bit. This frozen meal contains over 50 ingredients and while this is largely due to the the breakdown of how each main ingredient is made i.e. noodles, sauce, breaded chicken etc., there are some processed ingredients that we should be aware of.

Wheat- This product is predominately wheat based so people with gluten sensitivity should avoid it.

Sucralose- This product is artificially sweetened. Some people have reported allergic type reactions to this sweetener.

smart-ones-ingredients.gifChicken fat- This ingredient is added for flavor, but it also adds cholesterol and saturated fat.

Soy- Soy sauce, soybeans, soy protein, and soybean oil are used in this product so people with soy allergies should avoid it.

Preservatives- This product does contain preservatives. Potassium lactate and sodium phosphate are both used. Both are generally considered safe, but sodium phosphate is also a drug given to people to empty the colon prior to a colonoscopy.

While the taste of Smart Ones Sesame Chicken and portion size are definitely positive, I think the product could be improved nutritionally. They could use grilled chicken instead of the breaded chicken, which would cut down on processed ingredients and calories. To make up the calories saved by this change, they could add more vegetables to the product to increase its vitamin and fiber content.

Overall, Smart Ones seems to be one of the better frozen meal options available, especially for people following the Weight Watchers program who need some quick lunch or dinner options. However, the majority of their meals should be ones in which they prepare themselves using fresh, wholesome, non-processed ingredients.

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