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All-Natural Frozen Meals, Plus Burrito Tips 'n Tricks!
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All-Natural Frozen Meals, Plus Burrito Tips 'n Tricks!

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08.14.13
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Dear Hungry Girl,

I love the convenience of frozen meals, but I prefer to keep things on the natural side. Anything good out there that's both natural and diet-friendly?

All-Natural Natalie

Hi Natalie,

Guilt-free freezer-aisle finds are great when you don't have much time or energy to cook something. But finding ones that are also natural can be a bit of a challenge. You're in luck, though, because I've discovered many great picks over the years...

Kashi definitely leads the pack in the all-natural arena. There are steam-in-the-bag entrées, like the incredibly delicious Sesame Chicken meal, which has 300 calories and 9g fat (PointsPlus® value 8*). Some of those steamy entrées serve two, by the way, but the Sesame Chicken is a single-serve find. And an HG favorite from way back is the Mayan Harvest Bake. Plantains, black beans, sweet potato, kale... Words cannot describe its fantasticness! That one has 340 calories and 9g fat (PointsPlus® value 9*). I also love Kashi's thin-crust pizzas. The BBQ Recipe Chicken is amazing. A third of that pie has 240 calories and 7g fat (PointsPlus® value 6*).

Lean Cuisine has always been a fixture in the guilt-free section of the freezer aisle, and now LC has a natural line called Honestly Good. It's packed with yummy options like Roasted Red Pepper Chicken (270 calories, 7g fat, PointsPlus® value 7*) and Pineapple Black Pepper Beef (320 calories, 8g fat, PointsPlus® value 8*). I especially like that the sauces are packed separately, so you can add as much or as little as you like!

Newman's Own Complete Skillet Meals for Two are a fun change from the usual microwaveable meals. There are some great picks, but not all are impressive in the calorie and fat departments. Stick with the Beef & Broccoli, Beef Bolognese with Pasta, Chicken Florentine & Farfalle, Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Lo Mein Noodles, and Garlic Chicken, Vegetables & Farfalle. Each of these has 250 - 390 calories and 6 - 11g fat for half of the 2-serving package (PointsPlus® value 6 - 10*).

Last but not least, check out Healthy Choice 100% Natural Café Steamers. This line has delicious stuff like Asian Potstickers (360 calories, 5g fat, PointsPlus® value 9*) and Tortellini Primavera Parmesan (230 calories, 5g fat, PointsPlus® value 6*). That tortellini meal makes a GREAT base if you like to supersize your frozen meals. (I sure do!) Add some steamed broccoli or broccoli cole slaw. Heads up: Not all the Café Steamers are natural, so make sure to grab the ones in the beige boxes marked 100% Natural.

There you have it. For more great picks, check out HG's Mega-List of Natural Market Finds!

Hi HG,

I really like your El Pollo Loco burrito swap! Do you have any advice for when I do go to burrito places? Is there anything I can get there that's guilt-free?

Burrito Benny

Hey Benny,

So glad you're enjoying the Hungry Chick Avocado Burrito... I love it too! When you're out and about, though, burritos can be tricky. The tortilla alone is usually gigantic and fattening... In the case of our El Pollo Loco swap, the original burrito's tortilla packs 320 calories and TEN fat grams. But if you can't resist the call of burritos, here are my top tips to slim 'em down...

Always go for lean protein, like white-meat chicken. Beef and pork are a lot less likely to be diet-friendly. And don't assume veggie burritos are automatically guilt-free. They can be loaded with too much avocado and cheese, which can cause calorie and fat counts to skyrocket. Chipotle has been test-marketing a new tofu option, Sofritas, which isn't too bad in the stats department. And when it comes to beans, black beans and pintos are better choices than refried beans.

Definitely skip the rice. You've already got enough carby calories from that tortilla! Instead, load up on veggies, like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce. On the condiment side, avoid creamy sauces and sour cream... Go for salsa instead. It's a good idea to nix the cheese and guacamole as well.

If you really wanna slash the stats on your burrito, ditch the tortilla and go for a burrito BOWL. Even if it's not on the menu, there's a good chance the place will serve you a tortilla-free burrito over shredded lettuce. You'll save soooooo many calories this way! And if you want rice in that bowl, brown rice is the way to go, since it's high in filling fiber. Just watch the portion size. Half a cup of brown rice has about 110 calories.

Possibly the best advice I can give is to check the menus online BEFORE you head out. Even the most innocent-sounding burrito can be a complete fat-tastrophe. I LOVE that Chipotle's website allows you to customize your order and see the stats change as you do it... So helpful!

Click here for more at-home burrito swaps. My favorite tortillas for these are made by La Tortilla Factory -- the Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber Large Tortillas and 100 Calorie Tortillas ROCK. And if you own HUNGRY GIRL TO THE MAX! (or have a pal who will loan it to you), definitely check out the Snazzy Smothered Veggie Burritos. SO GOOD!

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CHEW ON THIS:

Today, August 14th, is National Creamsicle Day. Those of the legal drinking age can celebrate with an Orange Creamsicle Martini. And everyone can partake in this Dreamsicle Shiver!

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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