Healthy, pre-packaged meals put to the test

January 2, 2013 4:11:12 PM PST
It's a new year, and that means a new you! One of your New Year's resolution might be to eat healthy. Healthy, pre-packaged meals are a huge trend in Houston so we talked to a dietician to see what they're really made of and price compared some options. We also talked to a dietician to find out if pre-packaged meals really do offer healthy options.

It's the classic new year's resolution and every dietitian has heard it.

A convenient way to get on a healthy track might be to eat those pre-packaged meals. You have probably seen some of the businesses around town: Snap Kitchen located off Kirby and Richmond, My Fit Foods has several locations; and you can even find a brand called Perfect Fit Meals located exclusively in select Krogers.

"They are just healthy and they are quick and they are easy," shopper Sheri Davidson said.

Each meal is pre-packed and proportioned to fit you needs. Most come in small, medium and large and the prices vary from as little as $3.99 a meal to as much as $12.50, and many stores have dietitians.

"I am giving you the right kinds of food the right amount of the food. It's up to you to create these new habits," dietitian Stephanie Hoban said.

At Kroger, the store's Perfect Fit Meals are available in 27 stores and soon to be in 25 more stores.

"Everywhere from League City up to Willis all the way west to Katy," said Andrew Hsueh with Perfect Fit Meals.

What about price? It does vary. We found a medium size turkey meatloaf at My Fit Food foods for about $8.50. At Snap Kitchen it's $7.75. Breakfast at My Fit Foods starts at five bucks and at Snap Kitchen $4.25.

Overall, we found the best price at Kroger. Breakfast options were $3.99-$4.99 and dinners were no more than $7.99. Take for example, a beef filet meal. At Kroger, it sells for $7.99 but at other places, prices start at $10.

"Because we don't operate any brick or mortar stores, our price are much lower than our competitors to begin with, and because we are in grocery store, you don't pay any sales tax," Hsueh said.

But if you are looking into this type of meal plan, dietitian Sharon Smalling with Memorial Hermann says keep some things in mind.

"Make sure you are looking at the label to make sure this is what you are going to eat," Smalling said. "Depending on if you have an disease states, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension."

Smalling loves the idea of portion control, but in some cases it might be too few calories. Some small lunches are 200 to 300 calories each.

"In all honestly at lunch, that is not enough to get you through dinner," she said.


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