Consumer Reports: Quick and healthy supermarket meals

March 6, 2012 5:10:51 AM PST
Feeling desperate for a quick and easy way to get a relatively healthy dinner on the table? Consumer Reports says look no further than your supermarket freezer.

Consumer Reports tested several healthy choices that will keep your family and your pocketbook happy.

In this time-starved world, it's hard to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at night, but that doesn't mean you have to go hungry.

Consumer Reports evaluated 19 frozen convenience meals from brands like Contessa, Birds Eye and Stouffer's.

All of them could be prepared in under 20 minutes, either in a stovetop skillet or a microwave.

"Most of the meals we looked at were complete, with chicken or shrimp, vegetables, and usually pasta or rice," Consumer Reports Ellen Klosz said.

But are they meals you'd enjoy?

Trained sensory panelists at Consumer Reports evaluated them for both taste and nutrition.

"There were many good, healthy choices, but it's important to check the nutrition label, because there were some meals that were high in fat and sodium," Klosz said.

But don't despair. Consumer Reports found lots of quick, tasty options for the time-strapped or kitchen-challenged.

For one, the Contessa sesame chicken is a Consumer Reports best buy for around $2.50 a serving. It scored very good for both taste and nutrition, with fresh-tasting vegetables and tender chicken.

For even less, another good choice is Birds Eye voila chicken florentine. It has firm penne pasta and fresh-tasting spinach and yellow squash. It costs just a $1.28 per serving.

Either would be a good alternative to take out.

Consumer Reports' tests show the quality of all-in-one meals can vary within a brand.

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