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Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. What's In Your Freezer? Best, Worst Foods


    In case you've missed the many grocery store flyers falling from your daily paper, March is National Frozen Food Month. And although it's a "holiday" created by the people who make and sell frozen foods, today is a great time to take inventory of your freezer and determine ice-covered item by ice-covered item should it stay or should it go now.

    How popular are frozen foods? According to food writer Noemi Gonzalez, "Each year more than $25 billion of frozen foods are sold worldwide. According to statistics done through Slash Foods, 53% of all American households use frozen dinners at some point. Frozen foods are most popular with 18-24 year olds, single people, and people over the age of 75."

    For the past few months, Mr. Bad Food's garage freezer has been stuffed with an ice floe of fantastic frozen foods – the delicious meals that come with my Diet-to-Go Low-Fat Traditional program. But since my wife and kids like to eat too, our kitchen freezer sports a more traditional line-up of frozen foods.

    At our home, you'll routinely find frozen foods like fish sticks, chicken nuggets, breakfast waffles, assorted veggies, pizzas and Hot Pockets. Knowing it's National Frozen Food Month got me wondering how my home staples stack up in the realm of good foods/bad foods.

    So as I tend to do when faced with an assignment involving foods, I turned to my friend Leanne Ely for help. According to the totally non-biased website www.leanneely.com, "Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author and the author of the Saving Dinner series of books. According to Woman's Day magazine, she is the expert on family cooking."

    Upon confronting Leanne, whose head was planted squarely inside my fridge freezer, I couldn't help but ask, “What's an ice girl like you, doing in a place like this?” Okay, so what I really asked was how do my foods rank?

    After thawing out, Leanne carved out the following report on the...

    5 Worst, 5 Best Frozen Foods in Your Fridge

    1) Chests o’ Chicken

    You know the kind I’m talking about—the ever-present, almost always on sale boneless skinless chicken breasts. Yes, you want those.

    2) Veggies Galore

    The frozen food aisle is full of frozen veggies of every kind. A great budget saver, picked at their peak, this is something to stock up on.

    3) Wacky for Waffles

    There are great whole grain, ready to go waffles, even the gluten-free ones for those who need them. A terrific canvas for a swipe of nut butter for a quick breakfast.

    4) Fruitopia

    Bags of berries, peaches, mangoes, pineapple—the makings for a perfect smoothie. I buy these bags by the barrelful and keep my freezer flowing with fruit!

    5) Garlic and Herbs

    A particularly fabulous product—little ice cube-like trays of fresh herbs (cilantro, basil) and garlic and ginger, too. These herbs and garlic are something I always have on hand for convenient cooking. Made by a company called Dorot, check your local grocery store for availability.

    There you have it; five healthy frozen foods, ready to help you eat well. But beware, there are four dangers to be aware of... and a bonus fifth from Mr Bad Food himself.

    1) Mistaken Chicken

    Don’t get the breaded, fried and ready to go stuff that you heat and eat. Read the nutritional info on each pack. Not so bad? Go back and look at it again, this time with what a real serving size would be. Uh huh. See what I mean?

    2) Vicious Veggies

    Oopsie doo on the veggies that are afloat with sauce, goo and cheese! Talk about turning around a good situation for bad! Run, don’t walk. This is a case of veggies gone bad.

    3) Botched Breakfast

    Waffles with a bit of nut butter is one thing; the other breakfast stuff in the freezer section is cause for alarm! You don’t need hundreds of calories, gobs of fat and sugar taking you down before noon. Keep it safe with aforementioned waffles.

    4)Felonious Fruit

    The plain jane stuff is great, highly nutritious and naturally low in sugar (especially the berries). But juice is another thing, even 100% fruit juice. Can be hard on blood sugar levels. If you do juice at all, go EASY. There’s a reason why there is such things called juice glasses—because you don’t need much!

    5) Ay, Caramba!

    Mr. Bad Food warns us of the El Monterey XX Large Chimichanga he encountered while shopping at Wal-Mart. The mushy Spicy Red Hot Beef & Bean XX Large Chimichangas did a Mexican fat dance on his diet – to the tune of 920 calories, 57g of fat (15g saturated;1g trans fat), 40mg cholesterol, 1,140mg sodium, 83g carbs and 22g protein.

    That's it from your friendly Dinner Diva. She's got to go shopping, but urges you to look in your grocery store’s flyer this week for deals in the frozen food aisle because now is the time to stock up!

    Thank you Clarence Birdseye... um, I mean Leanne Ely. I guess I'd give my freezer foods a B grade. For every good food, I have one bad one chilling out alongside it.

    Frozen foods are a great time-saver. Just be sure to set yourself up for dieting success by keeping healthier choices on hand.

    Diet-to-Go chief editor John McGran, a.k.a. Mr. Bad Food, has been a writer/editor for about as long as he's been battling his weight. During his 25 year-career, John has written for several newspapers, tabloids and Web sites. You may recognize his name and style from the seven years he spent writing a Worst of the Worst Foods column as Mr. Bad Food. If you have any topics you'd like John to tackle, feel free to write him at jmcgran@diettogo.com

    *** Diet-to-Go welcomes reproduction of its articles however the articles must be reused in their entirety and with the attribution "Reprinted Courtesy of www.DiettoGo.com"

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