CedarLane: Frozen Meals for the Health Conscious?

By Ted

cedarlane-frozen-mealsYou may have seen CedarLane on the Today Show, or on Dr. Oz because of their new approach to frozen meals.

Many of us have forever etched on our minds the “TV dinners” of yesteryear.

Those chemical laden, sodium rich meals our parents would pull out of the freezer in a pinch.

I know frozen food has come a long way since then, but CedarLane seeks to set the bar even higher with their line of frozen entrees.

I was sent some free samples to put to the test.

What Makes CedarLane Different?

cedarlane-logoFirst of all, they make all their frozen food with only natural ingredients that can be pronounced when reading the ingredient label.

Their frozen food basically is the same as if you made it yourself and then froze it for later.

They also try to produce something for everyone, offering low calorie, gluten free, and vegetarian as well as traditional varieties.

CedarLane’s line leans towards the Tex-Mex side of the scale, but they also offer some Italian and other world flavors as well.

How Does Healthy Taste?

In the past I’ve found that often frozen dinners marketed to the health conscience are a bit flat in the taste department, so I was curious if CedarLane would follow suit.

I sampled the following 4 items:

Three Layer Enchilada Pie

  • Taste: This was my favorite as I’m a huge enchilada fan. It had authentic flavor and was seasoned well.
  • Nutrition: At first glance I was impressed… 210 calories, 7g of fat, 0g of sugar, 13g of protein and 590mg of sodium, but wait a minute, that was for just one serving! There are two servings, so I had to double the preceding. Still not bad, but now 50% of my daily sodium intake has been reached. I really can’t see anyone eating just half the tray, especially the way it tastes.

ingredients1

CedarLean Broccoli and Cheddar Egg White Frittata

  • Taste: This one is part of their low-cal line and was my least favorite. It was a bit watery and missing a bit of flavor. I imagine texture would have been improved if I had used the oven directions instead of the microwave ones.
  • Nutrition: At just 180 calories, 7g fat, 18g carbs (4g sugar and 5g fiber), and 13g of protein, this frittata is on the light side, but I would need at least 2 of these to feel remotely satisfied.

Stuffed Manicotti

  • Taste: This one was another winner. Good flavor and the filling had a good blend of ricotta and spinach.
  • Nutrition: With all that cheese, the manicotti was higher in fat with 13 grams (7g saturated), but also delivered 380 calories, 45g carbs (9g sugar and 5g fiber), and 21g of protein with just 28% of daily sodium.

Beans, Rice, and Cheese Burrito

  • Taste: I’m not a huge fan of frozen burritos, but this one tasted good. In SoCal I can find fresh ones on about every corner.
  • Nutrition: At 48 grams it was a bit carb heavy, but only had 1g of fat. 260 calories and 13g of protein made up the rest. Definitely healthier than the street corner burrito!

Should You Fill Your Freezer?

While CedarLane is definitely  5 or 6 steps above most of the frozen meals out there, they shouldn’t be your primary source of nutrition.

Both individuals and families need to learn to cook fresh and healthy meals if long term health and/or weight loss is their goal.

However, Cedarlane’s frozen meals are a good choice for a healthy, fast lunch at work, or for a quick dinner option when you’re pressed for time.

Have you tried any of their products?

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