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Three from Healthy Choice

Four Cheese Manicotti
Grilled Turkey
Breaded Chicken

Overall, Healthy Choice does not come up well in Dr. Gourmet reviews. Immensely popular as these meals are, they just seldom seem to get it right. Some of their ideas are gimmicky and turn out badly, like the steamer bowls and Fresh Mixers line, yet even when they do good old fashioned TV dinners they can't get it right. The last review was pretty terrible. But here at Dr. Gourmet we eat the bad food so you don't have to.

The Four Cheese Manicotti has pretty good flavor. The tomato sauce is not too sweet or overly herbed and the cheese filling is pleasant. Unfortunately the pasta surrounding the cheese is almost too tough to eat. This is served with a side of broccoli. Usually this is something that they do well but the flowerets are bland and come out overcooked. The dessert is an "apple crisp" which is certainly not crisp at all and so sweet it is almost inedible.

I was pretty happy to see the Grilled Turkey Breast meal because it is served with roasted sweet potatoes. This is the first time I have seen sweet potatoes in a frozen meal and this adds to the 8 grams of fiber in the dish. Overall this is an OK meal. The turkey is not grilled (and could be chicken for the way it looks and tastes). It is served in a light cranberry sauce (complete with a few cranberries) that's not bad. The sweet potatoes are good and not overcooked. Green beans are the veggie in this one and they too are pretty good. Unfortunately, it comes with the not so crisp apple crisp. Still, this is a pretty good meal with great numbers (280 calories, 410 mg sodium and 8 grams of fiber).

I am always dubious of frozen breaded chicken or fish and the Country Breaded Chicken was a little bit of a surprise. Not great but OK, the dish has two small manufactured chicken patties that are breaded with a peppery coating. The mashed potatoes predictably taste as if they come out of a box, but the corn side dish is OK. The cherry dessert is much like the apple crisp, cloyingly sweet and not the least bit "crisp."

None of these is a great meal, but none is as awful as most Healthy Choice we've tasted. Any one of the three is better than almost any fast food you can buy, however. These all have that TV dinner flavor, but compared to the choices at McDonalds or Wendy's, you're far better off choosing Healthy Choice. If you were going to feed these to your kids instead of the Amy's Kids Meals, they would thank you for it.

They are certainly healthier than fast food, but interestingly these were really economical. Each of them was only $2.00 at Wal~Mart. Compared to what you would spend on terrible food at McDonalds or the nearby Chinese restaurant for lunch, you're far better off taking these to work with you.

Reviewed: January 16, 2009