Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews
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Generally speaking, we don't review breakfast foods here at Dr. Gourmet. I've made just a couple of exceptions: first because a patient told me that she liked to eat frozen waffles for breakfast, and the second, also waffles, after I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and wanted to make sure that those with gluten allergies had healthy wheat-free waffle options.
Recently a patient asked me why we don't review breakfast foods. It's a fair question: we review convenience foods not because I want to encourage people to think of them as healthy, but because I recognize that people do eat them and want to steer them toward the best, healthiest options. (It's the same reason we publish our guides to Eating Healthy at Fast Food Restaurants.) I've avoided reviewing breakfast foods because, well, if you have the time to heat up and eat something for breakfast, you have the time to pour a bowl of cereal, which is going to be cheaper and better for you. "Honestly," I told her, "I just don't want to open up that can of worms."
She did, however, convince me to review her two breakfast favorites - mostly by telling me that she likes to eat them for lunch. Fair enough, Jackie: this one's for you.
The first meal we reviewed is Amy's Tofu Scramble (320 calories, 580 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams fiber). (Amy's Kitchen does not use eggs in any of their products.) This is tofu scrambled with vegetables, with a side of hash browns and cooked tomato slices. Other than being made with tofu and not eggs, this sounds like something you might get at a health-conscious breakfast restaurant.
The reality is nearly as good: the tofu is mixed with diced spinach and zucchini, thinly sliced carrots, and sliced mushrooms. It's savory, light, and flavorful, and the mild flavor of the tofu (yes, tofu has flavor) comes through the bitter spinach and the umami mushrooms just as the light flavor of eggs would. The down side of this dish, unfortunately, is what comes with the scramble: the hash browns are so finely grated that heating them effectively turns them into mashed potatoes (although still with a good, buttery flavor), and the tomato slices lose all semblance of anything containing texture. The tofu scramble is so good, however, that this still gets a thumbs up. It would make a great dinner with a side salad in place of the ghastly tomatoes.
After that promising start, we turned to the Mexican Tofu Scramble. This has rather more sodium than we like to see in a frozen meal, at 680 milligrams, but with 400 calories and 6 grams of fiber it's still acceptable. This time the tofu is scrambled with sweet corn and mild green peppers and topped with a ranchero sauce (you might know it as "enchilada sauce:" essentially a tomato-based sauce spiced with chilies and a touch of cumin). Although I don't necessarily agree with my wife's long-held belief that almost everything is better with enchilada sauce, this is a great way to cook tofu. The sweetness of the corn complements the mild tofu and the green peppers add just a little bite.
The side of black beans this meal comes with are really good - the cumin and lime juice come through nicely and they have an overall creamy texture punctuated with whole black beans. The miniature corn tortilla the tofu is mounded on gets a bit tough around the edges, but that's to be expected. What's not expected is the roasted potatoes, which are again overcooked - this time turning them tough, chewy, and after cooling just a couple of minutes, nearly inedible. Once again, we'll give this one a thumbs up because the majority of the meal is so good. This would also make a great dinner with a salad. (Just ignore the potatoes.)
If you have a favorite meal - lunch, dinner, or breakfast - that we haven't reviewed, tell us about it by sending us an email or putting it in the comments. If it meets our criteria for calories, sodium, and fiber (and we can find it!), we'll review it. Share your recommendations.
Reviewed: January 24, 2014