January 6, 2013

How's that Resolution Going? Here's Some Lunch Help!

This is the time of year where we make promises, give up things we love, swear we'll do better this year, etc.  And if you are anything like 90% of the population it only takes a few weeks to start slipping back into old routines...like a donut instead of egg whites in the morning.  I'll be the first to raise my guilty hand and say that while I'm semi-neurotic about what I feed Kayla I wish I put half of the love and thought into what I feed myself but let's be honest, that's usually all reserved for our kids.

Mommy Testers Lean Cuisine Salad Additions from Walmart #BYOL

So as I found myself heating up a burrito the other day because it was faster and easier than making myself a salad I realized that while I made no resolution related to eating, my lunch habits are something to seriously consider.  Later that day, post dissatisfying burrito and while on a mad hunt at Walmart to find Lego Friends toys for Kayla's upcoming birthday I found this.

Mommy Testers Lean Cuisine Salad Additions from Walmart #BYOL

Perhaps I'm not the only one out there who is slacking in the lunch department?  Pretty nifty, right? All of the fancy ingredients that make a salad fun are in the box and all you need to do is get some lettuce to go with it.  Maybe those Lean Cuisine people have been spying on my kitchen activities because these Salad Additions seem like the answer to my formerly pathetic lunch.  

As a self declared skeptic of most things that come frozen and a woman who still insists on buying garlic bulbs, peeling and chopping each piece myself despite the fact I know there are about thirty more convenient alternatives, I gave myself a "keeping it real" challenge.  I bought the Lean Cuisine as well as the ingredients to attempt to replicate the contents of the box so I could irrationally thoughtfully consider the two options.

Mommy Testers home cooked salad ingredients  #BYOL

Replicating the Southwest-style Chicken Salad Additions option involved grilling chicken and peppers.    Those alone took me about 15 minutes to do and I'm not counting clean up time.  If I was making a salad for dinner with my family or friends I would have cooked corn on the cob and cut the kernels off, but I thought that would be getting ridiculous at lunch so I used canned corn and black beans.

After all of this was done I prepped the Lean Cuisine salad which required letting the salad dressing defrost in some hot water and microwaving the portion of chicken, peppers, corn and black beans.  All in, that took about 4 minutes.

Mommy Testers Lean Cuisine Salad Additions comparison  #BYOL

So can you tell which one of these is the salad that took 15 minutes to make and required buying $11.00 of ingredients and which one took 4 minutes and cost $3.40?  It's pretty difficult to tell, but the one on the right is my home cooked salad.

Mommy Testers at home salad  #BYOL

Now for the most important part, how do the two compare?  Let me reveal a little phobia of mine...I am terrified of squishy chicken.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  That little bite that feels squishy or chewy and just ruins the whole meal.  I mostly associated it with canned soups and frozen foods but I've even fallen victim to it on occasion at a nice restaurant we often eat at.

Mommy Testers Lean Cuisine Salad Additions from Walmart #BYOL #cbias

So in all truthfulness I ate around the chicken for the first couple of minutes in the Lean Cuisine salad before going for a bite and found myself surprised and relieved that there was no "squishiness" to be found in any of the bites that followed.  I'm not going to pretend that it was the best chicken I ever ate but it was totally decent and way better than I would expect!

For those of you who are trying to shed some pounds this year I'll let you know,  Lean Cuisine gives you a very generously sized packet of the salad dressing and I used a pretty minimal amount of it   They also give you plenty of tortilla strips which I once again used a minimal amount of because there seemed to be no reason to add so much of the "less good for you" stuff to a salad and it was full of flavor with just a little bit.  

Mommy Testers Lean Cuisine Salad Additions from Walmart #BYOL

Would I buy this again?  Yes, I would.  My fairly small Walmart only had this one flavor but rumor has it there are a bunch to check out.  If you're trying to stay on track and think you want to give these a whirl, there is a nice little coupon available too and all you have to do is #BYOL (bring your own lettuce)

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and NESTLE #CBias #SocialFabric everything you see here is my over the top, obsessively picky opinion.
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