Atkins has had their bars and shakes out for a while, but as far as an easy,microwavable meal for the low-carb dieters, there really hasn’t been much. Lean Cuisine has one entree that’s low-carb (steak tips portobello) but it’s a relatively untapped market. Finally Atkins has filled this niche with their microwaveable frozen entrees. My husband, who has been on the Ketosis diet for 6 months now, has long-awaited a frozen entree that he would be able to prepare easily at work, but fills him up in a way the Lean Cuisine didn’t.
The Atkins frozen entrees were found in the freezer aisle, near the Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and Smart Ones frozen entrees. My local Kroger has only gotten in 5 varieties of Atkins frozen meals so far. At $3.29 for the breakfast portions and $3.99 for the lunch/dinner portions, it was a bit more expensive than most of the other frozen entrees. Luckily I’ve been saving my coupons from the Atkins bar boxes, so I was able to save a dollar off one.
The local Wal-Mart had about 8 different kinds, and at $3.48 they’re a bit cheaper than at Kroger. However I don’t really get around to Wal-Mart very much, as it’s further away from me than any of the nearby grocery stores. I’m hoping other grocery stores like Food Lion and Harris Teeter will start carrying the Atkins frozen meals soon.
Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo
The portion size seemed good for lunch, 330 calories and 26g of protein, enough to fill me up until dinner. The chicken is much better than the chicken I find in Lean Cuisine entrees, as it seemed less processed and more like actual chicken meat. The broccoli florets came out perfectly cooked, not mushy. I found one large, long stem, but the rest was all nice, green florets. Overall the flavor was very good, but it was noticeably salty. I looked on the nutritional information and it said there was 1070 mg of sodium, 45% of your daily amount. I think they would have been fine cutting the amount of sodium in half, since the broccoli and chicken seemed good quality and flavorful. I hope in the future they are able to cut down the sodium levels in their frozen entrees, as my husband has tried a few more than I have at this point, and says it’s a consistent problem.
Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
The Crustless Chicken Pot Pie wasn’t as salty as the Chicken Alfredo, but at 880 mg of sodium it was still pretty salty. I didn’t really like the flavor of the cream sauce, as it was fairly bland. It seems they replaced potatoes in this dish with cauliflower, and I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower. The chicken was good, but with as much cauliflower as there was, I probably wouldn’t get this entree again.
Farmhouse-Style Sausage Scramble
At 370 calories, this seemed a bit heavy for breakfast, so I ate it for lunch instead. This is my least favorite of the Atkin’s entrees I’ve tried so far. Again, it’s far too salty, and at 43% of your daily sodium allowance you can’t even eat 3 Atkins frozen entrees a day without totally overdoing the salt. The peppers were mushy, the eggs and cheese were rubbery, and I would never eat it again.
The Beef Merlot is probably one of my favorites so far, since the cuts of beef are very tender and the sauce is so flavorful. It’s still on the salty side, but at least it doesn’t have as much salt as the Chicken Alfredo or the Farmhouse Scramble. Because of the 6 minute total cooking time, the broccoli came out more mushy than it was in the other chicken dishes I’ve tried. Also, because the beef is so fatty, the portion size seemed really small compared to the chicken dishes. At 310 calories I should have felt more full, but I felt like I didn’t really eat a full meal with this one.
Meatloaf with Portobello Mushroom Gravy
The meatloaf meal smells strongly like dogfood and didn’t come out looking very appetizing. Thankfully the meatloaf didn’t taste as bad as it smelled, and I still liked it better than the Farmhouse Scramble. The sodium level in this entree is a bit lower than the other Atkins meals, with only 640mg, 27% of your daily allowance. So at least with this one, you could eat 3 a day and not go over. I didn’t particularly like the veggies in this one, as they came out pretty overcooked. I don’t like cauliflower or zucchini much to begin with, so being cooked to mush made them even more unappetizing. The green beans were almost non-existant; I think I found 3 and they were terribly overcooked. My husband said this was his least favorite of all the Atkins frozen meals we’ve tried so far, so we probably won’t get it again.
Roast Turkey Tenders with Herb Pan Gravy
The Atkins turkey meal is similar to the one Lean Cuisine makes, except the turkey portion in the Atkins is significantly larger, and Atkins doesn’t have the cranberries in their green beans. Because this frozen entree is only cooked for a total of 5 minutes instead of 6 like some of the others, the green beans don’t come out overly rubbery or mushy. The red pepper pieces don’t really seem to add anything to the dish though. I’m wondering if they could put some small, unsweetened pieces of cranberries instead of red peppers, if that could add some flavor without adding too many carbs. The cuts of turkey were decent, very similar to the ones in Lean Cuisine. Overall it seemed like a decent meal, and even though it had 35% of your daily salt intake, it didn’t seem overly salty like some of the other entrees. Maybe I’m just getting used to really salty meals. I’d probably get this one again; I like turkey and it was more filling than the Lean Cuisine version.
Italian Sausage Primavera
I actually liked this one quite a bit, and I don’t normally eat a whole lot of sausage or cauliflower. The cauliflower seemed better suited for this dish, and the other veggies didn’t get to mushy either. The sausage was a bit greasy, but it had a lot of good spices in it. The Romano cheese sauce was also quite flavorful, and complimented the sausage and vegetables well. It’s a bit lower on protein and higher in fat than some of the other entrees, but if you’re on the Keto diet that shouldn’t matter much to you. The sodium levels in this one were still quite high, 38% of the average adult’s intake, and I think they could take away some of that salt and it’d still be a flavorful entree.
I had low expectations with this one after trying the Farmhouse Scramble. I think reheated eggs are just going to be hard or rubbery no matter what. This one had a better smell coming out of the microwave though, like spicy peppers and sausage. I liked the sausage in this one, and the meal did end up having a slightly better flavor than the Farmhouse Scramble. Unfortunately the egg texture is just unredeemable. This entree is also one of the highest in sodium I’ve ever seen, with 1150mg of sodium (48% of your daily intake). Additionally it has 420mg cholesterol, 140% of your daily intake. I’m in pretty good shape now and I’m sure one entree isn’t going to kill me, but the fact that they are putting this entree out for dieters out there, who probably have problems with cholesterol or sodium, is just plain irresponsible. Atkins should be ashamed of themselves for allowing it to get past the R&D phase.
So far the Atkins frozen meals are just plain hard to find, as they only seem to sell them at Wal-Mart and one Kroger that I’ve seen. Their price point is a bit higher than Lean Cuisine, putting them at a disadvantage. I think unless someone is on the Atkins or Ketosis diets, they would probably go for something cheaper. Additionally, the high salt in nearly all of these meals is just adding fuel to the opinion that the low-carb diet is unhealthy. These entrees really didn’t need that much salt in them, and the cholesterol in the single Tex-Mex Scramble was just obscene.
I’d like for Atkins to ditch the eggs, since they’re never going to turn out well reheated, and instead focus on some other light meat entrees with veggies on the side. I’d love to see an entree that’s mostly brocolli, with some cubed ham and a bit of cheese sauce. Or maybe some fish entrees, like miso salmon with edamame, or tilapia with grilled peppers and onions. I think they should also try hard to keep the sodium levels for each entree below 33% of your daily recommended values. It’s really in their best interest to keep the entrees healthy enough for their customers to safely consume 3 frozen meals a day.
Tags: atkins, food, frozen entrees, frozen meals, Reviews