by Marianne Plunkert
Overall Rating: 3
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
My lunch on Day 4 consisted of a macaroni and cheese dish topped with a ground beef and turkey mix, with a side of broccoli. The meal came in a 2-compartment plastic tray with the pasta dish on one side and the broccoli on the other.
The instructions indicated that I should heat the meal on high in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. I was also supposed to supplement the entrée with a selection from the fruit food group. I opted for a half of a red grapefruit.
Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Turkey, and Broccoli
My General Impressions
The meal looked considerably more appealing on the dish than it tasted. The green broccoli, red grapefruit, and golden pasta dish made for a colorful plate.
However, while the pasta was cooked to the appropriate level of tenderness, the macaroni was almost tasteless. It looked cheesy enough, but there seemed to be only a subtle cheese flavor—and that was reminiscent of a low-quality cheese product, not real cheese. Frankly, I’ve found better tasting diet macaroni and cheese dishes in the frozen-food section of my grocery store.
I sampled the ground beef and turkey mixture separately, and they, too, seemed bland. The broccoli had a texture that would suggest it was steamed fresh, but, like the rest of the meal, it had no flavor. A sprinkling of lemon zest or lemon pepper would have been welcome.
Only 60 of this entrée’s 250 calories are fat calories, which translates to 24%. It offers a healthy 11 grams of protein, but it is relatively high in total carbohydrates, at 39 grams. Dietary fiber is 3 grams and sugar is 4 grams.
It does have a substantial nutritional value, providing 40% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, 10% of Vitamin A, 15% of calcium, and 10% of the iron requirement. With the dieter-supplied fruit selection, all the food groups are represented: protein (meats), starch (pasta), vegetables (broccoli), fruit (grapefruit), dairy (cheeses), and fat (canola and olive oils).
Perhaps I’ve gotten spoiled, but this is by far the worst eDiets meal thus far. I consider it edible, but no more, and am giving it a “3” on a scale of 1 to 5. Although the macaroni was properly cooked, the cheese sauce and meat topping that accompanied it were both tasteless. The cheese sauce didn’t taste like it contained even a smidgen of real cheese, although there are cheeses listed among the ingredients.
I admit I have never been a fan of macaroni and cheese—even the brand of boxed macaroni and cheese that is so popular today. And this doesn’t come close to tasting nearly that good. As I noted earlier, I have tasted better in the diet frozen food section of my grocery store.
The side of broccoli seemed fresh enough and had a great texture, but it, too, was bland and flavorless. The best part of the meal was the grapefruit half that I provided to augment the meal.
In my mind, there are only two positives about this meal: it appeals to the eye, and it is very filling. So, if you’re really hungry. . .
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