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When a Frozen Dinner is the Better Choice

by Tony Bowling on October 9, 2011

What I have just discovered makes frozen dinners look like nutrition perfection!

"I'm making shepherd's pie. What are you making?''

First of all let’s look at a frozen dinner: At the local Von’s grocery store they sell Stouffer’s “Signature Classics”.  For example, there is the Salisbury Steak. This does not contain any preservative and has more protein than it does carbs or fat — the 360 calorie meal has 25 g of protein. Not bad at all and I very much like that there isn’t any preservative in it.

Now, no one is going to get excited about the nutritional value of a “TV dinner” but if you want a low calorie, low carb meal without preservatives and you are in a hurry this is not a bad choice. Yes I know, freshly cut, home grown, organic salad blessed by the Dalai Lama would be better but not every one has time for that all of the time and when I tell you below about the “fresher” product from the same store you might agree.

The same store has meals that have been prepared but not frozen. They sit in the cooled but not frozen shelves. An example of this is their Shepherd’s Pie. I just assumed (it turns out incorrectly) that this was fresher food because it was not frozen and would not take as much cooking to heat it up.  It just seemed like it would be a better nutritional meal if one wanted a something quick.

A Healthy Comparison

Now before I give you the punch line, I want to give you a comparison: My wife makes an excellent shepherd’s pie (she made me say that). Made with grass feed beef etc. There is always too much for one meal so it gets used for “leftovers” the next day which it is perfect for. If it hasn’t been eaten by the third day I may venture to have some or it gets tossed. We do not keep it beyond that. Now realize our shepherd’s pie is made at home with fresh ingredients and goes straight into the refrigerator and is only kept for up to three days.

 The Punch Line

Here is the punch line:  The above, precooked, Shepherd’s Pie in the store, that is not frozen, stated on the label that it was to be used or frozen by 23 days later. This Shepherd’s Pie, that first of all was cooked and put together at some other location (not frozen) and then  transported to the store, and then after it got to the store was placed on this shelf would be okay to eat for another 23 days! Or you could freeze it after 23 days and then eat it months later — I think I’m gonna barf! 

The only way this food could not be spoilt or go moldy after all that time would be if it contained a lot of preservatives.

The whole presentation of it made it look very appealing and seemingly better for you than frozen food.

I would eat the above frozen Salisbury Steak dinner any time in preference to this non-frozen Shepherd’s Pie. Any day!

For me it was a lesson learned that you have to look beyond the immediate presentation.


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