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Celebrity Nutritionist Lisa DeFazio Answers Your Questions!

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Celebrity Nutritionist Lisa DeFazio Answers Your Questions!

Dear Lisa,

What are the pros and cons with eating prepared frozen lean foods? I know they are usually high in salt. I'm a calorie watcher, so calories per serving is what i normally monitor. I'm a big fan of lean cuisines, lean pockets, and the Jimmy Dean lean breakfast sandwiches. Maybe you can make a post speaking to the consumers who purchase those kinds of frozen foods. Thanks!

Cesar

Hello Cesar,

Great question! In a "perfect world" we would only prepare fresh food and avoid processed and frozen food. However, this is not a perfect world! We are busy, we do not have time to cook, some of us hate cooking, and some of us live alone and have to prepare a meal for only one person. There are also those individuals who have so much going on in their lives, that they do not plan meals a few days in advance, or even think about what they will eat until they are actually hungry. That is today's REALITY. After 15 years of experience as a dietitian I have learned that today's consumer wants quick, no fuss ideas to get healthy and lose weight. So, YES! there is a place in your diet for these products, and I keep them in my freezer for last minute meals. They are convenient and will help with weight loss.

So, here is my advice and THE BOTTOM LINE: Think of your sodium intake as a daily budget just like calories. A healthy person should have 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Someone with heart disease or high blood pressure should have 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day. One teaspoon of salt is about 2,000 milligrams of sodium!!! So avoid the salt shaker. When looking at the frozen food labels it is all about your daily budget. The good news is that the "healthier" frozen products like Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers are usually lower in sodium than the regular, traditional frozen products like Marie Calendars and Stouffers.

I also recommend balancing your diet by snacking on fresh fruit throughout the day, and adding some veggies to your meals. I use prepackaged and washed lettuce with a low calorie dressing, or I microwave frozen vegetables and toss with a canola oil spread (I like Smart Balance) and low sodium seasonings like garlic powder or Mrs. Dash.

My approach as a Dietitian is that every person has a different attitude and lifestyle. There is not a "perfect" meal plan that everyone should follow! Guess what, that is OK with me.

– Lisa

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