Favorite Frozen Meals: South Beach Living (and More from Kraft)

January 13, 2008 at 9:43 am 13 comments

Thank you for reading my reviews of South Beach Living and other Kraft products. Please keep in mind that these reviews were written quite a while ago, so the products featured may no longer exist. I am not affiliated with Kraft or any grocer, so I don’t know what is still available. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you find products that have vanished from your local supermarket. To find more recent information or to find a product, please visit Kraft’s web site or talk to the manager of your local grocery store. Local managers are the ones who can decide what products to carry in the store, and they value customer input.

Visit Pennies & Pounds for a revised and updated version of this South Beach Living article, along with more posts on weight loss and healthy eating on a budget!

Kraft changed the name just recently for its line of packaged foods that follow the South Beach Diet guidelines, reflecting a growing anti-“diet” trend in America. Weight Watchers (another brand we’ll be visiting in this series) is telling all who’ll listen that they’re not a diet, and Jenny Craig has signed up Queen Latifah to lose a few pounds as part of their new health-improvement advertising message.

So South Beach Living it is. I’m branching out a bit in my favorites today, though. The truth is, the few South Beach frozen meals I tried back in my school-going days were abysmal. Looking at the products listed on Kraft’s site, I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in that opinion, as a lot of the products have changed or been pushed aside by new entrées. I won’t condemn the new ones flavors untasted, but I wouldn’t load up my freezer before testing how weird-tasting the chicken is now.

So, I present my favorite meal in their refrigerated line instead. Don’t take my endorsement of only one as a knock on the others, though — I just was obsessed with this particular one so much that I never really got my teeth into the rest.

South Beach Living

From Kraftfoods.com Sesame Chicken Wrap Sandwich Kit

How good is this refrigerated meal kit? I was so obsessed that I actually bought the ingredients separately and started making these wraps myself. I needed to, anyway — the grocery store where I shopped was almost always out of this particular Asian-themed variety. I’d walk up to the cooler case, note the label on the shelf, look into the gaping hole, and (just in case) stick my hand in to see if there might be some goodness hiding in the back. Obviously, these weren’t just popular with me.

These Lunchable-like kits contain two whole-wheat mini tortillas, a packet of cooked chicken pieces, whole-wheat crunchy noodles, and yummy Mandarin orange and sesame dressing to make the wraps, along with a little cup of sugar-free gelatin for dessert. That dressing introduced me to the low-calorie wonders of Asian-flavored vinaigrettes, which I used to make my own knockoff version when, sadly, these were out of stock.

Note that this 220-calorie pack has got to be the smallest of the small when it comes to packaged meals. You get two wraps, true, but they are tiny. Bring an apple, banana, something or you will faint before you leave work. Even when I used to have those cheese-and-cracker Lunchables packed in my bag as a kid, my mom supplemented with other healthy foods.

Other Kraft Refrigerated Meals

Since I don’t have much to write about in the South Beach line, I thought I’d take this opportunity to recommend a few other reasonable refrigerated lunch kits I enjoy.

An advantage to these refrigerated kits is that they don’t require much prep time. Some frozen meals require a third or more of your half-hour lunch bread to heat up, which is killer on days when perhaps you did not run out the door with breakfast in the belly.

From Kraftfoods.com Lunchables Maxed Out Chicken Strips

OK, so some kid habits I’ve never quite outgrown. Though I find the packaging has become somewhat obnoxious, the meal offerings in the Lunchables line have evolved in ways both good and bad since I was a kid and your choices were either turkey or ham with your cheese and crackers.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed cold chicken fingers. You could always pack a few homemade ones, I suppose, but I generally bought these kind of meals for the convenience. The calories are kind of hefty at 480 per box, but if you ditch the sugary Kool-Aid packet they want you to mix into the spring water and the candy, it’s not so bad for you. Again — bring a healthy supplement to ward off hunger pangs.

From Kraftfoods.comLunchables Mini Tacos

You might have let me slide on the cold chicken fingers thing, but now I’m sure you must think I’ve gone off the deep end. Cold beef taco filling?!

Give it a chance, that’s all I can say. The spicy flavor makes up for the weird appearance. And they’re cute!

Kraft labels this box as a “Sensible Solution.” I think it would be more sensible if you pawned the candy off on a little kid to knock off a few of those 450 calories, but it’s not as bad as a Jack in the Box run. But keep in mind, these are mini tacos.

From Kraftfoods.comOscar Mayer Deli Creations Steakhouse Cheddar

I got a coupon in the mail for a free one of these sandwiches, but had the school year not been at a close or nearly so by then, I likely would have bought a few more of these tasty sandwich kits. The size of the meal is a good deal more satisfying than any of the other choices on this page, though you might still want a piece of fruit if you’re a hearty eater and can stand to consume more than 450 calories for lunch.

Well, you could always leave off the mayo to slim it down — trust me, the sandwich doesn’t need it, what with the tangy steak sauce also provided. That sauce makes this sort of like a spicy cheesesteak. It’s good stuff.

From Kraftfoods.comOscar Mayer Beef Fast Franks

Oscar Mayer has somehow figured out how to microwave bread without turning it into a rock, between the Deli Creations and these Fast Franks. These are nothing more or less than a hot dog on a bun, but they’re a hot, convenient, and satisfying meal for only 300 calories. Of course, there’s no need to stop with the hot dog alone — I always top mine with lots of low-cal additions, such as spicy mustard, a dill pickle wedge, and chopped onions. Mmm . . .

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Favorite Frozen Meals: Healthy Choice New Diet Book Highlights

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. shop  |  January 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    thank you for share good information for product review.

    Reply
  • 2. Janet Mayorga  |  March 17, 2008 at 3:15 am

    I like the South Beach Dinners very much however the last time I bought them I got two of Caprese style chicken that had no chicken, only south. I was very disappointed. I spoke to my daughter and she also has had some dinners missing items. When the chicken is missing that is almost the whole meal.
    You need to do something about your quality assurance inspections.
    I hope you correct this problem as I would not continue to buy these products if it happens again.
    Thankyou for investigating and correcting this problem.
    Janet Mayorga

    Reply
  • 3. Colleen  |  March 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I’m sorry your meal was unsatisfactory. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Caprese version myself. Please remember that I’m only reviewing the meals here — I don’t work for Kraft and thus cannot do anything to improve the quality of the products myself. If I could, I would, certainly — the South Beach frozen meals I have tried generally weren’t much good! Please send your complaints to Kraft: http://www.kraftfoods.com

    Reply
  • 4. Tysa  |  April 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    If you think the meals are tiny then the diet obviously isn’t working for you or you aren’t eating it the correct way. It’s designed to retrain your stomach to where you get full quicker. Portion control is very important in any diet. And I’m glad they changed the name from South Beach Diet to South Beach Living because it IS a way of living. I have been on the South Beach diet/living for the past three years and I have lost over sixty pounds, ten inches or more, and almost five sizes. I combine it with eating organic food(South Beach friendly) and even when I cheat, it’s easy to get back in the South Beach routine. I love it!!!

    Reply
  • 5. Colleen  |  April 24, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I’m glad South Beach is working for you. I want to clarify that it’s the processed Kraft South Beach meals that are tiny, not South Beach-inspired meals in general. If you prepare a meal based on the principles of the South Beach Diet yourself it’s not going to be too small to fill you up, especially since South Beach doesn’t focus on calorie counting so much as choosing the right foods. However, Kraft’s line of foods are intended for convenience eaters. They are prepackaged in whatever portion could allow Kraft to have attractive stats on the nutrition label. Being heavily processed foods, they just are more calorie dense than fresh foods. Processed foods need additional fat and salt to taste good after so long on the shelf. Anyway, I’m just trying to illuminate why packaged meals are smaller than normal South Beach meals and would need to be supplemented by a diet-friendly side dish, such as fruit or a salad, to make you feel satisfied.

    Reply
  • 6. Elaine Kitchens  |  September 29, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I am having a tough time finding the SB frozen meals at Ingles and also WalMart.
    Does this mean you will not be making the frozen mals anymore. If not, are they going to be replace with something else?

    If you are continuing to make them….what stores carry them?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • 7. Colleen  |  September 30, 2008 at 1:39 am

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble finding South Beach meals. Kraft’s web site for South Beach seems to indicate that they still make the meals. Check it out: http://brands.kraftfoods.com/SouthBeachLiving//CMS_Templates/IFrame_Template.aspx

    If you are having trouble with those stores, I would ask a clerk or manager how to request that the store stock the products you want. Usually there’s a form you can fill out to make a formal request. Stores use this input when deciding what to order. Good luck!

    Reply
  • 8. Michele henderson  |  September 5, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I have not been able to find the frozen dinners anywhere. I was wondering if they are no longer available. They were so good, especially the pizzas. Please let me know where I can find them again.Thanks

    Reply
  • 10. Debbie Brown  |  October 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I used to enjoy the peperoni pizza in the south beach diet dinners but i have been unable to find them anywhere can you help me with this.

    Reply
    • 11. Colleen  |  October 24, 2009 at 8:01 pm

      I’m not affiliated with Kraft, the makers of South Beach Living products. You need to either contact them, or talk to a manager at your local grocery store.

      Check with the manufacturer at the site http://brands.kraftfoods.com/SouthBeachLiving/sbl/

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  • 12. ilva mcbrayer  |  March 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I AM TRYING EVERYWHERE TO FIND THE KRAFT WRAPS, FROM SOUTH BEACH LIVING AND NO ONE CARRIES THOSE ANYMORE, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WITH THIS PRODUCT, ?..I LOST 20 LBS LAST YEAR ON THIS FOOD, AND I ONLY USED IT FOR MY LUNCH. IT WAS CHICKEN AND CHEESE, RANCH DRESSING AND 2 WHEAT TORTILLAS, THEY WILL FILL YOU UP, I WASNT HUNGRY AT DINNER AT ALL. I HAVE TRIED KRFT WEBSITE BUT THEY DO NOT SHOW THIS PRODUCT, DOES ANYONE KNOW IF ITS BEEN DISCONTINUED ?

    Reply
    • 13. Colleen  |  March 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

      I don’t see them on the Kraft South Beach site anymore, either. It seems they’ve shifted their focus to bars. Never fear! You can easily replicate the kits yourself. You just have to buy the components separately. Look for low-cal/high-fiber Smart and Delicious tortillas from La Tortilla Factory, precooked white meat chicken chunks by the packaged deli meats (there are many brands), low-fat or fat-free shredded cheese (Cabot makes a 75% reduced-fat cheese, but I don’t know if it comes preshredded), and low-fat or fat-free ranch dressing.

      All you’ll have to do is combine the components. An advantage of this approach is you can add some more chicken to your wrap to make it even more filling with extra protein without adding a lot of calories. The disadvantage is that you’ll have to be careful at first to find out what the correct portion is for the cheese and ranch. It’s easy to go overboard with the flavorful but less nutritious toppings. Use measuring spoons or a kitchen scale the first couple times to get a sense of what a tablespoon of cheese or dressing looks like before you try it freehand. Also, regular tortillas are bigger, so count on one big wrap rather than two small ones.

      1 80-calorie La Tortilla Factory Smart and Delicious tortilla, plus 3 oz. of cooked chicken strips, plus 2 tablespoons low-fat shredded cheddar, plus 1 tablespoon fat-free ranch dressing equals about 220 calories, about the same as the original package.

      I remember the kits coming with Jell-O, too; you can pick up sugar-free Jell-O cups that only have 10 calories each to replace this. Only 230 calories total then.

      Reply

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