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