There is a lot of controversy in diet groups on whether frozen meals should be part of a low calorie diet. They can certainly help with portion control and easy calorie counting, but are often very high in sodium. Michelina’s makes several lines of frozen meals. They have a “Light” range that comes in blue packaging, but is it really any better for a low calorie diet?
Surprisingly, one of the higher calorie Michelina’s meals is from their Light range. Sweet & Sour Chicken has 390 calories. Still easily fits in a 1200 calorie diet. But even more surprising is that some of the comfort foods in the Signature range are the lowest in calories. Fried Chicken with Mashed Potato is only 220 calories and appeals to me a lot more than some of the Light varieties which are 250 calories or more.
So is the Michelina’s Light range better for you? I grabbed two out of my freezer. There are lower calorie options in the Light range than the Honey Barbecue Chicken I had in the freezer. Chicken Stir Fry is 190 calories so you can find something under 200 calories in both. A lot depends on your personal preferences.
Michelina’s Light Options
While there are some Michelina’s Light meals that are higher in calories, they are generally lower in fat. They range from 190 calories (Chicken Stir Fry) to 390 calories (Sweet & Sour Chicken) and are mostly pasta or rice based. They also seem to include vegetables which many of the other options do not. For this reason, they are “healthier” but if just counting calories, you may be more satisfied by some of the other ranges which have low calorie options.
Lowest Calorie Michelina’s Light Meals (under 300 calories)
- Chicken Stir Fry – 190 cals
- Macaroni & Cheese – 230 cals
- Chicken Alfredo Florentine – 240 cals
- Spinach & Ricotta Bake – 260 cals
- Chicken Primavera – 290 cals
- Honey Barbecue Chicken – 290 cals (shows 310 online)
The company seems to have reformulated them recently as the nutritional data for the meals their website are off by 10-20 calories compared to the boxes. Make sure to check the ones you buy regularly to make sure you are entering the correct calories for the day.
Low Calorie Options in Michelina’s Original/Signature Ranges
With options like “fried” chicken the meals in some of the non light ranges appeal to me more. I will eat potato over spaghetti most of the time. This particular meal is higher in sodium, most likely due to the gravy. Some of the Light range are also pretty high in sodium though. The non Light ranges tend to be higher in fat, even if they are lower calorie meals. They also don’t contain as many vegetables but if I am home, I simply steam some to go with the meal. It adds few calories and makes them a lot more filling.
The red boxed Signature meals are often not included in the $1 sales you see in flyers. Always good to save some money so I stock up when they are on sale. The Original (green box) and Light (blue box) meals are on sale almost every week.
Lowest Calorie Michelina’s Signature/Original Meals
- Meat Loaf – 190 cals (Signature Range)
- Salisbury Steak – 200 cals (Signature Range)
- Cheese Tortellini – 220 cals (Signature Range)
- Fried Chicken – 220 cals (Signature Range)
- Lasagna Alfredo – 250 cals (Original Range)
- Lasagna with Meat Sauce – 270 cals (Original Range)
- Strogonoff – 270 cals (Original Range)
- Rigatoni Pomodoro – 270 cal (Original Range)
- Macaroni & Beef – 290 cals (Original Range)
- Spaghetti Bolognese – 300 cals (Original Range)
- Penne Primavera – 300 cals (Original Range)
By adding these to the rotation, it can make a frozen meal a day seem less repetitive. I only really enjoy three of the Michelina’s Light meals while I will eat most of the Signature/Original ones on this list. Some mushrooms bulk up the Meatloaf, mixed veggies with the Fried Chicken etc and you are still easily under 300 calories.