Dangerous Dining with Alex #2

Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers — Sweet Sesame Chicken

Overview: I like it when people ask what I had for dinner and I can tell them “sweet sesame chicken with rice, vegetables, and sweet and spicy sesame sauce.” Of course, if they know me they immediately say “that sounds like a prepared meal.”

Label: A healthy choice indeed! And for once the label gives you the all the nutritional facts up front with no need to do complicated calculations. Because really: it’s all in the bowl. You aren’t eating half of one of these. So here goes: 330 calories, 5 g of fat (no trans fat), and 330 g of sodium (only 14% of my daily recommended intake!). I could eat five or six of these things and still be coming in at numbers lower than a frozen pizza. Cancel my doctor’s appointment!

Review: Actually, it’s not hard for one of these individual meal packages to come in at a less-than-deadly nutritional rating. That’s because there’s really not very much to them.

The Gourmet Steamers give you slightly larger servings than the usual run of TV dinner, but just one of them isn’t going to fill you up. Even so, I very rarely eat more than one at a time so I get to feel healthy for a whole day.

This particular edition of the GS line is tasty and, as long as you’re not too hungry, satisfying. Though there’s no denying the unfortunate effect microwaving has on the texture of your food, and especially ingedients that are supposed to be a bit crispy, like the snow peas and carrots here. Once you mix it all together it’s just mush. The chicken pieces have the exact same mouth feel as everything else. But the spicy sesame sauce is nice and the different ingredients go well together.

Price: $2.99 on sale. A very good deal.

Score: 7.5 / 10

Dangerous Dining with Alex #1

McCain Thin Crust Canadian Pizza

Overview: What makes a “Canadian” pizza Canadian? The bacon? It’s an industry-wide label so it must have an origin story somewhere. The box here says “Canadian cheddar” so maybe that’s it.

Label: “Made with simple and wholesome ingredients, our pizzas are so delicious they come back with a money-back taste guarantee.” I went online and checked this out. Seems legit, but you have to have kept your original receipt.

The nutrition label gives information for 1/5 of a pizza. What use is that? Who cuts a pizza into five slices? Is it possible to cut a pizza into five slices? Anyway, when I eat a frozen pizza I eat the whole thing. What this added up to then is 1,250 calories. I got 120% of my daily fat (55 g), including 22.5 g of saturated fat and 1.5 g of trans fat. Trans fat is not illegal in Canada. Perhaps this is what makes it a Canadian pizza. I also got 135% of my daily sodium (3,200 mg). They don’t call frozen pizza a heart attack in a box for nothing.

Review: I only eat thin crust pizza, whether it’s home or delivery. Otherwise I just end up throwing away half the crust. And don’t get me started on that “stuffed-crust” business. That looks disgusting, and I have a pretty high threshold when it comes to eating disgusting food.

But a thin crust is supposed to be light and crispy. The crust here is heavy, dry and hard. It isn’t crispy at all but has the texture of baked cardboard. And despite all the sodium and other badness I found the whole thing to be almost tasteless. In particular there’s no zip to the “Canadian” cheddar. Maybe it’s the blandness that makes it Canadian!

The Italian sausage pellets don’t even look appetizing in the picture they have on the front of the box. What they look like is shiny rabbit turds. In my mouth they felt like little pencil erasers.

Price: $3.99. I picked it up on sale. That’s a cheap meal.

Score: 4.5 / 10