If you’re anything like me, you most likely hate cooking. Cooking can be so time consuming. Especially if you’re a mom/dad, full time college student with a full time job or just simply always working. You may not have the extra time to ensure you consume 3 healthy meals a day. Introducing microwaveable meals into you’re diet is a great way to get in those good nutrients you need every day.
But just like with everything else there’s a catch lol. Not every microwaveable meal at the grocery store is good for you. The box may say Lean Cuisine but is this cuisine really lean? If you turn the box over to the back (or side of some) you’ll see the Nutrition Facts, this is where we’ll determine whether or not that specific meal is good for you. Remember that for each meal there are different Nutrition Facts; not every Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine is the same. One may be good for you while another isn’t, so be cautious and check the NF of each box!
The first fact we’ll look at is fat. Using my favorite meal as an example, there’s is 5g of fat in this specific meal. Now I know everyone’s diet is different, what works for me may not work for you so I’m going to give you a math equation to help you to determine whether or not 5g of fat is good for your diet.
Example: I eat 1,500 calories a day. It is recommended you eat anywhere from 20-35% of those calories from fat. I eat 25% of those calories from fat. 25% of 1,500 is 375 calories. I am allowed to eat 375 calories of fat each day. Each gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. 375 calories divided by 9 grams of fat is equal to roughly 41 grams of fat. So in conclusion I am allowed to eat 41g of fat each day which is equal to 10 or fewer grams for each meal with 10 extra grams of fat for snacks.
Now we’ll look at cholesterol. Doctors recommend you eat about 300mg of cholesterol a day. However if you have a higher risk of heart disease you should aim for somewhere around 200-250mg. I personally aim for no more than 250mg. Looking at my favorite meal, 85mg of cholesterol is about 34% of my daily intake (don’t look at the daily value if it does not apply to you, find the percentage by using how much you personally need in your diet.) More than 30% of your daily intake in one meal may be pushing it but it could also be fine if you’re eating meals that are low in cholesterol for the rest of the day. For breakfast I eat Cheerios which has 0mg of cholesterol so that I can eat a lunch that is heavier in cholesterol.
Next we’re going to look at carbohydrates, dietary fibers and sugars. Just like with fat you can calculate how many grams you should eat each day using math or you could simply click the link below this paragraph for a carb calculator. I personally am recommended to eat 180g of carbohydrates per day. 8g of carbs is a little more than 4% of my recommended daily intake. Now looking at the sugar, 2g is great! Anything less than 5g is good. Remember we want to eliminate as much sugar as possible! Dietary fiber is also really important but in the opposite way lol. Getting as much fiber as you can out of your carbs helps to boost up your metabolism.
Lastly we’ll touch on sodium, potassium and protein. Obviously you know that protein is essential to building muscle. A high protein diet is great for body builders or anyone that wants to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass. A high sodium diet however can be really damaging to your health and can cause high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease. High potassium on the other hand can help to relax the blood vessels which can result in decreased blood pressure. I generally aim for about 2,000mg of sodium per day (if you’re on the older side you should try around 1,500) which makes 600mg of sodium 30% of my daily intake which is not to bad seeing that my breakfast is low in sodium and this meal is high in potassium. Still remember that everything that is good for you is only good for you in moderation!
I hope you found these tips useful and maybe get out your calculator next trip to the grocery store lol. Microwaveable meals can be a great time saver. But if you’re going to introduce them into your diet as a lunch or dinner keep in mind what you’ll be eating for the rest of the day so you don’t over step on anything else. Thanks for reading and please check out my other fitness articles in the “Fitspo” category.