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Amy’s Organic Indian Food: Frozen Trick or Treat?
A few months ago, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The nutritionist that his doctor set him up with recommended that we try Amy’s as fast meals since we often did microwave meals for lunches. When we checked out our local grocery store, we found out that they carried a huge line of Amy’s frozen meals, and we picked up a few, skeptical but willing to try them.
Enter Amy’s Indian Palak Paneer. According to their website, the meal is “smooth, creamy palak paneer, made from organic spinach and soft Indian cheese, is lightly spiced with authentic Indian herbs and spices. Rajmah dal, made from organic red kidney beans in a ginger-garlic sauce and tender organic basmatic rice complete this delicious meal. Gluten free.”
Amy's Indian Palak Paneer
|Serving size: 1 Box, 10 oz.|
|Calories from Fat||99|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 11 g||17%|
|Saturated fat 3 g||15%|
|Carbohydrates 38 g||13%|
|Sugar 5 g|
|Fiber 6 g||24%|
|Protein 12 g||24%|
|Cholesterol 15 mg||5%|
|Sodium 680 mg||28%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
The meal boasts a measly 300 calories and 11 grams of fat. There’s only 680 mg of sodium, definitely on the low side for a frozen meal. The carbs are also low – a whole meal for only 38 gram. And there’s a good amount of fiber – 6 grams.
For those keeping track, it does have milk, so it’s not vegan, but it has no meat products.
In terms of health, it is definitely on the healthy side, especially for something you can toss in the microwave for less than 10 minutes and come up with a complete meal. The low calorie/high fiber is great for those of us trying to lose a few pounds. (Think four four-hundred calorie meals a day – this plus a piece of fruit and you’re all set!)
To me, this is potentially the most important thing, after the health factor. That’s because, while I want to eat healthy, I also don’t want to eat cardboard. One of the basic things to remember about food is that fat equals flavor, so something low in fat often is low in flavor, especially if it’s also high in fiber and low in sodium. But Amy’s did something amazing – not only is this meal good for you, but it actually tastes good! I honestly never thought that I’d find a frozen Indian meal that I’d consider good, but this one does it. It isn’t the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it easily rivals some of the better Indian restaurant’s lunch buffets, and it’s a lot better for me.
As you can see from the pictures, when the meal is first plucked from the box, it looks awful. Like a frozen, freezer-burned mess. My heart sank when I opened the box the first time because I couldn’t believe this would, in any way, resemble an actual Indian meal. I almost threw it away without cooking it because I was so convinced it would taste the way it looked. But, not wanting to waste the money, I went ahead and threw it in the microwave to see what would happen.
And…wow. After cooking it and plating it, I was amazed to see that it actually looked pretty close to the box. The colors aren’t perfect, but part of that may be the fault of my camera. It actually looks and tastes like real food!
The meals cost more than some of their competitors, such as Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers’ Smart Ones, but the price difference is fairly negligible if you’re only eating one or two a week. On average, my local store sells the Amy’s meals for $3 to $4 (depending on the meal), so it’s $1 to $2 more than the other brands. Even if my husband and I both decide to eat one for a meal, it’s still less than eating out at a fast food restaurant, and the food is better in more than just one way – it’s healthier and tastes better.
However, when it comes to value, I have to say that Amy’s leaves me filling full and satisfied, and the taste is far above the other brands. I have yet to find an Amy’s meal that I wouldn’t eat again, and I have even more sitting in my freezer that I have yet to have a chance to try.
Ease of Prep
I have to admit – I am lazy when it comes to cooking. If I can throw it in the microwave, I do. So I can’t speak to the oven directions on the box. But the microwave directions are easy, and if you’re even lazier than I am, you could leave it in the tray and eat it that way. Personally, I like my food on a plate, so I bother with moving it over, but this is one meal that is good enough that you could nuke and then eat over the kitchen sink, and it would still taste good.
So is it a trick or treat?
Call me impressed! I don’t know that I’ve ever thought – or said – that there was more than enough cheese in the palek paneer, but this is one meal that doesn’t skimp. I haven’t gone away hungry from this meal, and I have more of them sitting in my freezer for lunches, and even dinners, when I don’t feel like cooking. My husband and I are both converts to Amy’s now; we don’t even consider other frozen meals.