It’s Tuesday evening, your family’s stomachs are growling and you haven’t a clue what to do for dinner. Sure, you could order a pizza with pepperoni AND extra veggies to bump up the nutrition factor or in the same amount of time, you could simmer up a pot of Indian dal or grill a round of wild Coho salmon patties.
If the nutrition and yum factor on the latter option sounds a bit more appealing to you then check out The Healthy Pantry, a company that creates “meal kits” that take just a few minutes to prepare and include delicious, natural, organic and whole food ingredients so that the whole family (or just you) can feel good about eating and you can still have time for that after-dinner walk to the park.
Created by a working dad who had a wake-up call when he saw his health profile calculated in a few alarming numbers (think almost 200 pounds and a 260 total cholesterol) and a professional chef/nutrition consultant, The Healthy Pantry features pre-packaged meal kits with all of the shopping, measuring, and chopping done for you. All you have to do is supplement with your own store-bought items, like lean ground turkey meat and eggs for their signature Asian Turkey Burgers, and turn the dial on the stove or oven for a complete and nutritious meal for the whole family.
The Healthy Pantry was generous enough to provide DietsInReview with their popular Favorites Pack for us to sample. As a working mother who often succumbs to whipping up quick omelets for dinner, I was eager to test out many of the seven meals that came in Healthy Pantry’s meal kit. The Favorites Pak includes separate meal kits for pineapple meatloaf, Indian dal, vegetable quinoa, wild salmon patties, turkey meatloaf, whole grain apple cinnamon pancakes/waffles, whole-grain banana bread and oatmeal raisin cookies.
While the quinoa had a bit of dehydrated vegetable taste the wild coho salmon patties were a dinnertime hit! With just the right amount of seasoning and spices and chunky wild Coho salmon that the Healthy Pantry provided, these heart-healthy and very generously-portioned burgers were fabulous! They are perfect for eating over salad greens, like I did, or sandwiching between a bun.
As for some of the other meals, my daughter happily gobbled her Saturday morning apple cinnamon pancakes with gusto and maple syrup and the oatmeal raisin cookies were bursting with a perfect combination of sweet, spicy and chewy goodness. Do use caution when baking the cookies: They disappeared from my kitchen within 24 hours!
One of my two critiques of the Healthy Pantry is that the nutrition guidelines were tough to understand. Each dish comes with its own label which clearly elucidates the cooking instructions, prep time, ingredients you’ll need to supply and a complete nutrition label, but there was no real way of determining what a serving size should be. The label was also unclear as to whether or not the calories, fat, sodium and protein grams were for the prepared dish or just the dry ingredients. But perhaps since this is a young company, this nutrition kink will get worked out as The Healthy Pantry grows and expands.
The other critique is that the sodium for a few of the dishes, like the vegetable quinoa, was pretty high. While it’s not uncommon for pre-packaged foods like starch mixes to be high in salt, if you are someone who needs to monitor salt intake, you may want to stay away from these select items or add more grains (and water) to dilute the sodium content.
Overall, I give The Healthy Pantry an enthusiastic thumbs up for those evenings where you just don’t have the culinary creativity (or time) to concoct a healthy and satisfying meal for you and your family. To read more about this program, here is the complete review of The Healthy Pantry.
While Healthy Pantry provided Heather with samples, her review is of her own opinion and in no way influenced by the company.
June 5th, 2009