Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Healthier, cheaper convenience lunches

Hormel has responded to what -- the company's surveys say -- is an office rebellion against the same old lineup of lunches that are fit to travel.

I've got leftovers from last night's dinner, Cuban Black Beans and Rice, for lunch today, so the Hormel stuff had better be tasty to tempt me .... but I digress.)

Anyway, the company's surveys show that we rank-and-file office dwellers are starting to eliminate the daily lunch out. Average cost for a lunch outside New York, L.A. and Chicago is hitting $11 (not including tip), and we simply cannot afford that.

Nor, however, do we want to eat high-sodium canned soup every day. Or keep salad greens on hand. And, face it, everyone may not have leftovers to bring.

Ergo, Hormel's Compleats, microwaveable meals that are under 320 calories, which guys may find just too paltry. They've also got under 10 grams of fat and under 3 grams of saturated fat.
600 mg or less of sodium is still higher than if you made something fresh (and is pretty high for 320 calories, too), but it's less than most convenience products have. Those food manufacturers truly acknowledge salt as the great preservative.

You can keep them in a desk drawer, and they nuke in 90 seconds.

Flavors: Beef Steak & Peppers – in a sauce over noodles
Home-Style Beef – with mashed potatoes & gravy
Santa Fe Style Chicken – with rice, black beans & roasted corn
Sesame Chicken – with Oriental vegetables and pasta

Beginning March 1, you can get these at Wal-Mart, with additional availability in select supermarkets by mid-March. The average retail price of is $2.69, which isn't bad, if those 320 calories are all you need.