Smart Ones Meals offer Smart Made: A Real Food Option

May 5, 2017   24 Comments

Smart Ones meals are the supposed smarter option in the frozen meals section. The smartness is because they are a lower calorie (and perhaps healthier) option.

Smart Ones Meals offer Smart Made: A Real Food Option

I wrote about Smart Ones in 2011 and didn’t really like them. I was wandering around the frozen section last week when I saw “Smart Made” and was intrigued. They cost me $3 each so I decided to try three of them and determine if they were worth it.

Made like I made it? Hello? That seemed like a challenge to me and I was ready to take it.

At one point in my career, I was sitting across the table from the head chef of Nestle frozen meals and I said, “Why can’t you make real food and freeze it instead of using all those crappy additives?”

He thought my idea of adding kale to the meals was quaint.

I didn’t see any kale in these meals but the ingredients here are pretty close to what I would use for the “Rosemary Grilled Beef & Vegetables”. It includes Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (without marshmallows).

Where is the Salisbury sauce, peas, and buttery mash potatoes? This really is a SMART choice when compared to most frozen steak dinners.

Here are the ingredients:

The only ingredient which I reviewed here was “yeast extract”. It is a flavor enhancer and I wouldn’t use that it my homemade food. I would just use salt. The list is pretty much okay.

Before I made the meal, I read the directions carefully. You must pay attention to how these are to be cooked because you don’t want to get sick. It had directions for a 1100 watt microwave.

I had no idea what mine was and was happy to find that information on the front of the oven.

I have a 1200 watt microwave! How about that? Be sure to follow the directions!!

Here are the nutrition facts for the meal:

For one meal = 270 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 13 g sugar, 17 g protein, 5 g fiber, 600 mg sodium, 9 SmartPts

The good news is that this tasted like food. The bad news is that I found the sauce to be a bit strange. The meat was tender and the sweet potatoes were good. But, it was too salty and the Brussels sprouts were mushy.

I give this a C+. I wouldn’t buy it again but I have had much worse.

From a health perspective, this is almost perfect. The sodium should be half what it is.

The second meal I tried was the “Spicy Peanut Chicken and Broccoli”. I happen to love chicken, broccoli, peanuts, and brown rice so I was excited.

Again, there was nothing in this that made me think it wasn’t going to be real food.

For one meal = 250 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 29 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 19 g protein, 5 g fiber, 610 mg sodium, 7 SmartPts

This was the best frozen meal I have ever eaten in my life. It was spicy, the chicken was tender, and the broccoli had a nice crunch. My only complaint was that the brown rice was a little crunchy but I prefer crunchy to soggy.

I give this an A. I would buy this instead of eating fast food or buying lunch out at work. My only true criticism is that it should have 300 mg of sodium not 600 (oh well).

This is far better than Amy’s frozen meals as it is lower in calories and tastes better.

Finally, I tried the “Mexican-Style Pulled Pork Bowl”. I give them points for calling it “Mexican-Style”. All my “Mexican” dishes are not really Mexican, either. I just say that to describe the flavor profile.

Go to Mexico, try the food, and then ask yourself if your Taco Tuesday is authentic. I would bet that it is not.

Here are the ingredients:

Here we have brown rice, black beans, pork, and garlic powder (which I HATE).

This meal is one ounce bigger than the other two and I found it to be quite substantial.

For one meal = 320 calories, 9 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 33 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 26 g protein, 7 g fiber, 670 mg sodium, 9 SmartPts

I give this one an A. I thought it was as good as something I would make. I can’t believe I am saying that. My dish would be spicier but I like my food pretty spicy.

If I had a chance to meet the head chef of Kraft frozen foods, I would say two things:

1. Less sodium (please!).
2. Where’s the kale?

Have any of you tried Smart Made? What do you think?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 24 )

Thank you for reviewing these - I will have to look for them!

Never heard of them....will have to look.

Yes - I've tried a few - can't recall off the top of my head but I don't eat meat so it would have been vegetarian or fish or seafood - they are good! There are many frozen dinners that are made much better now including Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers - I LOVE Halo Top ice cream too - they are real as well and they are low in sugar and around 240 - 350 calories for a pint. If I'm having ice cream I'm eating a pint! I personally love ice cream.

Worth a try, are the smart points on the box?

@Frank - the Smart Points are not on the box. I used my WW calculator to get the values. Great question!

We have tried them and liked a couple. Neither of us cared for the Rosemary Grilled Beef - the Brussel sprouts were weird, but my husband really liked the Grilled Sesame Beef & Broccoli. A little less sodium would be perfect. I have an Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl left to try.

We have lactose issues here, and several of these have milk, which eliminates them from contention.

I also tried the Rosemary Grilled Beef & Vegetables and wasn't impressed. Will need to try the Spicy Peanut Chicken and Broccoli. I like Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones but again depends on the meal. Wish they would revamp some of them. Less sodium would be better too.

I hadn't heard of these, I will have to look for them. I am usually disappointed in frozen dinners but I keep trying.

Thank you for always doing your research. I am anxious to try these!

I have not tried, and that is because of the sodium. I am with you on that...there's still too much sodium for me to even bother trying them.

gotta love the sodium police......why? because if you eat out, you get a whole days worth of sodium in one meal! but you don't know that unless the restaurant has their own nutritional info posted. you just think it's okay.

600 mg of sodium, unless your md. has told you to limit your sodium intake is NOT TOO MUCH!

Had the orange chicken bowl tonight. Not impressed. Quinoa was mushy and not hardly a vegetable. Chicken was ok. Left me wanting more. I added a bunch of vegetables. Won't be buying again. 6 points wasted

I wish they had more varieties because of all the ones I've had (aside from the one with quinoa, because quinoa sucks) have been excellent.

Saw these and thought I would give them a try.The one with turkey,sweet potatoes,and green beans was good.Today I tried the Chicken with spinach fettuccine. It had a great taste but the chicken was like biting into a large piece of gristle.Couldn't chew it . I will try it again to see if it is always that way.Loved the spinach fettuccine.I agree with all the other people. You could lower the salt.Most people eating this would be on a low salt diet.Personally I do not like salt if I can taste it.

They make 19 different types. I have only had the Thai-Style Chicken & Vegetable. It is the only frozen meal I've had that actually taste a little like real Thai food. I like it so much that I haven't tried the others.

I like the brussel sprouts so try these and see what suits your palate. I agree they could use less sodium but I recently discovered these and think the nutrition and flavor are great.

What is your opinion of the Frontera frozen bowls?

I have really liked these so far as well. I like the Asian chicken and the chicken Mexican bowl. Low calories and it fills me up. Glad i found these and happy to know so many people think it’s a better option than most.

Just tried the Rosemary beef yesterday and it was a waste of 7 points. The beef was overdone, the sauce nasty and the vegetables bitter. I didn’t finish it and will toss the other one I purchased.

Love SmartMade dishes. Eat them daily. All numbers are normal, cholesterol, blood pressure and A1C. Bench press, squats and deadlift are better than ever! Agree that less sodium could be achieved. Thanks for the review.

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