Thursday, April 8, 2010

Amy's Light in Sodium Frozen Meals

Several weeks ago I was aimlessly wandering around in my favorite local supermarket when I found myself in the natural foods department. It had been a while since I studied the contents of its freezer section, so I stared at it looking for something new and interesting. My eyes rested on some packages of Amy's frozen foods that were labeled "Light in Sodium." I'd never seen them before and was immediately intrigued. In fact, I grabbed an assortment and stuck them in my basket. A few days later I was in my local health foods store and looked for more Amy's "Light in Sodium" products. Interestingly enough, the health food store had less of a variety than the grocery store, but I was able to find a couple of Amy's loso canned soups. About a week later when I was visiting my local Safeway, I discovered a few more of the Amy's "Light in Sodium" canned soups.

We've been trying out these products little by little, and so far, I've been favourably impressed. They all taste pretty good. I especially liked Mexican Casserole Bowl . It reminded me of tamale pie. The Indian Mattar Paneer and the Black Bean Enchiladas were good too. My husband has had both the Vegetable Lasagna and the Macaroni and Cheese while I've had the Shepherd's Pie a couple of times. So far the only items I didn't care fore were the Veggie Loaf Meal and the Brown Rice & Veggies Bowl. Something about the texture in both of those didn't appeal to me -- too mushy. But I've enjoyed all the soups.

The entrees range in sodium content from 290 mg. to 390 mg. per serving while the soups range from 280 mg. to 340 mg. per serving. Not bad when compared to most grocery store frozen food offerings or soups. Amy's specializes in vegetarian & organic ingredients, so you won't find meat anywhere. As a result, most of their products are low in calories and fat. One thing I really appreciate about all the Amy's products is that they are made from real ingredients. No weird stabilizers, additives, flavor enhancers, etc. The one thing I don't like about the products is the cost. They are definitely more expensive than what you'd find in the regular freezer section. So they're probably not a good option for every day use. But for emergencies -- those strange days when you're running behind because everything took far longer than anticipated -- they're great. I've got a mini stockpile in my freezer and my pantry for just such days.


Michelle Smith said...

I am so happy to have found your blog (and am now following it via the RSS feed). It came up when I did a Google search for "Low sodium cheese". It looks like you have a wealth of information here. Thank you for sharing it with others. I'm off to peruse the rest of your blog. By the way, thanks to your recommendation, I'm going to buy some of these Amy's entrees if I can find them at our grocery store.

shambo said...

Thanks, Michelle, for your kind comments. I hope you can find some of the Amy's "Light in Sodium" products to try. As I mentioned, they're definitely more expensive but are handy for occasional use.

Mike said...

I'm glad to have found it as well. I do have a question regarding the low-sodium rating. Some of the products listed on the Amy's site have 290mg per serving. What is the general guideline where a food can call itself low in sodium?

shambo said...

Mike, you've asked a great question. I think low sodium is like beauty -- all in the eye of the beholder. Some people set a goal for themselves of no more than 500 - 800 mgs. of sodium per day. Others try to keep the limit between 1,800 to 2,000 mgs.

I've been reading about the recent government push for lower sodium content in prepared foods and major corporations like Campbell's voluntarily lowering the sodium content in their products. Most every article gives a general goal of 500 mgs. or lower for individual servings.

So if you compare the sodium content of an Amy's "Light in Sodium" product to a regular product, it's quite low. And even if you compare the Amy's low sodium product to the new goals for lowered sodium content, they're still pretty low.

Obviously, if you carefully make all your food from scratch, you'll have better luck with controlling sodium content. But as I said in the post, sometimes you need a break or a quick bite. That's why it's a good idea to have some convenience foods on hands that you can eat without feeling guilty.

BeetLover said...

Thanks for all of these great suggestions! I'll have to keep an eye out for Amy's lite-sodium products. I have ménière's disease so I have to keep to a low-sodium diet. I'm always looking for ideas.

shambo said...

BeetLover, I hope you can find some of the Amy's products. They are more expensive but taste pretty good.

Jacqueline said...

Hi Michelle;
My husband was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure and is also seeing a cardiologist. We immediately began moving towards changing our diet. I too love to cook (and eat) and am now on a mission to re-learn to cook w/o salt or at least a lot less salt. Bread is an issue right now - I love to bake bread and am interested in how to do that now without salt or at least a lot less salt. Thanks for sharing on the blog - it is a great inspiration.