Microwaves and Madras Lentils

I’m all about the instant meals.  I prefer meals that I can cook in one pot, or even better, on one plate in a microwave.  Today, I needed one of those meals.  Caught up in homework, I was too busy to realize that I was hungry.  And then the sucker punch of an empty stomach grabs my attention.

“Food,” my stomach whimpers.

I open my mini fridge/freezer combo and pull out a bag of frozen green beans.  Microwaving frozen vegetables is one of the easiest ways to make a healthy snack, and as a college student, I like that it’s space efficient and the food doesn’t go bad.  And while the bowl of green beans was delicious, my stomach insisted that it needed more food.

Cue Tasty Bite’s Madras Lentils, with a promise of “Ready in 90 Seconds” plastered on the front.  The lentil and bean mixture was a bit on the spicy side, but paired with a piece of bread, I wolfed it down.  I decided to then look at the package to see exactly why it was so good.

Thank you, Whole Foods.

The lentils take care of 40% of my daily “Dietary Fiber” and contain 14 grams of protein, although they are accompanied by 42% of my daily sodium intake.  I can’t say I was surprised by the amount of sodium – it was an instant meal after all.  Then I stopped myself and considered what else I would have eaten: ramen.  I do love my Top Ramen, but I’m careful to eat it sparingly.  Providing a whopping 76% of my daily sodium intake, along with a measly 16% of my dietary fiber, my ramen was no match for the Tasty Bite lentils.

Before going vegetarian, I would never have considered looking at Whole Foods for instant meals, or would have considered buying this type of a frozen meal.  This experience has again reminded me that, while my dietary preferences are still limited (something I’m working on), I appreciate the enlarged perspective I’ve gained about my food options.  A meal is no longer a piece of meat with some type of carb on the side, and, on a good day, some veggies.  Suddenly my meals are more dynamic and varied.  I’m excited to keep exploring, and I also can’t wait to bring all of these new meals back home to my family when I return for the summer.

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