M+S launched this new range under their activehealth brand a couple of months ago in support of Heart UK. It's a range of ready meals with added fibre and cholesterol lowering benefits that is also appproved by Heart UK as seen by the stamp on the packaging. To be honest I don't see why ready meals get such a bad press because there are some good options out there. I read through all the ingredients on this and they are all normal ingredients I recognise and nutritionally it's really good. There's 31g protein per pack, it's 2.6% sugars (all natural from veg etc) and the fat and salt are reasonable.
In addition there's 1.3g of beta glucan in the product, which are shown to lower cholesterol. The pack also has a whopping 12.5g of fibre so brilliant for your gut health and digestion. And if that wasn't enough it's 2 of your 5 a day. I really fail to see how this cannot be called a genuinely healthy choice.
The meals consists of a base tomato, red wine, bean and orzo pasta sauce with lots of garlic chicken breast chunks. There's kale and butternut squash spread throughout it and then it's topped with a oat and parmesan cheese crust. Sounds pretty good.
I ovenbaked it for 30 mins (this cannot be microwaved as you need the crust to crisp up and the chicken is raw) and the smell as I pulled it out the oven was really delicious. It smelt heartwarming, comforting with a rich red wine and garlic smell with hints of rosemary.
It was slightly different to get out of the pack onto a plate in an attractive manner as it's essentially a stew with a crispy topping but I managed (kind of). Regardless of whether this was a healthy meal or not , I thought it was delicious. The chicken breast was tender with a very mild marinaed garlic hint and the sauce was rich,thick and satisfying.
There was lots of veg and the mix of textures coming from borlotti beans, tender squash chunks and kale which I love. The parmesan and oat crust also added a nice contrast -it went crisp and crunchy against the mellow stew and the savoury cheesy hit was really nice.
It was also a pretty satisfying meal once served with new potates and veg (hey why not have more!) and made a really delicious dinner, which I would happily eat again were they not so expensive. I can't remember the price but it was above the £4 mark so not a reasonable expense for dinner everyday.
Bought at: Marks and Spencer
Nutrition per pack: 361 calories,8g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 9.9 sugars, 12.5g fibre, 31.2g protein, 1.63g salt