I’m sure many of you have seen the Weight Watchers Smart Ones meals in the frozen section of your grocery store. Well, now you don’t have to just rely on their frozen meals, because they’ve recently introduced their line of Fresh Meals – refrigerated foods that you can quickly heat and eat. In the case of the pasta salads and a few other options, you can just eat them as they come.
My good friend Amanda (pictured above) and I got the opportunity to try several of the Weight Watchers Fresh Meals. We each got sent the same meals, which were:
- Three Cheese Ravioli
- Macaroni Salad
- Potato Salad
- Chicken Salad
- Baked Ziti
- Roast Chicken with Stuffing
- Three Cheese Macaroni
- Mediterranean Style Chicken
I’ll share Amanda’s comments with you first, and then my thoughts.
Hello to everyone out there in blog-land! My name is Amanda and I’m very excited to be participating in my first guest post on the Frugal Novice blog! I have known Christi for many years and gladly said yes when she asked if I wanted to join her in this review for the new Weight Watchers Points Plus meals. I have participated in the Weight Watchers program before, and I found it to be a great resource for watching out for portion control, which really has to be the key to any great weight loss program. Here I’ll highlight four of the meals I received.
I received my meals at my home, and my first surprise was that none of meals were frozen dinners! In the past when I’ve purchased pre-packaged meals that follow the points system, they were always frozen dishes. Each of these meals however needed only to be refrigerated, and the only reason I point this out is that I think it’s actually a better way to buy. Knowing that these meals had a limited shelf-life motivated me to stick with eating these, rather than being tempted to eat something else in the house. Frozen meals can last forever and be forgotten, but these meals were front and center each day when I made my choice as to what to eat for lunch or dinner.
One of the meals that really stood out to me was the Three Cheese Ravioli. I’m a sucker for Italian food anyway, so I knew beforehand that I would either love or hate this meal. The meal is only 6 points, has 230 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. Let me just say it was delicious! The first thing I noticed was the texture – with a lot of frozen ravioli meals I’ve had in the past, the texture was always weird (though I suppose it’s weird that I noticed things like texture in the first place) – the Weight Watchers Three Cheese Ravioli had a consistency much like that of ravioli I’ve had in great Italian restaurants! At the same time, this meal had a great light taste that didn’t leave me feeling too full or bloated after I was done. And of course, it’s a Weight Watchers meal, so the portion size was perfect and it was only 6 points!
Next has to be the Weight Watchers Macaroni Salad. In fact all the other meals in my review were the salads that were sent, because they were amazing! I enjoyed the Macaroni Salad as a full meal. The salad has only 190 calories and 5 grams of protein per serving. Since the container comes with 2 servings inside, you’ll need to double those numbers if you eat the whole thing as a meal like I did. One serving is 5 points, which means the entire container was 10 points. That may seem high to some people but believe me the taste was so worth it! The macaroni was well cooked, not too mushy at all, and the seasoning was great. I shared some of the meal with a couple of co-workers who are on the Weight Watchers plan, and they loved it as well.
Next up is the Weight Watchers Potato Salad. I’m always fickle about potato salad – I either seem to love it or hate it depending on how it’s made, so I was a little wary about trying a pre-packaged potato salad. Let me just say that I can’t wait for this product to come to my grocery store, it was delicious! Once again, I have to comment on the texture – it was light, the dressing wasn’t overpowering at all, and it wasn’t slimy like some store-bought salads can tend to be. The flavor was great, as I mentioned the dressing was in a good proportion to the potatoes, and it had a nice dill flavor. And definitely a great alternative if you know you’ll be attending a summer cook out and want to avoid the high calorie alternatives! The Weight Watchers Potato Salad has only 130 calories and 3 grams of protein per serving (again 2 servings in the container), and at only 3 points per serving, you can get away with eating the whole container like I did for 6 points!
Saving the best for last, or at least my personal favorite, is the Weight Watchers Chicken Salad. The entire description on the box says it best “Diced White Meat Chicken with Cranberries, Celery, and Onion with a Seasoned Light Mayonnaise.” If that doesn’t give you an idea of the great flavor in this salad, please let me vouch. Once again the taste and texture were great – the dressing was not overpowering at all, and there wasn’t too much so the salad tasted very fresh. I loved all the different flavors, especially the cranberry, so this salad was anything but bland. I threw a little cracked pepper on top and dug right in!
All in all there wasn’t one meal in the test samples that were sent my way that I did not enjoy – each of the meals were well balanced and left me feeling perfectly satisfied. But I have to say that obviously the salads were my stand out favorites – I felt like I had so many more choices with those beyond the regular boxed meal, and I thoroughly enjoyed each one. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these at my local grocery store!
I too had tried Weight Watchers before, following the point system but typically cooking my own food. I tried some of the frozen Smart Ones meals but didn’t find many options that fit with my somewhat picky tastes. I was excited to try the refrigerated meals to see how they compared and if they’d fit more into my food needs in general.
My favorite meal was the three cheese ravioli. I felt like there was a lot of good flavor in this dish, and the cheese was still a great texture while not being high in calories or fat. The pasta heated well and there was plenty of sauce, so the flavors were really nice.
The cold meals, i.e. the salads, were a nice difference from having heated dishes. I liked the chicken salad a lot – the flavors were bright and fresh, and the texture of the celery and onions was nice with the chicken. The pop of tart cranberry was great – I’ve generally only had chicken salads with apple or grapes, and this almost combined the best of both worlds.
The macaroni salad was good and flavorful, but I felt like it would have used up a lot of points if I had eaten the entire container (10 points, when my daily allotment was 23 points), and even then I would have still been hungry for something else to accompany it.
All in all, the quality of the meals was good and the flavors were great. I liked these much better than the frozen counterparts. My only concern is that these are just entrees, so sometimes using up points with one of the meals might mean that you’re still hungry afterward and left to be creative with a minimal amount of points left over. That said, I think these would be a great way to supplement your Weight Watchers plan – especially when you’re busy and on-the-go.
Between the two of us, I think Amanda liked the meals overall a little bit more than I did. I would rate them a 7 out of 10, and Amanda said she would rate them an 8 out of 10. They provide convenience which can be crucial for weight loss success, and you get a fresher feel than you do with their frozen meals. It would be very easy to grab one of these from the fridge in the morning and have it with you for lunch at work, saving you from giving in to the temptation of the vending machine or going out to eat somewhere.
You can see below the variety of meals offered from Weight Watchers, which are offered at stores nationwide:
Note: Amanda and I each received meals to facilitate the review. We were not compensated monetarily. All opinions are honest and are our own.