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Adam Platt’s Diet-Meal Taste Test

Our restaurant critic searches for edible instant light dinners.

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TASTY
FreshDirect Fresh Dining Smart and Simple Massaman Chicken Curry
(350 calories)
The chicken is fresh, the sauce so hot it makes you hiccup, there are hints of ginger and tamarind, and the snow peas, shallots, and peppers come raw. So good, we actually ate the whole thing.


South Beach Diet Cashew Chicken
(360 calories)
Aside from a high calorie count, the key to success is the Asian-style peanut-and-sesame sauce, which almost manages to obscure everything else. The chicken seems unprocessed, and, yes, we did find some real cashews.


EDIBLE
Smart Ones Grilled Chicken
(190 calories)
Sure, the sauce has that gooey, glistening TV-dinner quality, but at least the chicken is recognizable as such. Repeated hesitant tastings also reveal a hint of real garlic, and the vegetables actually look semi-fresh.


Healthy Choice Grilled Turkey Breast
(250 calories)
Turkey tenders—impressively emblazoned with faux grill marks—are vaguely edible, as are the roast-potato medley and the steamed string beans, but the cloyingly sweet cranberry sauce obliterates everything in its path.


BAD
Lean Cuisine Salmon With Basil
(260 calories)
The impressively pink salmon nuggets look inviting, but the fishy taste is overwhelming, as if they’ve been lying on the deck of a boat for a week. A wet, steamy mash of orzo pasta and veggies offers no escap


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