In our quest to eat healthier, we often find that the branded "healthy" foods either taste horrible or don't seem very filling. I've had several lean cuisine lunches that, frankly, don't fill up an average man's stomach. I know that cutting calories and increasing exercise is the best way to lose weight, but what if you've already lost the excess weight and just want to eat something filling that won't clog your arteries? Man can only live off of pita bread so many times.
Enter the Lean Cuisine Chicken Tuscan Panini. This is the latest in Lean Cuisine's series of Panini sandwiches, designed to bring you the taste of a real, Italian-style sandwich that won't break your calorie or grocery budget. The other Panini varieties seem to sell out just fine at my local grocery store, but how will this new flavor stack up?
Ingredients. This particular blend of Lean Cuisine Panini advertises a blend of white meat chicken, peppers, olives, tomatoes and some style of sauce called margherita. They mix all this together and spread it on Italian Herb bread. Just from reading the ingredients, it looks like a taste explosion waiting to happen. But it is a frozen food, so there's always a chance that it could end up tasting like a Chicken Tuscan sandwich left out too long.
Nutrition. This is a Lean Cuisine meal, so naturally you would expect the ingredients in the Chicken Tuscan Panini to be relatively healthy. There are 340 calories, 8 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbs. Not too bad for a sandwich that is slightly bigger than your hands in a prayer position. There are no trans fats, and a surprisingly low amount of sodium (590 milligrams) for a frozen food. Each sandwich counts as one serving so you shouldn't feel bad eating an entire Chicken Tuscan Panini. This counts as 7 Weight Watchers points if you're counting
Taste. Wow. I found this to be one of the better Lean Cuisine Paninis in the line. For a new product, this really caught my tongue. The white chicken pops out real well with the margherita sauce. That sauce tasted like someone messed up and put a real Italian pizza restaurant's secret sauce in the mix instead of some flavorless healthy mix. Combined with the little tomato and pepper bits, you'd think you really WERE eating someone's pizza.
I also noticed if you cook it just as the instructions provided tell you, the bread stays nice and crisp and doesn't fall prey to that frozen food taste. I wouldn't quite call it as good as grilling it in your microwave (like the box suggests), but it's good enough to feel like a real sandwich and not a soggy substitute.
Overall, this was a pleasant surprise of a lunch. I wasn't a swollen tick by the time I was done eating the Chicken Tuscan Panini, but I also wasn't in the hunt for more food. The Lean Cuisine Chicken Tuscan Panini is a hit meal!