September 14, 2015

Sponsored: Gardein BBQ Pulled Porkless Pocket Meal

Honey, I’m home! Well, I was for a few days anyway. The month of September is pretty crazy for me with travel, and it was nice to get home this weekend for pretty much the only time this month. (That said, I am thrilled with the places I get to go and things I get to do – no complaints here!)

In accordance with all my travel, my first errand of the weekend was an appointment with a home security specialist to get my home set up for a new security system. I am still mulling over the pros and cons of a monitored system vs a DIY kind (e.g., Canary or Piper NV). I like the benefits of a monitored system but am not a huge fan of signing up for more monthly fees, especially when the standard for monitored systems is a three year contract. That’s a long time if I’m not happy with it! On the other hand, it seems like the DIY ones are just on the brink of being awesome… and I hate to invest a lot in a system that’s going to be completely outdated in another year. Anyone have recommendations one way or the other?

Another change now that I’m traveling a lot is that I won’t be able to keep my fridge filled with fresh foods. Frozen foods FTW! So when Adam and I were foraging for lunch yesterday, I was excited to pull the new Gardein BBQ Pulled Porkless Pocket Meals out of the freezer. Heated up along with a side of green beans, they were a quick, easy, and healthy meal.

Quick and easy meal!

Lately, I’ve had a guilty pleasure addiction to Hot Pockets (well, Lean Pockets), but even though they are “lean”, they are really not that good for you! In contrast, the Gardein BBQ Pocket Meals are made with all ingredients I recognize and feel good about eating. That’s definitely in keeping with their brand – Gardein aims to make delicious, convenient and healthier versions of the foods we all love to eat, using plant protein that’s better for your body and better for the planet. Made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies, Gardein provides the taste, texture and nutrition of meat but with less calories, less fat and no cholesterol.

I’ve been telling Adam about some of the other Gardein products I’ve tried and how good they are – so we’ve been wanting for a while to have him try them out. (Mr. Meat and Potatoes is basically him! I told him right up front that this was not real pulled pork, but in the case of the BBQ Pulled Porkless Pocket Meal, we both agreed that you could barely tell the difference. It was yummy!

While a box of the Gardein Pocket Meals is $4.50 compared to only $2.50 for a box of Hot/Lean Pockets, the box of Gardein Pocket Meals actually has four servings instead of two – so you come out ahead. And, from now until October 9, you can get a coupon for $1 here. Definitely a great deal for grab and go meals! (And, I love that barbecue pork is now a “grab and go” meal rather than the big mess I usually make of it.)

We made it a meatless twofer by also picking up a bag of Gardein’s 7 Grain Crispy Tenders – which were easy to pop in the toaster oven and then have along with some buffalo blue cheese dip while watching football. I love making this skinny Buffalo dip, which tastes decadent but is actually fairly healthy. I leave out the chicken but the Greek yogurt still gives it plenty of protein, and it was perfect with the tenders as dippers! I liked how crispy they got in the toaster oven, and as with the pulled pork(less), I really couldn’t tell much of a difference between Gardein and actual meat. At only 50 calories per tender, I think I may be getting more of these as an easy “cheat” food to keep on hand that’s actually fairly healthy!

I played it really simple and didn’t really go crazy with the recipes this time around – but Gardein has plenty of those if you’re feeling more ambitious than I was this weekend. Meanwhile, next time I go home I am definitely going to be stocking up on Gardein while I can use the coupon to get it at a really affordable price. I love to cook, but sometimes I just need something I can heat and go – and this fits the bill perfectly.

Happy meatless Monday!


5 thoughts on “Sponsored: Gardein BBQ Pulled Porkless Pocket Meal”

  1. I’m surprised to read that you think the ingredients in these are all recognizable and things you feel good about eating. Vital wheat gluten is the first ingredient after water, and soy protein isolate is the second. And, I am interested in why you think they are healthy. Sure they don’t have trans fats, and they aren’t as bad as eating french fries or a candy bar, but they don’t strike me as particularly healthy.

    Sorry, with bloggers that I like (and I put you high in this category), I like to think that when they are endorsing a product, they are endorsing it for the right reasons. This post comes off as a poor attempt to sell something just because you are paid to do so and comes off as rather disingenuous..

    1. Kristen, thanks so much for your comment – I am really glad you spoke up!

      I don’t avoid either gluten or soy, so to me, both of those ingredients are fine and not something I try to avoid. (Let me know if I should be looking at those more closely!) With regards to the healthy factor, I’d agree that they aren’t as healthy as home-cooked meals, but I was happy that they don’t have the chemicals I see in a lot of frozen meals/convenience foods. Plus, I think they do a good job of being meatless without tasting fake. As I mentioned, I have honestly been eating a lot of Lean Pockets lately, and the ingredients list for those starts with HFCS and then goes right on to palm oil, plus a lot of them are made with low-quality meats (e.g., pepperoni or ham, which I normally wouldn’t cook with or eat). It can be tough to strike a balance between health and convenience, and to me, these do fit that. I think maybe what I should have caveated more in my original post is that while this IS a frozen convenience food, it seems like Gardein is a lot healthier than the alternatives in that category.

      Please let me know if I’m missing something about those ingredients – I do read labels for everything I buy but also try not to go TOO crazy with what ingredients I ban. (For example, I don’t eat all-organic or only non-GMO food.) I thought that gluten and soy (in moderation) were fine, and better than a lot of binders/fillers out there. Again, I really appreciate you letting me know what you think, and hate that I came off as disingenuous 🙁

  2. I agree with you about soy and gluten being perfectly fine, but these porkless buns are highly processed food sources. And sugar appears twice in the ingredient list, three times if you include the molasses.

    If I compare the ingredients list with other frozen convenience foods that we eat fairly regularly, these may be tasty but they don’t seem healthier. For example, Original Garden Burgers are a staple in our house. Here is the ingredient list: COOKED BROWN RICE (LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WATER), BUTTON MUSHROOMS, ROLLED OATS, MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PART-SKIM MILK, CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), ONIONS, WATER, HYDRATED WHEAT BULGUR (WATER, BULGUR WHEAT), CRIMINI MUSHROOMS, SPICES, PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS, CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, SALT, ENZYMES, CULTURES, ANNATTO COLOR), CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF SALT, NATURAL FLAVORS, MODIFIED VEGETABLE GUM, GARLIC POWDER, YEAST EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, WHEY, MALTED BARLEY, ANNATTO COLOR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, ONION POWDER, MUSHROOM POWDER, GUAR GUM, ANNATTO EXTRACT (COLOR), TURMERIC EXTRACT (COLOR), SOY LECITHIN. These still are far from perfect, but the more processed ingredients are further down the list, and the ingredients in general seem more recognizable. Honestly, I’ve never eaten any of the Lean Pockets meals, so I can’t comment on those. Besides the garden burgers, most of the frozen convenience foods I eat are Trader Joe’s products, and those ingredients tend to be less processed as well.

    I definitely eat my share of junk food (yum, candy) and processed foods, it’s just a pet peeve when they are called healthy. I’m also not one to subscribe to the latest health fads — I eat gluten, don’t use coconut oil (still believe olive oil is a good choice), and don’t buy the premise behind the paleo diet.

  3. I completely forgot to tell you that I tried to find some of this fake meat at the groc store the other day and couldn’t find it for the LIFE of me. I feel like I would eat it a lot as long as it wasn’t beside the frozen pizzas (or where ever it is… you know, because I can’t seem to find it).

    1. It IS tricky to find! There seems to be a separate section in most grocery stores for vegetarian/vegan frozen foods, and that’s where I found it.

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