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Hungry Man XXL Meals - Bigger Ain't Always Better

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

People... people... people... I hope you aren't falling for the you-chomped-a-mouthful marketing trend of "EXCESS Is BEST!" Lord, I know it's appealing. Just last week, as I stood in the checkout at the local Wal-Mart Superstore,

I found myself coveting my neighbor's cart of prepackaged foods. I'm talking about the new line of Swanson dinners... the HUNGRY-MAN XXL entrees like the 1,000-calorie fried chicken colossus I now have in my freezer.

Come on now... let's get real people. This line of prepackaged meals is aimed at the pig in us. In addition to the huge XXL (as in extra, extra large), the eye-catching blue and gold packages sport the boast: 1 1/2 lbs. of food! If that ad copy doesn't hook you, just check out the back of the box. Next to the image of a tight-shirted, finger-pointing guy is the oversized quote: "I know what I like, and I like a lot of it." Forgive me for providing you with one more memorable tagline: "It's Good To Be Full."

Ladies and gentlemen, I must ask... HAVE WE ALL GONE MAD!? Seriously, there is a worldwide obesity epidemic. More than 6 out of 10 Americans are overweight. Spit out the food and repeat after me: WE ARE EATING TOO MUCH!

OK... sorry... I don't want you to think I am some sort of Food Nazi. Today's message: proper portion size. Swanson by no means is the sole food manufacturer guilty of stuffing us with far too much of what we want. I don't know about you, but I clearly recall the joy -- yes, joy -- of getting my very own TV dinner way back in the early '70s. As one of seven children, it seemed oh, so decadent to have my very own meal... a meal that came in a nifty little aluminum tray. The original Swanson TV dinner packed no more than 350 calories -- it was an oven-to-table dish that served up about a third to a fourth of the calories you and I need over an average day.

Zoom ahead 25 years. These XXL versions of that classic dinner are belly busters that'll sock you with nearly a full day's worth of fat and calories AND more than one day's worth of salt! The above-mentioned Southern Fried Boneless Chicken offering (a heavy disappointment if you ask me due to its lack of corn or a dessert) has 1,010 calories, 41 grams of fat (8 saturated), 155mg cholesterol, a stunning 3,180mg sodium, and 85 grams carbohydrates.

The XXL Roasted Carved Turkey sports 970 calories, 40 grams of fat (12 saturated), 105mg cholesterol, 3,600mg sodium and 106 grams of carbs.

The XXL Angus Beef Meatloaf has 860 calories, 48 grams of fat (20 saturated), 140mg cholesterol, 3,480mg sodium and 70grams of carbs.

The XXL line includes double helpings of cheeseburger and meatball sandwiches. Eat just one of the two cheeseburgers and you'll fill up on 730 calories, 43 grams of fat (17 saturated), 86mg cholesterol, 1,450mg sodium and 56 grams of carbs. Each meatball sandwich contains 640 calories, 33 grams of fat (11 saturated), 60mg cholesterol, 2,160mg sodium and 60 grams of carbs.

Swanson isn't alone in this quest to kill our diets. Banquet, a company that boasts "America's #1 Frozen Brand (presumably of turkey dinners), is hawking "Double The Meat" entrees in its new Hearty One line of meals. The turkey ("mostly white meat") choice not only provides 17 ounces of food, but also 620 calories, 32 grams of fat (8 saturated), 80mg cholesterol, 2,250mg sodium and 54 grams of carbs.

As a young man, I gobbled many a Banquet boil-in-a-bag turkey and gravy dinners. Too many Hearty One meals will boil my diet resolve!

Banquet's boneless pork rib has 670 calories, 34 grams of fat (12 saturated), 105mg cholesterol, 1,790mg sodium and 57 grams of carbs.

The Salisbury steak selection oozes 630 calories, 40 grams of fat (15 saturated), 65mg cholesterol, 2,300mg sodium and 44 grams of carbs.

In other words, The Hearty Ones are a banquet in a box.

Do you want to learn more about proper portion control and losing weight effectively? Click here and give eDiets a look. I guarantee we will leave a nice taste in your mouth and a not-so-full feeling in your belly!

Bon appetite!


There are two snacks that I can think of that isn't one of your everyday cravings. One, which I happen to like, is a slice of rye bread with liverwurst, hot mustard, pickles and potato chips. TERRIBLE. The other comes from an old friend of my grandma's. She would buy a bucket -- yes, a bucket -- of lard and when she wanted a snack she would take a slice of bread and spread that plain lard over the top... right out of the bucket!! And that's it!! Into her mouth it goes...ACKKKKK!

My favorite breakfast every morning before going to grade school was a bowl of grits smothered with apple sauce and then covered with scrambled bulk breakfast sausage. YUM!! But my cousin took it one step further. He covered his grits with grape jelly. YUCK!! What a difference the fruit makes.:)
Cheryl Holley-Stanton

An old friend's most favorite meal is pea soup with canned peaches mixed in. Looks just like barf. Yum, yum!

My sister has two really nasty snacks she indulges in. The first is a big helping on vanilla ice cream topped with mustard. The second is vanilla ice cream mixed in with broccoli and cheese!

There used to be a truck stop near the Alabama-Mississippi line called the Roadrunner. My Mother and I once stopped there and each ordered an open-faced steak sandwich. We both gasped when the waitress came out with two platters. Each "serving" consisted of two pieces of Texas toast (toasted with butter, of course). On top of each piece of toast sat a country-fried steak. These were surrounded by a nest of french fried potatoes and the whole of it (fries included) were smothered with sautéed onions, mushrooms and brown gravy. It tasted delicious but there were enough calories there to sustain two Alaskan gold miners on a January day.
Stacye Hathorn


I am sorry to see that you gave in to the PC crowd! Your article on the Mourning of Common Sense was a gem!! I will admit that it was a little different to find it in the middle of the eDiets newsletter, but it was a very pleasant surprise. To anyone who is offended, or who can't see the glimmers of truth in this, I say, "Get a life!" The fact that we have gotten to the point of large groups of people being "offended" and more concerned about being "tolerant" is proof that Common Sense has truly died in this country. A sorry state of affairs! Thank goodness I emailed this to friends and made copies before you pulled it out of the newsletter.

After reading your column on the fad diets, diet pills, etc. and rapid weight loss, I wanted to share a little info or perhaps a warning of sorts. For all the readers that are taking diet pills that result in rapid weight loss, beware. My father-in-law was recently ill with pancreas-related problems. Although he is not dieting, he has lost 34 pounds in a little over a month. His weight loss was a result of his illness and not really eating due to food not tasting good, but it was still rapid weight loss. Last week he went to the doctor for pain in his legs. The doctor explained that after his severe and rapid weight loss, he has extreme nerve damage in one leg and mild in the other. This condition is treatable thank goodness but nonetheless, it is a very serious condition. Just wanted to warn everyone of a side effect of rapid weight loss that is not mentioned very much. Thanks. I enjoy your column very much.

It's about time people started discovering these so-called meat analogs. Near this monastery in China (where meat was traditionally banned) I had the best meal ever all using things like tofu, vegetables, and even mushrooms as substitutes. I couldn't tell the difference and it was definitely the most delicious meal I had.
Jenny Hua


A man rushes into a tavern and shouts to the bartender, "Quick, pour me five shots of your finest scotch." The bartender complies and the man gulps down the five shots in rapid succession. "Man, that's the quickest I ever saw anyone drink," says the bartender. The patron responds, "Well, if you had what I have you'd drink fast too." The bartender says, "Omigod, what do you have?" The customer answers, "Fifty cents."

Encore... encore...

Lost on a rainy night, a nun stumbles across a monastery and requests shelter there. Fortunately, she was just in time for dinner and was treated to the best fish and chips she'd ever had. After dinner, she goes into the kitchen to thank the chefs. She is met by two brothers. One robe-wearing fellow proclaims: "Hello, I'm Brother Michael, and this is Brother Charles." She notes, "I'm very pleased to meet you. I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful dinner. The fish and chips were the best I've ever tasted. Out of curiosity, though, I wonder who cooked what?" Brother Charles replied, "Well, I'm the fish friar." She turns the other brother and says, "Then you must be...?" He butts in with, "Yes, I'm afraid I'm the chip monk."
Sent in by reader Julie Ell

Until next week, the kitchen is closed. But if you have any questions and/or comments -- or a tasteful joke to share -- feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at

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