Nutrisystem Review and #Giveaway

I found a great site to get the inside scoop and reviews for as seen on TV products - are they really worth the money you spend?  Do they live up to their claims?  Check them out on TV Top Ten before you buy!  One of the product claims that I regularly see is for Nutrisystem, so when I was asked to review something for TV Top Ten, I thought it would be a great chance to see just what comes to you.  

I am not part of a Nutrisystem blogging program, I just received a sample selection of their shelf stable foods for review.

The first thing that I noticed when I opened the kit is that the serving size is much smaller than I usually make for myself - meaning that I can learn from their serving size and make that work in my own diet.  The second thing I did was check for sodium content - and I was right - their shelf stable foods, particularly the dinners were quite high in sodium for the size of the serving.  One of the issues that my family often faces as we age is high blood pressure, and in my quest to avoid that fate I really watch the amount of sodium I allow myself.

I had asked my contact at TV Top Ten to make sure that I could eat everything, so I had requested no chocolate or coffee flavors. 

I received 5 items to try:

Pancakes (breakfast)
Macaroni with Beef (dinner)
Chicken and Dumplings (dinner)
Chili with Beans (dinner)
Lemon & Blueberry snack bar (snack)

I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed by my selections.  As I mentioned before, the products, particularly the dinners were quite high in sodium.  There was also a lack of balance in available fruits and vegetables in the meals.
The Chicken and Dumplings meal, while very quick to prepare (just 3 minutes total) had 2 small pieces of carrot, several chewy dumplings that reminded me more of gnocci than dumplings and a few large pieces of chicken in gravy.  I would have loved to have seen more vegetables and less dumplings.

The Macaroni and Cheese with Beef was similar to a cup o'noodles that needed to be reconstituted - this turned me right off and I actually wouldn't eat it.  I have never eaten Kraft Dinner either - powdered cheese isn't really cheese in my book - so this was a definite non-starter for me - again no vegetables to be seen.

My favorite of the dinners was the Chili with Beans - this looked the most like a meal I might make for myself - just a smaller portion, although I would have done things to mitigate the 800 mg of sodium present if I had made it for myself.  This entree also contained the least number of unpronounceable ingredients, so was probably the most appealing for that reason.

The pancakes were okay, and I liked that I could just make 2 pancakes for myself without having to make a whole batch for my family, but I found them sweeter than I normally make and since I only make pancakes on special occasions, I'd probably opt for my homemade ones.

My favorite thing of all was the Lemon Blueberry bar - this was a great snack - filling and flavorful and it was just the right size for an afternoon snack pick me up.

I think that my expectations for the dinners was based on previous experience with frozen or ready-to-eat meals and I was expecting more vegetables - I think that the Nutrisystem program could be something for me to invest in, particularly if I opt for more of the frozen/fresh options rather than the shelf-stable ones, but I think I'm just more of a cook than an eater and since I'd still have to prepare meals for Wayne and the kids, it might not be the long term option for me.

This would be a great plan for someone who is single or very busy, but as a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys finding healthy and yummy recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, I think that this would be a hard program to stick to, if I'm cooking for everyone else.  I think too, that I would need to commit to trying it for a month, rather than just sampling to know for sure whether it would work.   I am really glad I tried it out, just because I could see the serving sizes.

Is Nutrisystem something you've been thinking about trying out?  Want to get a sample kit similar to mine?
The winner for the giveaway will receive the following to try:
  • Black Bean Tortilla Soup
  • Lasagna with Meat Sauce
  • Egg Frittata
  • Apple Granola Bar
  • Fudge Brownie

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian Residents only
Mandatory Entry must be completed before other entries count.
Each entry must be made as a SEPARATE COMMENT
Giveaway will end on April 10th, 2011 at 11:59 PM and the winner will be chosen by 
and announced on Acting Balanced and contacted by email.
The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Mandatory Entry:
Visit TV Top Ten and tell me which Nutrisystem Program most interests you

Bonus Entries

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+3 Bonus Entry - Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post
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+1 tweet this phrase (up to 3x per day, at least 1 hour apart)
"#WIN a @TVtopten Nutrisystem Sample Pack from @chascouponmom at Acting Balanced  #giveaway ends 4/11 "

Disclaimer: I received this product at no charge for the purpose of completing my review.  All opinions are my own.