Healthy Choice meals improve diet quality, research finds

OMAHA, Neb. — ConAgra is emphasizing the use of its Healthy Choice frozen meals to improve the quality of one's diet and overall well-being.

The company sponsored two 30-day research studies that explored how weight loss can be influenced by using portion-controlled Healthy Choice meals. As part of a reduced-calorie eating plan that incorporated walking for physical activity, study participants replaced at least 10 meals per week with Healthy Choice frozen meals. One study focused on eating the meals primarily for lunch, while the second study utilized Healthy Choice mainly as a dinner replacement. Both studies achieved similar results: Participants lost an average of 6 lbs. and experienced a reduction in waist circumference by about 1 in. Additionally, despite the decrease in calories, participants significantly improved the quality of their overall diets by increasing dietary fiber, reducing saturated fat intake by 50% and by consuming 30% less cholesterol and sodium.

The studies, which were conducted by James Rippe, founder and director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, were presented at the 2011 Experimental Biology Conference in Washington, D.C.

"[This research] reinforces the fact that portion control is fundamental to successful weight loss," said Mark Andon, VP nutrition at ConAgra Foods. "What's exciting is that study participants enjoying portion-controlled Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch or dinner not only improved the quality of their diets; they also reported an increased sense of well-being, having more energy and feeling healthier after just 30 days. And they said it was easy to do with the range of delicious Healthy Choice varieties."

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