Frozen diet meals cater to that particular — and vast — demographic of people who are at once lazy and calorie-conscious. Like some of us here. Despite common sense, we believe that we're popping a healthy and satisfying dinner in the microwave; the box show us so! That dinner looks so delicious, so fresh, doesn't it? In reality, however, it's all just a big pile of soft wet stuff that, with any luck, is at least made with "convincing" ingredients — like when the fake cheese actually tastes like real cheese. See, we're buying into the fantasy of a suitable dinner. Sound familiar? It should, because these frozen dinners are marketed to ladies like pretty much everything else: fantasy eyelashes, fantasy skin, fantasy fashion...fantasy dinners. Herewith, the reality of what eating three weeks worth of Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines actually looks like.
Meatloaf with Gravy & Whipped Potatoes, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Savory meatloaf with gravy & creamy red skin mashed potatoes."
Real talk: Beef steamed in Alli poop with a side of white stuff, the consistency of which changes the closer you get to the center.
Chicken Carbonara, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Roasted white meat chicken with fettuccini, asparagus & bacon in a creamy sauce."
Real talk: A couple of asparagus stalks and three chicken strips drowning in pus.
Tuna Noodle Gratin, Smart Ones
The box says: "Tender chunks of tuna & linguini in a creamy sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs."
Real talk: No words can actually describe what microwaved creamy tuna smells like, but if you want a hint, go jogging on a 90-degree day while you're on your period and wearing a pad, and then put your face in the crotch of your sweatpants afterward.
Salisbury Steak, Smart Ones
The box says: "In a savory onion gravy with creamy macaroni and cheese."
Real talk: Meat composite in a brown gel with a side of a Simpsons character's lower intestines.
Chicken Mediterranean, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Grilled white meat chicken, zucchini, tomatoes, and whole wheat pasta in a tomato sauce."
Real talk: The Where's Waldo? of microwavable dinner entrees: Can you spot the grilled chicken amongst the heap of spaghetti?
Cranberry Turkey Medallions, Smart Ones
The box says: "Roasted turkey medallions topped with a lightly spiced cranberry sauce served with roasted potato wedges, sliced carrots and green beans."
Real talk: A magenta gel inexplicably coats an otherwise decent mix of turkey and vegetables.
Pasta Primavera, Smart Ones
The box says: "Tender bow tie pasta with broccoli florets and julienne-cut carrots in a creamy parmesan sauce."
Real talk: Tender bow tie pasta and vibrant vegetables soaking in vaginal discharge.
Broccoli and Cheddar Roasted Potatoes, Smart Ones
The box says: "Roasted russet potatoes topped with broccoli and cheddar cheese sauce."
Real talk: Wrinkled potatoes and bendy broccoli dance to sad music in a yellow sauce.
Macaroni & Cheese, Smart Ones
The box says: "Casserole favorite bursting with cheese flavor."
Real talk: Melted yellow plastic over squishy noodles.
Salmon with Basil, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Wild salmon, whole wheat orzo pasta, spinach & carrots in a basil sauce."
Real talk: Fish chunks and carrot sticks overwhelmed by limp leaves.
Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "In a creamy seafood sauce."
Real talk: A dollar's worth of quarter-sized shrimp on top of "fiercely-real" sized angel hair pasta, in a thick broth.
Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables, Smart Ones
The box says: "Grilled white meat chicken and Asian-style vegetables in a sweet & spicy teriyaki sauce over white rice."
Real talk: One and a half broccoli tops mixed with carrot shards, red squares, sticks that resemble something that (we hope?) came from the Earth, on top of rice and chicken cubes.
Traditional Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Smart Ones
The box says: "Rich, five layer lasagna with ricotta cheese, zucchini & spinach."
Real talk: Thick cuts of pasta floating in a tomato-based soup with a radiation-toasted crust.
Swedish Meatballs, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "With pasta in a savory gravy sauce."
Real talk: Something from the second challenge of Fear Factor served with noodles.
Thai-Style Chicken, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Roasted white meat chicken in a spicy Thai-style sauce & creamy rice with toasted coconut."
Real talk: Some orange sauce with some tan "white rice" and invisible coconut shavings.
Homestyle Turkey Breast with Stuffing, Smart Ones
The box says: "With classic herb-bread stuffing, gravy and buttery vegetables."
Real talk: Wet discs of turkey with a side of wet veggies and wet stuffing.
Chicken with Lasagna Rollatini, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Lightly breaded white meat chicken with cheese lasagna rollatini in a robust tomato sauce."
Real talk: Slimy chicken and dry lasagna in a pock-marked tomato sauce.
Chicken Parmesan, Lean Cuisine
The box says: "Breaded white meat chicken patty with spaghetti in a chunky tomato basil sauce."
Real talk: Don't expect any Parmesan. Or even really much chicken.
Fettucini Alfredo, Smart Ones
The box says: "Whole grain fettucini noodles tossed with tender broccoli florets in a creamy alfredo sauce."
Real talk: Watery cream-covered limp noodles and floppy broccoli.
Ravioli Florentine, Smart Ones
The box says: "Tender ravioli filled with creamy ricotta cheese and tossed in a hearty spinach marinara sauce."
Real talk: Thick orange tomato sauce, chock full of brown spinach bits, covers these 1/8-inch thick pasta pockets.
Three Cheese Ziti Marinara, Smart Ones
The box says: "Ziti pasta in a delicious marinara sauce topped with mozzarella, monterey jack and parmesan cheese."
Real talk: Pasta e' scotta—the opposite of al dente—swimming in something similar to ketchup, with some indeterminate, stringy white stuff clinging to it.
Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans, Smart Ones
The box says: "Spicy rice & beans with a zesty green chile & sour cream sauce, topped with cheddar cheese."
Real talk: It looks the same going in as it does coming out.