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New Ways to Avoid the Take-out Trap on a Special Diet
A long, stressful day at work or canceled dinner plans is all it takes for me to toss my eat-healthier resolution out the window and dive, frazzled and hungry, for the nearest take-out menu. And a household of specific dietary needs (vegetarian for me, gluten-free for my spouse) only adds another hurdle to getting a quick, no-guilt dinner on the table. Luckily, the freezer aisle has expanded way beyond salisbury steaks and limp lasagna, to flavorful meals that also cater to special diets. Whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, you have more healthy options than ever before. Here are six brand new ones worth considering:
Evol Bean & Cheese Enchilada Bowl (vegetarian, gluten-free)
Mourning the loss of burritos on your gluten-free diet? Dry your eyes and open wide: Evol layers pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, cheddar cheese, and roasted corn between layers of corn tortillas.
Healthy Choice Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables and Rice (vegetarian)
We love the uptick in non-pasta options for vegetarians in the frozen aisle. This entrée, part of a new line inspired by Top Chef, spotlights grilled eggplant, broccoli, and tomato over barley and rice.
Amy’s Teriyaki Wrap (vegan, gluten-free)
Take a break from Amy’s much-beloved mac-and-cheese and try this tasty mix of organic tofu, brown rice, and broccoli. The wheat-free wrap, made from rice and garbanzo flours, has a rich flavor and slightly spongy texture, which keeps the filling moist.
Helen’s Kitchen Veggie Potsticker Bowl (vegan)
The nutrition is great (11 grams of protein, seven grams of fiber, and two servings of organic vegetables) but the flavors are even better: Plump potstickers in a sweet tamari sauce, atop sugar snap peas, carrots, edamame and brown rice.
Lean Cuisine Ranchero Braised Beef (gluten-free)
The hearty portion of chipotle mashed sweet potatoes may have been intended as a side dish, but it deserves co-star billing -- the potatoes are that good. My spouse particularly liked the braised beef's spicy red chile and jalapeno sauce. (Note: While nothing in the ingredient list contains gluten, this meal isn't certified gluten-free.)
Caesar’s Spinach Gnocchi (vegan, gluten-free)
In the amount of time it would take you to zap a TV dinner, you can prep these tender spinach gnocchi, made from rice flour and free of casein and soy. Buon appetito!