Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Irresistibles Life Smart Meatloaf

Healthy options. Ha! I've tried out five healthy-options lately. You know what it's given me? Hypertension, stress, angry sweats and the ability to poop on command. Is all of that really worth it in the long run? Is my sense of self-worth connected directly to my body image? Have I finally become a fifteen year old girl?

Whoa, whoa, keep it together Jordan. Ok, like I said, I've done five of these allegedly healthy frozen dinners already, and I don't have much out of it. They're bland, and they're almost as bad for you as the normal meals. So, here we go, another crap-fest. This time, in the form of Irresistables Life Smart Meatloaf.

I hope this is a smart idea.
I hope this is a smart idea.

Now, as you might (but probably don't) recall from my review of Stouffer's Large Portion Meatloaf, I don't have a lot of exposure to meatloaf, and I'm not too big on it either. I don't know what it is about meatloaf. It just sort of rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it's the fact that it's basically a big meatball covered in ketchup.

Ever seen a meatball that could take a bite out of you?
Ever seen a meatball that could take a bite out of you?

One other thing that worries me is that I'd never heard of the Irresistibles brand when I picked this up. Turns out that it's supposed to be a 'premium' store brand for a grocery store named Metro, which I had never heard of either. Instead, I bought this at a discount grocery store because it usually carries products that are a little...let's just say...less than quality.

So, what we have is a food I dislike, in a format I dislike, from a store I dislike, but with a brand that's supposed to be very good. I'm a little conflicted right now.

But how exactly can meatloaf be healthy? From the box it looks that there's a nice big piece in there, and with mashed potatoes to boot! That looks like a pretty unhealthy combination!

Well, looks can be deceiving...I won't get into it right yet, but Irresistibles, or who ever the hell they are, made some alterations to the normal ingredient list. Instead of cutting the portions down to 2/3rds the normal size, like a lot of the other meals I've reviewed in the past few months, they just changed the damn recipe. I would have loved to see the looks on the executives' faces when they realized that they can do that.

"Wait a doesn't have to be crap?"
"Wait a doesn't have to be crap?"

Out of habit, I flipped the box over to see how the sodium content compared with everything else I had reviewed recently. I mean, it's been salt city lately! This has to be bad right?

Irresistibles Life Smart Meatloaf
440 mg
Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers Cajun Chicken & Shrimp
570 mg
Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Carbonara
630 mg
WeightWatchers Smart Ones Breakfast Quesadilla
660 mg
Michelina's Harmony Chicken Caesar
670 mg
President's Choice Blue Menu Roast Turkey with Vegetables
720 mg

So, there you have it. Our final count in this comedy of errors. As it turns out, this meal has less sodium in it than any of the other ones. Well over 100 mg less in all cases. And the three saltiest? President's Choice Blue Menu Roast Turkey with Vegetables, Michelina's Harmony Chicken Caesar and WeightWatchers Smart Ones Breakfast Quesadilla.

Cook time is fairly straight forward. Lift plastic off corner, nuke for 5 minutes, eat. And while that's cooking: the rules.

  • Rule #1:
    I must follow cooking procedures exactly as they're shown on the container. I will not deviate from those instructions in any way, and I must prepare food in the fastest manner presented to me.
  • Rule #2:
    I must consume everything that comes with the meal. No hiding of disgusting parts will be tolerated. (In the unlikely event of bones or other inedibles, allowances will be made).
  • Rule #3:
    To make sure my palate is completely free of obstructions, I may only be allowed either water or alcohol. Alcohol does not include fancy-pants fruity girly drinks.
  • Rule #4:
    All food will be graded by smell, taste and mouthfeel, with less offensive qualities receiving higher marks. At the end, each part is receives an average score. The full meal is graded by the average score of each component. Appearance of the food is not graded because, let's face it, they all look pretty bad.
Hey, that almost looks like real food!
Hey, that almost looks like real food!

Wait...what's that on the top of the food. Is that...parsley? Wow. A+ for presentation there. That's the first time I've ever seen parsley, or any kind of garnish for that matter on a frozen dinner. Gotta give a tip of the hat there. Too bad presentation doesn't mean anything, but still...good job there.

Well, time to dig in!


Ahhh meatloaf. I don't like you very much. You with your meat and your breading and your ketchup on top. You're like what a little kid would make if they had access to a piping hot oven, a kitchen full of food, dangerous tools and no adult supervision whatsoever. A piece of ground beef smothered with ketchup. Lovely.

Meatloaf: It's like a meatball smothered in ketchup.
Meatloaf: It's like a meatball smothered in ketchup.

Now, interestingly enough, Irresistibles altered the normal recipe by cutting the usual breadcrumbs with flax seed powder. Flax seed helps you poop, which I guess is healthy, unless you're doing it for a lonely Japanese businessman in exchange for money. Then pooping isn't healthy, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Well, it smells kind of sort of meaty, in a second-hand kind of way, and there's a definite smell of some spices and tomato sauce. Checking the ingredients list again, it appears that ketchup was unable to make it to today's performance and has been replaced with its understudy: tomato sauce. I doubt if that's really much healthier, but at least it's not ketchup.

I'm at a bit of a loss to describe the taste. It's meaty, yes, but it has another taste in there. Where have I had this before? It's beans! It tastes like beans in tomato sauce. The kind you get in the can that comes with the scary-looking piece of pork on the top. That's what this meatloaf tastes like.

Wait, isn't meatloaf supposed to taste like meat? Well, at least it feels like it's meat. So, that's something I guess. It's like I've stepped into the Twilight Zone, where meat tastes like beans and beans taste like...well, I don't have a tin of beans anywhere around here, but you can bet your sweet ass, I'm going to get one ASAP and see what they taste like. I'm betting on macaroons.

Smell: 4/10
Taste: 2/10
Mouthfeel: 9/10
Total Score: (3.0/10)

Potato Topping
You'd never guess that this was once flakes.
You'd never guess that this was once flakes.

Ok, I thought these were mashed potatoes at first, but the box insists that they're a 'potato topping'. I'm not sure what qualifies them as such, other than the fact that the potatoes used in here appear to have taken a round-about path getting to their final destination.

The potatoes being used are actually dehydrated potato flakes. That's what instant mashed potatoes and snow in the movies is made from.

I don't know if this is common practice or not. I don't usually read the ingredients, so I can't say with any certainty. It is pretty strange though if you think about it. Potato is harvested, washed, flaked, dehydrated, stored, shipped, reconstituted and then placed in a plastic dish before being flash frozen. Them spuds have put in some miles.

If I hadn't seen that bit about them being dehydrated flakes at one point, I could have never told you. Although, that's not surprising. Make up a batch of instant mashed potatoes one day and serve them to your family, but don't let them know that they aren't real. Odds are, they can't tell and they'll rave about your kickass potatoes. That's the funny thing about those flakes...done right, you'll never know.

Now, these smell like potatoes, mostly. They're still somewhat muted. They taste and feel like real mashed potatoes though, with none of the wallpaper paste consistency that you normally get in frozen dinners. I even think I had a lump in there, but I think that was just a piece of corn and I was imagining things.

Smell: 7/10
Taste: 9/10
Mouthfeel: 9/10
Total Score: (8.3/10)

Vegetable Blend
The potatoes went everywhere, like vegetable mortar.
The potatoes went everywhere, like vegetable mortar.

Finally, we come to the vegetable blend. And, this time it's actually a blend, and not just corn and peas like most meals or just made up entirely out of corn, like some meals I could mention.

This time, 'vegetable blend' means a combination of peas, corn, green beans and carrots: the holy trinity of frozen dinner vegetation...and carrots.

The veggies are moist, but not wet, and don't have the sickly sweet smell and flavor that comes with canning. They taste like vegetables and smell like vegetables.

I wish I could write more, but they're just freaking vegetables. I'm just happy that a black widow spider wasn't hiding in there, waiting for its chance to bite me.

Smell: 7/10
Taste: 9/10
Mouthfeel: 8/10
Total Score: (8.0/10)

The Totals:

Smell: 6.0/10
Taste: 7.6/10
Mouthfeel: 8.6/10
Total Score: (7.4/10)

Well, there you have it. I think that this was probably the best out of all of the healthy options. It didn't seem like they were skimping on anything, and the few little things they did, like adding more vegetables and cutting the meatloaf with more fibre probably did more to make this 'healthy' than cutting the portions did on some of the other meals.

As scary as this sounds: I might actually have this one again.

Bottom line is this: Can you believe they put parsley on this thing? What's next? Little radish flowers?

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