Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Need to EatWell!--Fresh & Easy Product Review

I really need to take better care of myself. It is now 3 weeks into a very stubborn upper respiratory infection. I thought I was on the road to recovery last week and felt well enough to go a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market blogger event last Thursday. Then Friday afternoon, like a ton of bricks, it hit me again with coughing and sneezing so bad that I actually sought the advice of a medical professional on Saturday (Thank you for taking my insurance CVS MinuteClinic!). I think part of the problem is that, ever since the fitness club fiasco, I've been eating badly nonstop. I was so upset that I went into comfort food eating overdrive. I told Stewart I would never exercise again and it was my new goal to weigh 500 lbs. I think at one point there were 10 bags of potato chips in the house. My body did not like this, hence the weakened immunity. I've realized that I need to stop.

The Fresh & Easy event jumpstarted my journey back to health and fitness. At the event we did a tasting of its new brand of healthier ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh, prepared foods called EatWell. The 17 varieties of ready-to-eat and heat prepared meals and sides in the new EatWell line includes salads and ethnic dishes, such as the Singapore Style Noodles and the Latin Arroz Con Pollo meal. Most of the EatWell items will retail for about $3.99 and slightly below, accept for a couple of higher-end fresh salmon ready-meals - a 12 ounce Honey Dijon Salmon entree and a 12 ounce Teriyaki Salmon meal - which will sell for about $4.99 each. I really liked that the EatWell brand ready-meals and side-dishes contain less than 25% of the average daily requirement in fat, sodium, and calorie contents, based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. A lot of prepared foods definitely go over that in the sodium content to make it palatable. My favorite at the tasting was the spicy tuna sushi square--who knew that brown rice, roasted edamame, gingered carrots and spicy tuna would be so good!

Fresh & Easy has stores in Arizona, California and Nevada. It is a sub
sidiary of the U.K.'s Tesco stores. I used to shop at Tesco all the time during my junior-year abroad, so when I heard it was coming to California, I knew I had to check it out. It really is a neighborhood market, a bit bigger than the independent mom-and-pop bodegas you have in NYC but a lot smaller than Vons (Safeway) or Ralphs (Kroger). Smaller means they won't have 12 different kinds of anything, mostly one or two, but it definitely means those one or two will consistently cost less than in the big supermarkets. I always get orange juice there because Tropicana is $2.99 (regular price!) or sometimes on special for 2/$5. The big stores rarely have that kind of deal these days, what with the problems Florida has been having with its orange crops. Fresh & Easy is also the only place I can get Stewart's favorite potato chips--Corazones, cholesterol lowering chips. He could eat that all day and night, touting its health benefits.

I really enjoyed the blogger event also because I was able to connect with other mom bloggers and people who work at Fresh & Easy. Some of the mom bloggers live so far away (I finally know where the Valley is!) that I don't get to see them that much. So getting together to eat healthy food was even more gratifying. I was also very impressed with the people representing Fresh & Easy. I've rarely met a group of people so enthusiastic about where they work (and most of them were not in the PR department) and the products they sell (99% of F&E products are free of high fructose corn syrup and they're working to get it to 100%). I tried to capture their spirit with a photo of the team. If you have a store near you, check out the weekly specials on the website, and don’t forget to sign up for coupons to take with you. They usually email $5 off $25 and $10 off $50 purchase every couple weeks. See you in the grocery aisle!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I attended an event and received a gift bag.

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