I know what you’re thinking: You don’t want to eat healthy because it’s bland and costly. And who has time to prepare healthy dishes that no one will eat anyway? Welcome to the 21st century, honey. Healthy is trendy, and we now have so many choices for delicious, affordable, and grab-and-go healthy food.
Aside from an increase in restaurants that serve healthy and delicious food, even a convenience store like FamilyMart makes it faster, more accessible, and more affordable for us to enjoy fresh, scrumptious, healthy meals on the go.
When you visit any of the 100 FamilyMart stores anywhere in the Philippines starting today, March 25, you’ll notice the new addition to their already impressive lineup of delicious dishes: their Health and Wellness line called Fresh n’ Lite, which I had the chance to try a few weeks ago. When I posted the photos on Instagram, some couldn’t even believe they’re convenience store food, let alone healthy meals, because they looked THAT delicious, and I guess people are not used to either healthy or convenient store food looking that good.
Of course they were all plated nicely, as they were served in a restaurant where the food tasting event was held, but I saw how the dishes all came from their FamilyMart containers and were just reheated in the microwave, so you can be sure the dishes you’re seeing and reading about on this blog post are the same ones you’ll get to try in stores starting today.
This full new line of ready-to-eat healthy meals with great flavor were conceptualized by Chef Him Uy De Baron, the Chef Consultant of FamilyMart Philippines. He walked us through each of the dishes during the tasting, highlighting the nutritional value of each, which you will also find on the packaging and includes amount of calories and fat per serving.
Eating healthy has never been this convenient—no need to spare hours to prepare when you can just grab a meal from a FamilyMart store, pop it into the microwave, and enjoy! Read on for my reviews of each dish.
1. Breakfast Beef Rice Meal, P150
Let me start with one of my favorite dishes from the Fresh n’ Lite line. It’s like your typical tapsilog, except it is generally healthier. First of all, they used lean beef cut into thinner strips that are easier to chew, also because it’s tender. It’s then seasoned with crushed black pepper and fresh pineapple juice, giving it that sweet and sour kick, but with less sugar.
Second, they used high fiber brown rice! But, they made it more palatable with the same savory sesame mayo dressing that’s also glazed on the beef. It seemed creamy and delectable somehow, almost buttery and cheesy. I couldn’t get enough of it! You almost don’t get the brown rice taste a lot of people turn away from. You get good, even flavor on both the beef and rice. This is how you indulge in breakfast food a healthier way! It even has kangkong leaves for added fiber and thin slices of scrambled egg, so you get your full tapsilog experience at just 472 calories per serving! Sulit!
2. Breakfast Chib?cken Rice Meal, P150
This is another breakfast option that’s reminiscent of your favorite chicken tocino, but with less sugar (just a pinch of healthier brown sugar). It is still sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. My first impression is it looks like sliced sausage, but it’s actually a healthy serving of well-cooked lean chicken meat and high fiber brown rice, made more palatable—the texture is smoother somehow. Both are a delight to eat. It’s also served with banana ketchup as well as kangkong on the rice, but you don’t taste it, so no worries if you’re anti-veggies.
Thankfully, all of FamilyMart’s breakfast meals are available all day, so brekky food lovers like me can indulge anytime we want.
Healthy eating doesn’t mean letting go of all carbs! The recipe for FamilyMart’s pasta dishes doesn’t readily increase blood sugar, and it’s low calorie but high in protein. This chicken pomodoro, in particular, is topped with rich and flavorful tomato sauce that has just the right acidity. The noodles are al dente and topped with chicken breast fillet marinated and steamed (not fried!) until tender. Where else can you find pasta this good at just 332 calories per serving—and at less than P100?
4. Lunch: Spanish Sardine Arabiatta, P69
This light al dente pasta is topped with rich, flavorful, and tangy tomato sauce with onions. But the star of this dish is the generous portion of Spanish sardines, which is satisfyingly salty with a slight smoky flavor that gives way to heat on your palate. Rich in calcium and protein, this meal helps enhance cells in our muscles and bones, and, as Chef Him notes, is good for pregnant women, as it also has omega-3. This one has even less calories than the pomodoro: just 320.
5. Lunch: Healthy Hainanese Chib?cken, P150
This tender poached chicken is definitely a healthier alternative to the regular fried chicken you get in other convenience stores—it’s just 173 calories per serving! It even has slices of hard boiled egg. This version of your favorite Hainanese Chib?cken comes with chili sauce made with their signature mix of spices that give it that strong Asian flavor or ginger leek sauce that gives a refreshing boost of flavor and slight heat. I really like the ginger sauce as it complemented and enhanced the chicken’s light flavor. If you can, combine both sauces.
6. Lunch: Smoked Fish Rice Meal, P150
My boyfriend loves bangus, so he’s the first person I told that he can have tinapang bangus anytime from FamilyMart! If you’re craving tinapang bangus on the go, this can be your quick fix! It’s a great option for Lent, too. I love the flavor on this one. The smoked milkfish is cooked well, with a slight crunch on the skin and salted lightly. It’s served with a healthy dose of greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and low-calorie brown rice with kangkong leaves for fiber. This hearty meal only has 275 calories!
7. Snack: Veggie Sticks with Hummus Dip, P75
If you’re craving a snack, skip chips and fries and instead reach for a pack of these crisp and fresh carrots, celery, radish, and broccoli sliced in strips for convenience, and you’ll get three times less calories than fries. With its savory hummus dip, it’s just a total of 154 calories per serving! And don’t turn up your nose on that veggie dip, as it’s seasoned with chickpeas, sesame oil, peanut butter, garlic, paprika, lemon juice, and olive oil, which give it that scrumptious taste you won’t get enough of. Now, this is how you make someone who dislikes veggies want to eat them! The chickpeas are carbs, but they’re not heavy on calories. This is one light, healthy, and delicious merienda!
8. Dinner: Kimchi Beef Rice, P175
Craving Korean for dinner—or anytime, really? Grab a Fresh n’ Lite Kimchi Beef Meal. Mixed with vegetables, these protein-packed lean beef strips are seasoned in savory sesame oil for that aunthentic Korean taste. I couldn’t stop eating the thinly cut beef, it’s really good! It’s sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and very tender. Meanwhile, the low-calorie and healthier brown rice is stirred with mayonnaise and fiber-rich kimchi, which has a slight heat and acidity.
Every spoonful gives a burst of flavor in your mouth: spicy, sweet, acidic, salty—all while giving you the right nutrients and fiber with less carbs. The combo of strong-flavored beef and bold-tasting rice makes this meal my other favorite from the lot, alongside the Breakfast Beef Rice. And all of that at 401 calories! Not bad, eh?
9. Dessert: Classic Taho, P55
While all the dishes above are filling, there’s always room for dessert! You can keep it healthy and guilt-free anyway if it’s FamilyMart’s Classic Taho. This chilled silky soya pudding topped with a little syrup (not the usual arnibal, but it’s still sweet) and sago pearls surely won’t disappoint. Whether as dessert or a sweet snack, you’ll enjoy this light, gelatinous, almost creamy soya at just 180 calories!
FamilyMart will also be releasing fruit variants of their taho, starting with the Mango flavor, so watch for those.
Want to see the packaging of each Fresh n’ Lite dish sold in FamilyMart? Click through the photo gallery below.
Insider info: If you love FamilyMart’s soft-serve ice cream, especially the bestselling green tea flavor, watch for the new flavor coming in April! They say they come up with new variants every three months.
The FamilyMart Fresh n’ Lite line is now available in all 100 Family Mart branches nationwide.
Photos by Trixie Reyna