I'm not one to eschew diet foods just because they are diet foods. I avoid them because most of them taste nasty.
There are some products, though, where the diet version is just as good as the regular version. Dr. Pepper is like that. I honestly can't taste any difference between Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper. In that case, why not buy the diet version?
This brings me to the question of the day: is there a difference between Hot Pockets and the leaner Lean Pockets?
My GF and I gave it a try with the cheeseburger version. I microwaved one of each and let her try to taste the difference. Unfortunately, it was obvious which was the diet version. It was pale and limp looking. The regular version may not have looked healthy with the cheese-like product oozing out the seam, but it certainly appeared tasty.
We both tried each version and came to the same conclusion. The filling tastes pretty much the same, but the bread (or hot pocket pocket) was quite different. The Lean bread was rather nasty. It was spongy and overly sweet.
So sadly Lean Pockets do not taste nearly as good as Hot Pockets.
Should I eat the lean version anyway to save the calories? According to the nutritional information, that would be stupid.
Here is a comparison among Cheeseburger Hot Pockets, Cheeseburger Lean Pockets, and Ham & Cheese Hot Pockets (which are awesome).
Click here for a larger version
There are a few interesting things there. First of all, there are two servings per container. That means one serving equals one hot pocket.
Are they kidding? One Hot Pocket is not a serving. It's half a serving. When you put two items in the box like that, you know your customers are going to cook and eat them both at once. What are they thinking?
Are they trying to artificially lower the calorie count? Do they think that Hot Pocket customer actual cares about the calories? If they did, they wouldn't be eating microwavable frozen treats.
Is that really going to influence their purchasing decision versus other freezer case snacks? Do they expect me to make one Hot pocket and then put the other one back in the freezer? Do they even know me at all?
So how much do I save with the Lean Pockets?
The traditional Cheeseburger Hot Pocket is 310 calories per [sigh] serving. The Cheeseburger Lean Pockets are 280 calories each.
So with all that focus on being a lean, healthy alternative, they save only 30 calories. I'm pretty sure I can work off those 30 calories ranting at my keyboard.
Not only is the calorie savings minimal, the Lean Pockets have more carbohydrates than the regular Hot Pockets (40 g vs. 37 g).
The Lean Pockets do have less fat (7 g vs. 13 g) but is that enough reason to switch to Lean?
Considering the nasty taste of the bread and minimal calorie savings, the answer it no. Stick with the real stuff.
Actually, don’t. The Cheeseburger ones aren't that great anyway. Instead go for the classic Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets. Not only are these tastier than the Cheeseburger ones, they are also lower in calories. The Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets have just 290 calories per pocket. That's 20 fewer than Cheeseburger Hot Pockets, and only 10 more than Cheeseburger Lean Pockets.
Here's how the three things rank on health:
- Cheeseburger Hot Pocket: Bad
- Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket: Bad
- Cheeseburger Lean Pocket: Of course it's still bad for you. It's a frozen microwave meat pie.
Here's how they rank on taste:
- Cheeseburger Hot Pocket: Ok.
- Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket: Awesome
- Cheeseburger Lean Pocket: Awful
I knew reading labels would only depress me.