Hot Pockets versus Lean Pockets

2008-04-18 Hot Pockets Cheese Burger Front_Page_1


2008-04-18 Lean Pockets Cheese Burger Front_Page_1

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).

Nutrition comparison

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.

2008-04-18 Hot Pockets Cheese Ham Front_Page_1

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.


Anonymous said...

Jim Gaffigan: Have you ever had the Hot Pocket Hot Pocket? It’s Hot Pocket inside a Hot Pocket. Tastes just like a Hot Pocket

Jim Gaffigan: Lean Pockets, I don't even wanna know what's in those. I wonder what the directions are on a box of Lean Pockets: 'Remove from box, place directly in toilet.' Flush Pocket.

Jim Gaffigan: Have you ever had the Hot Pocket Hot Pocket? It’s Hot Pocket inside a Hot Pocket. Tastes just like a Hot Pocket.

Sorry I love Jim Gaffigans take on the hotpocket, I wanted to bring some smiles your way. Hot pocket!

SheR. said...

Ah I knew it those diet meals are just not as good as it advertise them to be!
I prefer everything full fat! I don't cheat myself or my body! :P

Have a good weekend!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this! I am currently addicted to the Taco Hot Pockets. My son opted for the Lean Chicken Fajitas.

He said that they tasted like bad breath, LOL.

But anyway, I'm happy to know that I'd only be saving 30 calories by switching to lean (I actually only eat one at a time.)

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I don't buy any diet stuff is the high fructose corn syrup in much of it. For me, it really does have an effect on my body (not in a good way, dang it!). The HF corn syrup sounds innocuous by name, but it is chemically not good for you. Not trying to change your way of life. Just a comment. :)

Anonymous said...

In my experience, diet foods aren't really necessary. They rarely taste good, and they're expensive. I just solved the problem by learning to do some cooking so I could make my own healthy, good tasting food.

Lex Valentine said...

I love Diet Dr. Pepper for the very reason that it doesn't taste diet. The other diet soda we drink is Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Yum.

Cromely said...

Rachel: Gaffigan is a genius. Plus it's great that he's been so successful with "clean" material. His Hot Pocket song does get stuckin my head.

sher.: Fat makes food worth eating. And that little word diet moves a shocking amount of product.

angelika: That sounds about right for chicken fajita hot pockets.

carol: I'm not really an anti-HFCS person, but I do know that Coke with real sugar (available at Costco (bottled in Mexico apparently)) is significantly better than regular Coke with HCFS.

Adam: Sadly there isn't really a short cut, is there?

winter: The Canada Dry stuff is great. For a while we couldn't even get it in Western Washington due to some problems with the distributor.

Anonymous said...

Oh Man, I wish we would have read your post before dinner. I just wasted 280 calories on a Lean Pocket CHeeseburger. SO not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Take a Nutrition Class buddy, then rewrite this...

Amy said...

If you're going to criticize, please enlighten. What nutritional information do you think is incorrect in this post?