A Love Letter To Lean Cuisine: I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today Without You


We have become friends over the last five years of my early adulthood. To me, you have been a fast and easy way to borderline-responsible eating for my millennial self who is constantly on the go. You have been with me through thick and thin (literally), and here is my dedication to you on the internet.

Unfortunately, this is not sponsored content. I am just nuts enough to write an article about my questionable eating habits.

First of all, Leany (can I call you that?), you helped me lose weight. It’s true. I used to be like 20 pounds heavier than I am now. I love food, but food doesn’t love me. Lunch is my favorite meal of the day, and while I love to indulge on Thai food or pizza, it just can’t happen in my life. Forcing myself to eat portioned, small meals can be hard, but you make it easy. You helped me establish a routine, and with the routine, the weight came off. Now I can have Thai food for lunch, but I don’t want it because it makes me feel too full and kind of gross.

As someone who is absolutely NOT a morning person, I appreciate you for how quick and easy it is to throw your cute little box in my work bag. Sometimes I wonder if people on the bus see inside my bag and think, “Oh look at that cute little box. Thai-style noodles? She must be efficient, cost effective and careful about what she eats!” And I only say this because I am so short that everyone can see inside of my bag and am constantly looking for validation. Thank you for making me feel lean and mean, Lean Cuisine. I purposely made that rhyme. I hope you appreciate it.

Lean Cuisine, you are also the best drunk food. Yes – I stumble home from a night out, and I am just RAVENOUS. I want all of the food. Give it to me. Give it to me in my mouth. But then I tell myself, “No, no. You must not drunk-eat pizza or hot dogs or anything that could possibly have horrendous repercussions. No.” So I slam down a Lean Cuisine like a champ and go off to sleep with a full tummy. And if there is anything I could ask for besides pizza, it would be a portioned serving of chicken rigatoni with a full cup of vegetables. The next morning, I am usually like, “What hangover? Thank you, Creamy Basil Chicken with Tortellini. I love you forever, bae.”

Lean Cuisine, I owe my lack of hangovers to you. I don’t think I can thank a product enough for helping me to avoid singing into my friend, Mr. Toilet Bowl.

Lean Cuisine, ever since I was a child, I have hated “traditional” lunches. Sandwich? Nope. Salad? Throw that overpriced bag of leaves in the trash. I am a fiend for a mid-day warm meal, and Lean Cuisine, you allow me to have that for a mean $3.50. Yes, my friends. A couple bucks gives you a warm meal in your belly and new life into your glazed eyeballs that have been staring at a computer screen for far too long. Might I add, that throwing fresh vegetables into the Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese Lean Cuisine is probably the best discovery I have made in my weird, little life?

I want to bask in your smell, Lean Cuisine. The smell of generic pasta sauce surrounds me as I wait for my baked ziti to complete its process in the microwave oven. You know when someone has made a Lean Cuisine, and your pupils open up because you are around by the smell. It is disgusting because it doesn’t really smell like any pasta sauce that you would get at a restaurant or anything remotely like that old Sicilian recipe that your grandma executes with perfection. But you are automatically alerted to the smell of a Lean Cuisine, and it turns you on because that means it is FOOD TIME. Nothing is better than eating. NOTHING.

Lean Cuisine, you made it easy to feed myself even in the laziest of fashions. Sometimes I am mad that it takes too short of a time to cook you up because I truly enjoy the cooking process. I cook a lot, actually. But you, you are there to save me when I am far too lazy or busy to actually make a wonderful home cooked meal. Thank you for saving me on these days.

Lean Cuisine, you are a savior for my busy life. You are a weird way that I get my nutrition. You sometimes have questionable ingredients, but I don’t care – who doesn’t love a little mystery? I consider myself your spokesperson for the Chicagoland area as I flaunt around a basket full of 10 boxes of frozen entrees awaiting to be feasted upon (they were like 5 for $10 at Jewel, you guys). I coyly mention you when I am trying to impress coworkers with my eating habits. You are there in the middle of the night, you are there when I have like 20 minutes to eat before I have rehearsal and a show and a bunch of other things to do on top of my full time job. You are always, always there.

So Lean Cuisine, next time you package up your beautifully crafted meal of a self, just imagine me skipping down the streets of Chicago, proudly waving my Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli in the air like I just don’t care. Because I would scream it from the rooftops, Lean Cuisine. I would. I love you.