I Ate Nothing But Hot Pockets For A Week, And The Results Legit Shocked Me

hot pockets diet

If you asked anyone close to me to describe my personality in one word, I’d bet money that they wouldn’t say “adventurous.” I’m not fond of roller coasters, believe that any sort of camping experience would include death by bear attack, and have pretty much maintained the same haircut since junior year of college. Which was well over a decade ago. Seriously — every time I think, “This is the day for lilac streaks!”, I come out with the same safe haircut and color.

But food challenges? Those I can do. Back in the day, I challenged myself to go vegan for a week for an article. It was tough, yet rewarding — so really, pat those vegans on the back for staying strong. Imagine the fire in my soul when the editors over at So Yummy asked if I’d take on a similar challenge.

But this time, meals would be a little easier to put together. In fact, some might say a little too easy.

I chose to see if I could last on a diet of Hot Pockets, since I obviously hate myself. Okay, that’s a joke — but I definitely felt a little remorse the night prior to the challenge. What was once a wonderful and partially funny idea started making my stomach churn a little bit as reality hit. But, the freezer was already stocked and I already agreed to it in an email with several exclamation points.

I couldn’t let my editors down! And if I gave up, it’s kind of like turning my back on those lilac streaks once again.

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I have a decent relationship with Hot Pockets. I crave them maybe once per every six months, usually due to a tempting commercial or a sudden desire to eat subpar pepperoni pizza in an instant. But that craving usually passes pretty quickly.

Never before have I eaten more than one per day, to my knowledge. One is usually more than enough.

Here’s the thing — I don’t want to in any way promote a “diet” that’s absolutely unhealthy. The fact that it surrounds Hot Pockets is bad enough. So, I need to make sure I get the right amount of calories per day, meaning that my Hot Pocket intake will likely hit well over 3 per day, depending on the pocket itself. I’ll also allow Lean Pockets in. They’re in the same family, after all. Also, it should be painfully obvious that I’m not a dietician or a nutritionist or anyone who has any authority over food and wellness. I just like to eat it and write about it.

Day 1: Monday, November 5th

It’s day one of my Hot Pocket project, and I have to admit, I’m really pumped that I added a few boxes of the breakfast variety to my stash. That might help normalize things a little bit.

I think it’d be helpful to tell you a little bit about my typical breakfast routine. Along with being a writer and the complete opposite of a thrillseeker, I’m also a mom to a pretty fantastic 1.5-year-old named Charlotte. Charlotte, like many toddlers, gets a little picky about food. One day she loves something, the next she loathes it. On a typical morning, she’s served what I eat. Usually, it’s scrambled eggs and spinach, sometimes with turkey sausage mixed in. But since I’d never subject her to a Hot Pockets diet, I made her eggs solo. And then watched her throw them on the floor to my very happy dog. When this same situation happens on morning four, I’m hoping I won’t be too upset that she’s discarding a fresh breakfast that wasn’t born in the microwave.

Speaking of, I went with the Applewood Bacon, Egg, & Cheese pocket. I cooked it thoroughly as instructed, and waited for it to cool.

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It was okay. A little more bread than I envisioned, and I wasn’t fully satisfied with it, but it tasted fine enough.

I went with Pepperoni Pizza for lunch, and hoo boy. It was the pick-me-up I needed. But eventually, around 3 p.m., I started dragging. It was especially hard, since Charlotte is a big fan of Sesame Street. Until now, I never realized how food-focused the show really is. Season 48 includes an entire segment where Cookie Monster and Gonger (yeah, you might want to look him up) cook food for kids from a food truck.

Surprise! None of it is in microwavable pocket form. Suddenly, even tuna fish sandwiches seemed appetizing.

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I waited until around 4:15 to eat my third pocket of the day —this time, of the Lean Pockets variety.

Roasted Turkey, Bacon, and Cheese was surprisingly very good, especially since it utilized a baked pretzel bread. But I still felt a little hollow on the inside. When my husband came home and put two more in the convection oven, I was near tears.

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In order to get the taste of pocket out of my body, I tried cutting open a taco-inspired Hot Pocket to just enjoy the beans and rice, scraped out.

It didn’t look pretty, but it was the best meal I had all day.

Day 2: Tuesday, November 6th

Happy Election Day! I’ll be celebrating by trying not to crumble like a flaky crust Hot Pocket. Turns out, eating 4.5 Hot Pockets leads to a stomachache, and I’m feeling the effects today. I chose to get counsel from the two wisest men I knew.

“Now dad, I know you’re going to be upset when I tell you this,” I said on the phone late last night, post-scraping. “But trust me, I’m doing everything right.”

I told him about the Hot Pockets.

His first instinct, as is everyone’s when I’ve told them about this experience, was to get nostalgic about the best flavors. For the record, everyone always singles out ham and cheese. Then, he gave me a suggestion — instead of 4.5 Hot Pockets, maybe pair some of them with more caloric drinks, like juice.

After all, nothing in the rulebook said that I couldn’t drink whatever I wanted.

My husband’s suggestion was that I could quit whenever I wanted. “I know you’d feel bad about leaving an assignment,” he said. “And I know we literally have a freezer full of Hot Pockets in the house. But if you’re really feeling sick, you should put your health first.”

Just somebody telling me I had an out made me feel better. As the wise John Mulaney joked, there’s no better feeling than canceling plans.

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Still, I pressed on. I had a breakfast Lean Pocket this morning, and nothing terrible happened. For lunch, I decided to get creative. Technically, Hot Pockets are considered “sandwiches” by the company, but much like the hot dog, you may not agree. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a legit sandwich out of a Hot Pocket.

So I took two BBQ Beef Hot Pockets, heated them up, and did some surgery.

I removed the meaty insides of one and then cut into the second to make it resemble a sub roll. I transported the extra meat, added a smidgen of cheese, and voila! It’s like a college cheesesteak. (At this very moment, surely someone in Philadephia just fainted.) I realized that the only way I’m going to get through this was with creativity.

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For dinner, my husband joined me with two classics — ham and cheese, and four-cheese pizza.

He used hot sauce to add a little bit of flavor since, in his opinion, it just lacked that pizazz you’d find in literally any other food.

Day 3: Wednesday, November 7th

I’m coming into today both nervous and excited. Nervous because I have a pediatrician appointment with Charlotte and don’t feel like Super Mom based on eating nothing but Hot Pockets for two days, but excited to try and turn my ham and cheese pockets into a sandwich, much like I did with the beef pocket yesterday.

Sipping on juice and chocolate milk has helped my calorie count and overall morale.

The nerves luckily dissipated when we got to the doctor’s office and I reminded myself that I wasn’t the one being monitored. I actually had a doctor’s appointment the week before this project and checked out okay. In my head, I just fear that any medical professional would be ashamed of my brand new, pocket-heavy lifestyle.

But oddly enough, my morale has improved so much. I’m actually looking forward to meals and excited that I kept on going.

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Dinner was Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar, and a High Protein variety that — not going to lie — wasn’t anything like I expected. When I think of high protein, I think of the Power Menu at Taco Bell. I could, without a doubt, survive on a week’s worth of the Power Menu. (Unfortunately, the Taco Bell is a bit of a distance.)

Day 4: Thursday, November 8th

Can you guys believe I almost quit? It’s Thursday, and I feel stronger than ever. My stomach has pretty much gotten used to the new bland diet I’ve subjected it to, and suddenly I feel like a Hot Pocket expert. The best ones are literally the ones you can easily turn into a legit sandwich, either by eating just half of a pocket with fillings scraped to one side, or using two full pockets to mine extra filling.

That’s exactly what I did with my ham and cheese lunch.

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Honestly, this has become so routine by now that part of me has just accepted that this is life now.

I had to go to the store for some extra a.m. pockets since I couldn’t fathom the idea of eating chicken and broccoli first thing in the morning, and felt as if they’re an easy breakfast I could stand behind once this project is over.

Day 5: Friday, November 9th

If you’re looking for more pockets to turn into tasty sandwiches, might I offer up the suggestion of meatball? Here’s my one complaint.

For dinner, I ate this one in standard pocket form, and something seemed off. Note: it was a Lean Pocket. So perhaps the filling (and my overall satisfaction) was leaner than I’d have hoped.

Luckily, I paired it with Pepperoni Pizza. A forever win. These pockets will make you feel like you’re at the coolest elementary school party of all time.

Day 6: Saturday, November 10th

Ever have days when you’re just not feeling it? That was me on Saturday. Typically, the family goes out pretty early for Charlotte’s gym class, but my energy was severely lacking.

“Finally,” I thought to myself. “The effects of the pockets have hit!” And that could be so. That, or maybe it was the overall stress of keeping up with the habit.

That’s the tough part about weekends. When you work remotely and have access to a microwave, it’s fairly easy to chow down on Hot Pockets. But when you want to go out and, say, go to the mall, you suddenly need to plan your day around the pockets.

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I tried to get some extra energy by eating my breakfast Hot Pocket with a virgin screwdriver, like in a fancy brunch.

By virgin screwdriver, I mean orange juice in a wine glass.

Day 7: Sunday, November 11th

Perhaps knowing that this is the end of the Hot Pocket challenge gave me the energy I needed to go to Charlotte’s rescheduled gym class.

Or, maybe it was going to bed at 9 p.m. Regardless, this wacky adventure ends today.

For lunch, I chose to see what was really behind those meatball Hot Pockets. Let’s just say, I’m not impressed.

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The whole thing ended with what turned into my absolute favorite — a BBQ Beef Hot Pocket for dinner.

While eating it, I had the revelation that this was more or less the end. Next week, I’d be back to normal, non-pocketed food. I’d be reintroduced to vegetables. And I might not touch the microwave for days.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I lost two pounds since I started — and I attribute this to knowing pretty much exactly what I was eating.

It’s probably why diet plans that contain prepackaged foods usually work. The downside is, eating this way almost kills your social life if you try to maintain it. Promising to only eat Hot Pockets also limits your snacking almost 100%. I guarantee that those two pounds will creep up the second I’m back on track.

The pockets did give me a little more time in the day which, as a mom, I appreciated.

Not only did the number of dishes I had to do go down, but obviously it’s a general win when a meal takes two minutes to prep and cook.

But now, the downside. While participating in this experiment, I temporarily had to toss out my cravings and love of food.

Yes, some of the Hot Pockets were rather tasty. But this week, it was mostly about eating to function, instead of eating for enjoyment. And really, isn’t that the best part of eating?

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