Oh how I love Trader Joe’s. I stopped by the itty bitty store on Boylston Street yesterday was ecstatic to see that finally canned pumpkin was on shelves for the Fall! To celebrate, I thought I’d share with you a mini haul featuring some of my new favorite products and a couple that I can’t imagine how I got by without them!
In the winter, I love having low carb dinner, like turkey meatloaf with asparagus. Then as a dessert, I’ll mix pumpkin puree with almond milk, stevia and slivered almonds or chia seeds. I make a few variations of this pumpkin pudding snack. It makes dessert a healthy addition to your meal instead of empty calories that are only serving to satisfy a craving and not actual hunger most of the time. If you are on the Tone It Up diet plan or other eating clean program, this is a great way to get in a sweet treat without using a cheat meal.
In the summer, I grill a lot. Once Fall hits, I don’t mind using the stove once again in my non-air conditioned apartment. One of my favorite fall go to meals is frozen broccoli with stir fried chicken and red curry sauce. The one I buy is never hot enough so I always add some Sriracha sauce. This one you can buy at Trader Joe’s tastes identical to the cult favorite name brand.
My other go to topping is Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze. I am a sucker for ordering dishes at restaurants that have a balsamic glaze so when I discovered this gem earlier in the year, I was ecstatic. I like to take plain chicken breast, and top with diced tomatoes, wilted spinach and kalamata olives and a drizzle of this on top for a simple, tasty and quick week night meal.
For the week days when you want to make an effort to bring your lunch to work or school, I discovered this ready to go salad recently and was impressed by it’s taste, size and nutrition facts. It has only 250 calories with the dressing on it! It also has 6g of fat, 4g of fiber, and 13g of protein. I’m always wanting more from these types of salads but this one was actually satisfying.
Be careful with some of the TJ ready made salads, as the nutrition info sometimes states that 1/2 of the package is a serving.
Boston is having a love affair with grilled cheese food trucks. I like to make my own healthy versions at home to avoid the unnecessary high calories. Between buttered bread, unmeasured amounts of cheese, crappy bread, it’s impossible to have a reasonable meal at one of these places. Nevertheless, the trucks around town do give me a hankering for one of my favorite childhood sandwiches. Trader Joe’s has The Laughing Cow light wedges like my favorite light cheddar which have only 35 calories per serving. Two wedges between two slices of my favorite Ezekial bread has only 230 calories. Add some turkey bacon or fig jam for extra flavor. Pair it with your favorite low sodium or homemade tomato soup for a weekend lunch this fall without the guilt.
And I always allow myself one fun item that may not be on my “foods to eat every day” list which yesterday happened to be this new item, Coconut Cashews. Roomie loves coconut and cashews so I knew I had to buy it for him. They are delicious and addicting so be warned but a nice little something to have after a meal as a sweet ending.
Lastly, in my continued effort to eat less meat, I found that this baked organic tofu is really flavorful for topping salads, having a snack or in a stir fry at night. I am not a big tofu person, but this organic item makes it easy and quick to eat more protein without worrying about GMOs, hormones, the environment or ethical treatment of animals.
I know not all of you have Trader Joe’s near you but if you do, what is your favorite item?
While I purchased all of these products on my own, I am an official 2013 brand ambassador for Bel Brands. All opinions are my own. If you want to win coupons for free Laughing Cow products, join my fall fitness Twitter chat at 1 pm ET on Thursday, October 3rd for ways to feel great this season. Just follow @TheLaughingCow and #FallFitness on Twitter.