7 Trader Joe’s Best Bite Entrees When Time is Tight!

It’s summer, and I cannot figure out why I am so busy! Today, as has been the case for the last few weeks, I am short on time. I decided to hit my favorite area specialty grocery store this morning for some “back-up” type meals to avoid being tied to the kitchen later in the day. I like to keep a few “convenience” type meal alternatives that do not require either thinking, or labor, when I am either very tired or too busy to spend time in the kitchen. My criteria when purchasing such foods is typically limited to evaluating: total fat, calories, and sodium.  For many convenience foods, it is easy enough to find limited fat and calories, or limited sodium, but rather a difficult task to find convenience foods already prepared that are acceptable in all three categories.

Here are my favorite “go-to” foods from Trader Joe’s

  • Breaded Tenderloin Chicken Breasts (per 66 gram piece, has 110 calories, 3.5 gm total fat, 180 mg sodium); toss on a bed of lettuce greens for a quick meal.
  • Roasted Vegetable Multi-Grain Lasagna (per 1/4 package, has 240 calories, 7 gm total fat, 480 mg sodium)
  • Wild Salmon in Yogurt and Mint Sauce with Orzo Pasta, Spinach and Zucchini (one container has 350 calories, 10 gm fat, 310 mg sodium)
  • Chile Lime Chicken Burger (one burger has 150 calories, 6 gm fat, 310 mg sodium)
  • Organic No Salt Added Marinara Sauce (has 60 calories, no fat, and only 35 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup).  Just put on pasta, add a dash of favorite cheese and serve with a salad.
  • Reduced Fat Fish Sticks (6 fish sticks have 220 calories, 9 gm fat, and 240 mg sodium)
  • Grilled Chicken Strips (3 oz. serving has 130 calories, 2.5 gm fat, and 210 mg sodium).  Toss on top of a bed of greens, with a lower sodium roll, and you are good for dinner.

Here’s to a night out of the hot kitchen! And, for dessert, there is always a bite of TJ 56% cacao dark chocolate (1/2 bar has 80 calories, 5 gm of fat, 0 sodium, and  a lot of antioxidants).

Do you have any healthy meals to recommend from Trader Joe’s or other specialty grocery stores?

 

Build a Better Breakfast!

 

My Creamy Berry Smoothie

 

Nutritionally speaking, there are a lot of important reasons to fuel up in the morning.  Research has noted that breakfast eaters have a jump-start on: maintaining a healthy weight, meeting daily nutritional requirements, and performing better physically and mentally all day.The “problems”, however, always seem to revolve around what to eat, how long will it take to prepare, and how fast can it be eaten! If you are getting tired of standard breakfast fare, consider the following as options:

Berry Creamy Smoothie

Blend 1.5 cups of blueberries (may start off as frozen and let thaw while in shower), ½ cup 1% milk fat cottage cheese, and ½ cup orange juice in a blender until thoroughly mixed.

Each 12 ounce serving has 260 calories, 15 grams protein, 48 grams carb, 2 grams fat, 7 grams fiber, and 275 mg. of potassium.

Oat Bran Muffins

Make from scratch.  This is about as easy as it gets and you know what is going into your body. They can be frozen after you make a batch, and then pulled out of the freezer when you get up in the morning. Let thaw as you shower. Enjoy with some orange or low sodium V-8 juice.

When evaluating an oat bran muffin recipe, if you are watching your waistline, consider recipes without dried fruits and nuts as ingredients. If a recipe calls for applesauce, that allows for a moister oat bran muffin.

 Oat Bran Muffin Recipe

Improvise with an English Muffin

Toast an English muffin, add one slice low-fat cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon.  Now you have an Egg McMuffin, sans the egg, and you don’t need to stop at the drive through and get tempted with hash browns.

What about English muffin pizza for breakfast? Toast each half to make it crispy.  Spread some pizza sauce on each half, some shredded mozzarella, and zap for a few seconds in the microwave.

Standby eggs

Consider hard boiling several to grab during the week. Each egg is a nice packet of nutrients and only about 80 calories. Or, consider making small cheese and spinach quiches in muffin pans and freezing. Making that little bit of effort ahead of time in order to grab these will be worth it as you head to work.

Bottom line, a better breakfast will mean a better you and better day.  If you are also thinking of lunch and dinner, here are some other suggestions! 

Do you have a favorite, fast, and healthy breakfast idea?