5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less!)

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Deep question of the day: where do you guys grocery shop?

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

I tend to shop based on proximity, but the store has to have the natural and organic selection of foods I’m looking for or it just won’t work. In my current neighborhood (West Hollywood!) there are quite a few options within walking distance. I tend to visit most of them (Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms) on a pretty regular basis to see what new foods are out there, but Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, a weekly stop for me. I can find most of the things I need – and for a pretty reasonable price – but I’ve got to admit that I love the frozen and convenience foods that Trader Joe’s offers. (If you’re ever wondering how something is, just ask. I’ve probably tried it!)

Recently, my friend Lynn and her husband came up with this super-clever buzzfeed video featuring Trader Joe’s mashups:

I loved the video and the premise –  it’s absolutely what inspired this post!

I started brainstorming some of my favorite trader joe’s combinations that fit the following criteria:

  1. under five ingredients (all but one are made with three ingredients)
  2. fairly healthy (all of them come in under or around 500 calories)
  3. include a vegetable (because every meal should!)
  4. delicious (again, because every meal should be!)

Here are the 5 Trader Joe’s meals that I came up with:

Classic Southern Dinner:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Let’s start with an easy, classic meal: bbq chicken breast, mac & cheese and collard greens. Prepare the mac & cheese and bbq chicken as directed and lightly steam or saute the collard greens. *I really like their “reduced-guilt” mac & cheese, but have yet to try the gluten-free variety!

Palak Paneer Eggs:

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Why have I not combined Indian food with eggs before? Ah-mazing. Top cooked palak paneer with a fried or poached egg and serve with hot naan. This will definitely become a regular in our meal rotation – perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tortilla Pizza:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats
Tortilla pizzas are one of my favorite meals and considering that I’ve eaten them on  regular basis for years, it was a no-brainer. When topped with sauce, arugula, cheese and turkey meatballs, this is a particularly filling pizza. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp, top with sauce, cheese, arugula and warmed meatballs and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

Chimichurri Rice & Sausage:

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Chimichurri rice is a somewhat new item and I’m so glad I finally put it in my cart – it’s delicious (so is the kimchee rice!).  When it’s combined with chicken sausage and a vegetable, you’ve got a balanced dinner that comes together in minutes. Slice and saute the sausage and rice as directed while you roast the broccoli in the oven.

Pasta with Mushrooms & Parmesan:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal is delicious and simple. And absolutely OUTSTANDING if you add a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkling of truffle salt. Simply prepare the pasta and mushrooms as directed and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Use your favorite pasta variety.

Got any favorite quick meals to share? 

P.S. I’m really sorry if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s! Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. :)

5 plant-based (vegan) recipes

With Earth Day right around the corner, I’m making a conscious effort to think about my impact on this amazing earth of ours. I grew up in a family who recycled religiously, reused sour cream containers (and sugar bags for lunch bags – which was SO embarrassing!) and even composted. So at a young age, it was instilled in me that leaving as little of footprint as possible was of the utmost importance.

These days, I make the best effort I can to reuse, reduce and recycle. (And I’m proud that I’ve almost kicked my plastic water bottle habit!) But there is always room for improvement and that’s what is important to look at. In the coming months, my goal is to buy more local food – preferably straight from the source through a CSA membership or more frequent visits to the farmer’s market.

So why the plant-based recipes? It seems that every spring, I’m drawn to more plant-based foods and less meat. The term ‘plant-based eating’ has been growing in popularity but the phrase is a bit confusing – and I think that’s the idea. The short explanation is that it’s a vegan diet (while some may consume a limited amount of animal products like eggs or dairy) and it seems to me that it’s a vegan diet without the vegan junk food and without the (sometimes polarizing) vegan label. It’s real, whole, unprocessed food – full of plants – and most of the time it’s beautiful. (Learn more about plant-based diets here.)

But it’s not just about me. (Wait, what?!) A diet with more plants and less meat helps to reduce our ecological footprint (animal products require a lot of land, water and resources). As Mr. Pollan so wisely tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And also? It’s delicious. Here are 5 plant-based (ok, vegan!) recipes that are so tasty and gorgeous that even the most stubborn of carnivores won’t miss the meat.

 

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

1. This Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese has been on my list of recipes to make since…the first time I laid eyes on it. And while we typically think of mac and cheese falling into the junk food category, this cheese, made with cashews, is anything but. (image & recipe via Minimalist Baker)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

2. I know. I’m craving tofu now too. This Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu is much easier than it seems – simply toss and bake – and enjoy. (image & recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

3. Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad is just that. This colorful salad is filled with fresh veggies and nutritious buckwheat noodles for a meal that screams spring to me. This post also gives some great insight on not giving yourself a vegan label and I pretty much love it.  (image & recipe via Eating for England)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

4.  These Not-So-Sloppy Tempeh Joes made such a satisfying lunch, I’ve got to make them again soon. Don’t be put-off by the steps and ingredients, it’s worth it! In fact, I’d recommend doubling the recipe. (image & recipe via Chickypea)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

5. No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and then turned into banana ice cream which is laid into an almond flour crust and topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Come on! (image & recipe via The First Mess)

What is your favorite plant-based recipe or meal?

5 ways to get healthier

March is National Nutrition Month and while the activities on the eatright.org site leave a lot to be desired, I’m always game to talk nutrition!

Their theme this year is: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right and I must say, it’s one that I can fully get behind. “Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most.” – eatright.org Ummmm, YES! Nutrition is a field based on science, but I’ve always thought that if it was strictly science, no one would be overweight or struggling with other nutrition-related diseases. We know that vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are healthy for us, but we still love pancakes, cheeseburgers and cupcakes. Food has got to taste good (and I think look good) to be satisfying.

And thankfully, it is possible to enjoy eating right and still enjoy the fun food. Part of “eating right” (in my opinion) is adding nutrition/health/wellness – instead of always focusing on what to remove – and it’s why I came up with my five favorite ways to get healthier. Most of us, no matter how healthy we are, have room for improvement when it comes to health. I know I do! Instead of grandiose plans to completely overhaul our diet and fitness, make some small improvements every day.

Download infographic here. (Made using piktochart <– affiliate link)

ranch house salad smoothie

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

I know. The title is kind of scary. But also soooooo intriguing!

I’ll be the first to say that the words ‘ranch house salad smoothie’ give reason for pause. But if you’re getting sick of salads at lunch and love the convenience of smoothies, you’ve got to give this savory smoothie a try.

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

The first time I made this salad smoothie we had a friend over and after the first sip we all looked at each other with confused faces. But then we took another sip. And then another. We all decided that in a weird way, we liked it. It honestly tastes like a salad with ranch dressing. Which is always good in my opinion. :)

Health-wise, it’s a great way to eat a variety of vegetables all packaged up with some high-protein greek yogurt and healthy-fat avocado. I’d pair it with some deli turkey or a slice of toast with a slice of melted goat cheese for a perfect lunch.

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

I can’t take credit for this salad smoothie idea though, I found the recipe in a book called, Green Smoothie Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with the World’s Most Powerful Superfoods by Lisa Sussman. I was sent the book to review and while I have no intention of going on a smoothie “cleanse” I love that this book is full of smoothie ideas and inspiration. Check it out if you’re getting sick of your standard smoothies, the recipes won’t disappoint.

nutrition facts: 456 calories, 24 grams of fat, 27 grams of protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber

Ranch House Salad Smoothie

by Green Smoothie Cleanse

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender salad gluten-free high protein low-carb vegetarian

 

Ingredients (16 oz (1 serving))

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 onion (I used less)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • dash of salt & pepper

Instructions

Blend until smooth.

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