These are the TJs products dietitians can’t live without.
As a dietitian, it’s my job to make eating well easy and accessible for people. And as a busy working parent, I need fast, nutritious solutions myself! The beloved grocery store Trader Joe’s does this so well, so I decided reach out to nutrition pros across the country who shared with NBC News BETTER their favorite Trader Joe’s shopping secrets. Take a peek into our kitchens and prepare yourself for quick and healthy eating ideas.
ORGANIC RICED CAULIFLOWER (FROZEN)
Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN, Jersey City, NJ-based registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “A Teen’s Guide to Gut Health” suggests a 50/50 blend of frozen brown rice (see below) and the frozen riced cauliflower, adding “the mix of cauliflower and rice makes it a bit heartier and more meal-like than a straight cauliflower rice, which I find to be tasty but not very filling.”
ORGANIC BROWN RICE (FROZEN)
Marie Spano, RD, sports nutritionist for the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Falcons goes for this brown rice. Spano puts it this way: “This brown rice takes three minutes in the microwave and is the only brown rice I eat. The taste and texture is much better than any long-cooking brown rice. It stands out in this category.”
FROZEN CARROT SPIRALS
Rachel Paul, MS, RD, PhD candidate at Columbia University says “It’s hard to find veggie ‘noodles’ that can really replace regular pasta, but I’ve found these come the closest!”
SHAVED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
New York City-based Registered Dietitian, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD leans on this convenient item to simplify things in the kitchen. “Because it takes a lot of time and energy to shave the Brussels, I prefer to buy them pre-cut and throw them into everything from salads to stir fries to roasted veggie dishes,” They has more than a day’s worth of vitamin C and helps you get some much-needed fiber.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of “Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches With Pulses – The New Superfood” says, “I pop them in my fridge for a fast go-to plant protein to add to salads, or to mix with a handful of greens as a fiber-rich bed for organic eggs or wild salmon. One half cup provides 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein…”
GLUTEN FREE CHEESE PIZZA WITH A CAULIFLOWER CRUST
News flash: Dietitians love pizza, too! Spano suggests this frozen pizza, instead. “Cauliflower crust plus tomato sauce plus cheese equals a nutritious meal option that tastes great and is ready in 10 minutes!” she says.
Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, likes this vegetarian offering. “With chickpeas as its base, it offers satiating protein and fiber to help keep me fuller for longer.”
MIXED NUT BUTTER
Gisela Bouvier, RDN, LDN considers it “heaven on earth.” The blend — a mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pecans — has a touch of sea salt and no added sweeteners, according to another fan, Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, CSCS, a New York City-based dietitian and the founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. “It can be eaten with almost anything.”
EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL SEASONING
This seasoning popped up on several dietitians’ lists. Whether on top of eggs or avocado toast, as a seasoning for chicken, roasted potatoes or a hummus topping, it makes everything better. It matches the flavor and satisfaction of a bagel without the extra carbs and calories.
FREEZE DRIED BLUEBERRIES
Trader Joe’s has an amazing selection of freeze-dried fruits, which are great for snacking or tossing into whole grain cereals and trail mixes. The freeze dried blueberries stand out to Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, “They’re a sweet treat that deliver the same nutrients as fresh or frozen blueberries for about 80 calories a cup,” she says.
OVEN-BAKED CHEESE BITES
Rizzo “This salty crunchy snack is made from 100% cheese, which means that half the package has 15 grams of protein and half your daily value of calcium. Plus, that same half-package serving only has 170 calories!” she says.
ORGANIC POPCORN WITH OLIVE OIL
“Many popcorns are cooked in corn oil or other plant oils higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to pro-inflammation,” says Sass. Not this one! “It’s made with non-GMO corn, and contains just three simple ingredients: organic popcorn, organic extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt,” she says.
ORGANIC GINGER TURMERIC HERBAL TEA
Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist, private cooking coach, and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook.” says,”This herbal, non-caffeinated, tea has some winning ingredients, including ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. Both ginger and turmeric have shown promise for their anti-inflammatory properties, and black pepper boosts turmeric’s absorption by 2000%.”
MINI 70% CACAO DARK CHOCOLATE BARS
Dark chocolate is an especially good way to satisfy cravings for sweets because it’s rich in health-promoting substances called flavanols. In dark chocolate, these compounds work their magic by relaxing blood vessels, which improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure and protects the heart and brain. This perfectly-portioned treat has just 100 super-satisfying calories per bar, which keeps you from getting too much of a good thing.
Article by by Samantha Cassetty, RD
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