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What a Dietitian Buys at Trader Joe’s

I frequent different grocery stores including ACME, the Italian Market, and ALDI but here are some reason why I really like to shop at Trader Joe’s:

-the people are very nice
-there aren’t different brands to sift through
-they usually don’t have sales so you don’t have to waste time comparing prices
-most items stay fresh for a long time 99.9% of the time. (I go to the Trader Joe’s on Market St in Philadelphia which is crazy packed so their items get restocked often)
-it’s smaller than a regular supermarket so my time is spent efficiently

And here are some of my favorite items:

Organic Mixed Berry Blend $3.49 for each 12 ounce package

I always keep a bag of frozen berries in the freezer for quick morning smoothies. Pro tip: when you mix frozen berries in yogurt it turns into a frozen yogurt consistency and voila, you have a high protein, low sugar froyo treat.

Watercress $2.29 

If you haven’t ever tried watercress before, do start. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a study that evaluated the nutritional value of all fruits and vegetables. Watercress was chosen as the #1 powerhouse produce with a score of 100 (Kale was ranked #14). At only 4 calories per cup, watercress is  also an excellent source of vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It has a peppery taste, similar to arugula and can be used as a substitution to any leafy greens in a salad or even sautéed with garlic. Watercress was not an unusual ingredient in my house. Growing up, my mother used to prepare a vietnamese dish called “Bo Luc Lac” which was made with beef. The name of this dish is translated to “shaking beef” because the small cubes of beef would be tossed in a lemon, pepper, and salt dressing served on a big bed of watercress leaves and sliced juicy tomatoes. Sounds yum right?

Mirepoix $2.99 for each 14.5 ounce tub

Mirepoix is a veggie trio that is generally mixed with onions, carrots, and celery. This Trader Joe’s mirepoix contains 1/2 onion, 3 carrots, and 3 celery stalks, and comes pre-chopped which shaves 5-10 mins off prep time. The ratio and serving size is exactly what I need to make my lunches which oftentimes consist of a bean-based vegetable soup. By purchasing this item, I don’t have to stress out about trying to incorporate the remaining carrots or celery stalks it into another meal for the week before they go bad. I can easily whip up a quick vegetarian chili by throwing this mirepoix into the crockpot with spices and a can of rinsed beans. I’ll make a big pot for the entire week and will freeze any leftovers for a rainy day.  Soups are a great meal for weight loss and weight maintenance too because the water and all of the fiber from the vegetables fills you up and keeps you full for a long time.

Frozen Edamame $1.99 for a 12 ounce bag

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If the name is unrecognizable, you would probably be most familiar with  if you saw it on a Japanese menu. It’s shaped like a green pod and usually contains 2-3 beans. Frozen or shelled are both equally great options. I always have a bag of frozen edamame in my freezer. They’re great as a snack because they’re high in fiber and protein and not to mention, fun to eat; but when I’m too tired to make vegetables for dinner, I’ll pour a cup of edamame into a bowl, season with sea salt and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and consider it my vegetable for the meal.

Organic Carrots of Many Colors    $1.99 per bag (You can’t beat that!)

Most people are used to eating orange carrots but why not try get in more nutrients by eating multi-colored carrots? The different pigments in fruits and vegetables provide different nutritional profiles.

Orange carrots: Packed with vitamin A which is great for eye health

Purple carrots: Purple carrots are purple on the outside and orange on the inside meaning not only do they have vitamin A but the purple hue contains an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which promotes memory and is anti-inflammatory

Yellow carrots: Contains xanthophykks and lutein which are linked to cancer prevention and eye health

White carrots: Lower in nutrients because it’s not pigmented but since it’s still considered a vegetable, you still get fiber

And my guilty pleasure at Trader Joe’s….(drum roll please)

These are definitely a “mindful indulgence.” Just like you will always find frozen berries and edamame in my freezer, you will also always find a box of mochi ice cream! My favorite flavors are mango and green tea. I like how the outside of these are chewy and gummy, but the inside is soft and filled with ice cream. Although they’re delicious, each ball is about 100 calories and the size is perfect for portion control. Do I eat more than one ball sometimes though? Umm…maybe?

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