It’s the beginning of the New Year, and like many others, my resolutions include eating and living more healthfully.
This past year I did ok – I didn’t gain weight, but I didn’t lose any either (I’m still trying to lose those pesky last 10 pregnancy pounds!).
A couple ways I plan to eat better are to buy more whole and organic foods and to try new healthful recipes without spending more money. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s, my FAVORITE grocery store for buying whole, natural and organic foods for less, now has 7 locations in the Twin Cities area (there were only 3 a few years ago), so I’ll be able to shop there more easily and frequently! (See my previous post, “Ten grocery items I LOVE at Trader Joe’s.”)
And just recently I heard about a cookbook called Livin’ Lean with Trader Joe’s: Lose Weight and Feel Great Using Trader Joe’s Products by Jamie Davidson, M.S., and was very eager to try it. I received both this cookbook and another book Jamie wrote, Quick and Healthy Meals from Trader Joe’s for review, and was very impressed – they’re both full of flavorful and nutritious recipes that are easy to follow and include all kinds of ingredients from Trader Joe’s – some that are familiar, others that I’d never heard of!
Jamie Davidson has been teaching busy people how to eat well conveniently for over 20 years. “Trader Joe’s has become one of the best go-to places for people who want to find healthy and reasonably priced food,” Ms. Davidson says. “They have a great selection of organic fruits and vegetables, and they offer a large selection of healthy foods that are preservative-free, healthy, gluten-free and vegan friendly.” I couldn’t agree more!
Livin’ Lean with Trader Joe’s is organized into 15 chapters:
1. I Know How to Lose Weight. How Come I Just Can’t Do It?
2. What to Eat to be Trim and Healthy
3. How Trader Joe’s Can Help You Lose a Pound a Week
5. Grab-and-Go Lunches and 100-Calorie Snacks
6. Sandwiches, Wraps and Fillings
8. Salads, Simple Sauces, Dressings and Dips
9. Hearty Soups
10. Chicken and Turkey Entrees
11. Seafood Entrees
12. Vegetarian Entrees
13. Simple Sides
14. Dishes from the Slow Cooker
15. Simple Desserts
Plus there is an appendix with 1400-Calorie Menus and Shopping Lists, and Recipe Indexes for vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan recipes.
In the opening chapters Jamie talks about her experiences with her weight management clients and what she has learned about why people have trouble losing weight. She offers valuable information, tips, and lists of great foods from Trader Joe’s that can help with weight loss and eating well.
Then there are over 150 recipes with nutritional analyses – here’s a sampling:
- Veggie Frittata Muffins
- Ricotta-Peanut Butter Breakfast Spread
- Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Tuna, Bean and Bruschetta Salad
- Sweet Potato Hummus
- Broccoli Peanut Slaw
- Turkey Meatball Wild Rice Soup
- Pumpkin Chicken Enchiladas
- Braised Chicken Sausage and Apples
- Grilled Eggplant Melange and Cannellini Beans
- Marmalade-Glazed Carrots
- Awesome Turkey Chili (made with cocoa powder!)
- Chocolate Banana “Ice Cream”
- Gingered Peach and/or Pear Crisp
There are many recipes that sounded great to me, and I started with the recipe for Thai Chicken Pizza on page 108, which is made with TJ’s Satay Peanut Sauce (I had never tried before). I had fun shopping at Trader Joe’s with my kids for the ingredients (and filling the cart with our other Trader Joe’s favorites), and then made the pizza which was pretty easy.
A serving size is 380 calories and filled me up quick thanks to all the fiber in the veggies and whole wheat goodness of the pizza dough. It was very tasty with a bit of a kick, too.
Here’s the recipe, shared with permission:
Thai Chicken Pizza
Ingredients: TJ’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray, 1 bag TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough or prepared pizza crust, 7 ounces TJ’s Satay Peanut Sauce, 4 ounces TJ’s Just Chicken, cut into strips, 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella, 1 bunch green onions, chopped, 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts, 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts, optional, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional.
1. Place the oven rack on the lowest run and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Let the dough rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
2. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray, avoiding the edges so the dough will stick when the dough is spread to the edges. Put a little olive oil on your hands or spray with olive oil spray and form the pizza dough into a circle the diameter of your pizza pan. Place it on the pan, patting it with your oiled hands until the dough is evenly spread and reaches the edge of the pan.
3. Bake the dough for 10 minutes or until it is slightly brown (may take less than 10 minutes). Cool 5 minutes and add the satay sauce, chicken and cheese. Place the pizza on the top shelf of the oven and bake 8-12 minutes.
4. Add onions, bean sprouts, carrots, peanuts and cilantro, if desired. Slice into 4 wedges.
Here’s another recipe I’m anxious to try, also shared with permission:
Ricotta-Peanut Butter Breakfast Spread
Trader Joe’s now carries fat-free ricotta cheese, a good source of protein and calcium. Take it to work for a desk-top breakfast or spread it on bread or crackers as a snack. It will keep for a few days in the fridge. It also makes a good sandwich filling for lunch boxes.
Serves 4, about ¼ cup per serving
1 cup TJ’s Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
2 tablespoons TJ’s Peanut Butter or Almond Butter, no salt added
½ tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Add all of the ingredients together and blend. Spread onto whole grain toast, toaster waffles or baby bagels. Or serve as a fruit dip.
Serves 4 (a little more than ¼ cup/serving)
Per serving: 100 calories, 4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 76 mg sodium, 5.25 g carbohydrate, 1.75 g fiber, 7.75 g protein.
Quick and Healthy Meals from Trader Joe’s by Jamie Davidson, M.S. is another great resource for recipes that takes 15 minutes or less to prepare. Also nutritionally analyzed, the recipes include:
- Chicken and Veggie Tostadas
- Chicken Alfredo
- Honey Mustard-Peace Salsa Chicken
- Balsamic-glazed Halibut
- Greek Pizza
- Seafood Pasta Marinara
- Stir-Fry Vegetables with Shrimp
- Veggie Ranch Pizza
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of each cookbook to help facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine.)