Make family meals easier, and healthier, with these helpful products.

By Samantha Lande
February 23, 2021
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We all strive to eat healthy but it can often be time consuming to do so. Life is busy, especially during the week, with little time to get dinner on the table. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts to take that will make this daunting task easier. Trader Joe's is a great place to shop for some of these hacks because they are plentiful and often inexpensive.

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats, advises to "look for ingredients that help you save time but that don't diminish the nutritional benefits of what you're eating. She says, "For instance, if you're buying jarred pasta sauce, look for one with no or minimal added sugar. If you're buying canned beans, opt for a no-salt-added version."

Ready to stock your fridge and freezer? Here are some dietician- and home cook-approved options:

Cauliflower Rice 

Cauliflower rice can be a good substitute for rice in a dish (such as fried rice) but it can be a pain to rice your own cauliflower. Buy it at Trader Joe's fresh to have on hand for cauliflower biryani, stir-fry, and more. If you won't use right away, consider the frozen version so you can try one of these great cauliflower rice dishes at any time.

Jicama Wraps 

Gorin is a big fan of these wraps made entirely of jicama to use for low-carb and gluten-free tacos. "They're made of just jicama, so you're getting the fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the vegetable," she says. They are also great for sandwiches, breakfast burritos and even quesadillas. Try them with these fiery fish tacos!

Steamed Lentils 

Lentils can be a great addition to salads, soups, or as their own fiber-full side dish. Though not everyone has time to cook them. Trader Joe's has already cooked lentils in the refrigerator section that make it easy to add to anything without the laborious prep. Try them in these turkey lentil sloppy joes.

Mirepoix

This mix of chopped up onions, carrots, and celery is the starting base of so many dishes from soups to braised meats, stews, and casseroles. On a busy weeknight, cutting each of those vegetables into equal sized pieces can feel daunting. Trader Joe's has a pre-chopped mix so you'll be able to skip part of the prep on your way to a delicious meal.

Cage-Free Hard Boiled Eggs

This is another favorite of Gorin. "I love hard-boiled eggs, I don't love preparing them. So I always grab a bag of these when I'm at Trader Joe's," she says. They are great to throw in a salad, grab out of the fridge for breakfast, or to make a healthier version of deviled eggs (Gorin makes avocado deviled eggs or try this avocado egg salad). She shares, "You get all the benefits of eating eggs—so six grams of protein per egg—as well as six percent of the daily recommendation of immune-helping vitamin A."

Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are delicious and nutritious, but sometimes the cleaning and chopping takes too much time to make it worthwhile. This bag of shaved Brussels is perfect for creating a Brussels sprout salad and excellent for getting crispy roasted sprouts when spread out on a baking sheet. You can even use them to top fish tacos instead of traditional shredded cabbage. Even our reviewers love them.

Frozen Brown Rice

Frozen brown rice is an excellent hack, especially when the kids decide during dinner that they don't want to eat what's on the table. These microwavable steamer bags are ready in three minutes (instead of the 20 or more minutes the rice maker or stove top rice takes) and taste great. Serve it as a side with stir-fry or even plain and you'll have a dinner hero.

Prepared Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has a slew of health benefits and it's versatile for both sweet and savory dishes, but it can be really tough to peel and cut. Trader Joe's does the hard work on this one, selling a bag of prepared butternut squash cubes. Make a squash soup, a simple roasted side dish, or try your hand at this butternut squash red curry.

Broccoli and Kale Pizza Crust

Gorin loves this pizza crust alternative for semi-homemade pizzas. The frozen dough is made of over 50% broccoli and kale, plus it's gluten-free. It takes only 10 to 12 minutes to cook before adding toppings. "I like that this crust offers a fun and tasty alternative to cauliflower crust," she says. You'll get a head start on the vegetables in the crust and can top with extra veggies of your choice for a healthy and quick meal. Try this Greek pizza for something different!

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