Trader Joe’s. Ahhhh the Mecca of all things affordable groceries. There is something about TJs that makes it impossible for me to leave with just one bag of goods. I constantly go in with a very short list of necessities and end up leaving the store with 3 full bags, a loaded backpack, and the curiosity of how the heck I am going to get home (considering I walk about 15 blocks and 3 avenues to get there). New York City problems – am I right?

I was recently hosting a cooking class demoing some dinner prep and explaining that all of the groceries for that night’s meal were from Trader Joe’s when one of the guests proclaimed that she feels lost in TJ’s and never knows what to buy. Because of that, she suggested I create some type of guide to make it easier for people to attack the store. I also later learned that another one of my friends has never successfully purchased something at Trader Joe’s because every time she enters the store she feels too overwhelmed. Once I heard that, I knew it was time to get working on this guide.

No longer will you leave TJs with a spinning head wondering what the heck you just bought to fill 5 grocery bags. Instead, you will go in prepared and come out on top with a bountiful amount of healthy and delicious ingredients along with a (semi) full wallet. It is a great feeling to know you are bettering yourself by what you put in your body all the while saving money. This guide includes my top 11 tips, what aisles to spend majority of your time in, and some of my favorite products.

At that same cooking class, another guest proclaimed how she was struggling with meal prepping because she was cooking for one. Since I have now heard this from plenty of people, and because I am determined in making meal prepping approachable and achievable, I figured what better place to cook for one with the goal of saving money than Trader Joe’s! In this four day meal plan for one you will find a meal schedule, a master grocery list (of all Trader Joe’s items), and corresponding recipes. The best part about it all? The total bill comes out to just $6 a meal. Yes, you read that right. Quit your matcha addiction and you’ll be fed for the week!

To purchase my Guide to Trader Joe’s and Four Day Meal Plan for One for just $5, please click here to download the full guide!

 

Coconut Brown Rice Risotto with Vegetables & Shrimp

A delicious dairy free spin on a kitchen classic

One of my favorite kitchen activities is creating homemade, and most times healthier, dishes upon the request of friends or family. So, when my mom and I were out to dinner and she was mentioning how much she missed risotto now that she is dairy free, I took it as a personal challenge to make her a dairy-free version the next time she came over. As I contemplated how I was going to prepare this dish, I quickly remembered the delicious coconut milk risotto I had at a recent mindbodygreen revitalize dinner. With the coconut flavor locked down as a definite, I then began to brainstorm for some complimenting ingredients and decided on asparagus, bok choy, mushrooms, and shrimp. With the ingredient list finalized, another lightbulb dinged – I could use my brand spanking new Mealthy Multi-Pot. As an avid believer in pressure cookers and their insane abilities, I was anxious to put this baby to work. I truly cannot believe how easy it makes cooking. This recipe uses both the sauté and multigrain function and prepares this whole dish without the need to wash another pot or pan. How simple is that!? Not only are you able to close the lid, push a button, and get back to that glass of wine you’re enjoying, but the result of enhanced flavor and perfectly cooked ingredients is truly remarkable. This recipe is one that will impress your guests and take minimal effort for you to prep; that’s all we ever really want, right!?

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Sweet Potato Toasts

Innovative Gluten Free Breakfast

Sure, there are some good gluten free toasts out there, but let’s be honest, some are pretty disappointing. As a sweet potato addict (seriously, I think I have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner), I am always looking to find ways to include them in all of my meals. So, when I was at my parent’s house sans any good GF bread to toast for breakfast, in went the sweet potato slabs. Holy moly was I pleasantly surprised. Beginning to wonder what other life hacks I am missing out on…

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What “Balance” Means to Me

In collaboration with Sweats & Balances

This post is in response to @sweatsandbalances’s question of what the term “balance” means to me. Check out the piece on their site also!

In today’s world, where the health & wellness movement has taken the forefront of attention, it is nearly impossible to read an article or listen to a podcast without hearing the trigger-word “balance”. It is sometimes being used as a filler to umbrella describe feelings, emotions, or situations that one struggles to fully explain. Some may use the term balance to describe having a kale smoothie for breakfast and a cheeseburger for lunch, or to kick ass in Soul Cycle class one day and then veg out on the couch the next. The term has almost become a noun we use to justify our actions; “hey, it’s all about balance, right?”

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Gluten Free Five Day Meal Plan

Your guide to tackling a gluten free lifestyle!

Everyone loves bread; pizza is notoriously one of the tastiest foods out there. However, some of us, unfortunately, have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or have been tasked with an elimination diet. Cutting out gluten can at first be pretty depressing. How the hell am I going to attack and eliminate this beast that is such a staple in the American diet!? Fortunately, as this “lifestyle” has become more prevalent, there are a ton of great options out there in both restaurant and grocery stores. Also, that is why I am here to help; providing you with a 5-day plan of gluten free meals with corresponding recipes and a master grocery list.

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What I Learned from a Month of Healing

This is a pic from after this morning’s run. It was, for me, a slow-paced 2.5 miles. A run I typically would’ve considered a “waste of time”. But not this time! This photo and run exemplify so much more than the time or distance will ever show; it is my first time feeling like myself and finally being able to run in over 30 days. One month ago, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. It still sounds crazy to say out loud (or type) – how the hell does that happen!? For those of you thinking to yourself, “by crossing the street while fixated on your phone without realizing a car is coming”, I hear you. However, I was not on my phone. In fact, I had the walk sign and I still looked both ways before crossing the street. Turns out, unfortunately, you can’t control everyone else around you. After spending many more hours than I would’ve liked in emergency rooms over the two days following the accident, I was fortunately released with a healthy physical body but a bit of a bruised-up brain; diagnosed with a concussion. As someone who unfortunately has had her fair share of concussions (this whole failed attempt at a back h andspring on cement floor in 6th grade really seems to keep biting me in the ass), I thought I knew what was ahead of me. A bit of light sensitivity and nausea and a few days of headaches. I thought to myself, “okay, so you have to stay inside the rest of the weekend and just relax, you can do that.” Boy was I in for a surprise.

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Whole30 Five Day Meal Plan

Your guide to tackling a week on Whole30!

I am SO incredibly excited to share something with you all that I have been working on for over the past few weeks. As you all probably know by now, I just recently completed Whole30. In my pieces on both my blog and Mindbodygreen, I make it very clear that my number one tip on how to survive Whole30 is meal prepping. Many people respond to this statement saying they don’t know how to meal prep because they don’t know what to make, they don’t have the recipes, or they are overwhelmed in a grocery store trying to make sure they buy the correct amount of food. Well, friends, I am here to help. Behold, my five day Whole30 Meal Plan. This pamphlet contains a meal plan schedule for Monday-Friday with individual recipes for each meal and, most importantly, an organized master grocery list.

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Mexican Turkey Chili

Healthy turkey chili with a spicy kick

Personally, I’m a beef chili person, but when I had so many people ask me whether they could replace the beef with ground turkey in my meat chili recipe (which, yes, you can), I decided it was time to create a new chili recipe for this poultry lovers. In my mind, the a chili with beef deserves to be hearty and simple; hence the minimal ingredients and the doubled beans included in the recipe. However, I decided to amp up the flavor and ingredients for the turkey chili and decided to go a Mexican route, throwing in some canned corn and green chili peppers. Although the recipes may be differ, I promise you, it is still just as easy of a meal to make.

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Banana, Chocolate, and Almond Butter Overnight Oats featuring Aloha

Gluten and Dairy Free Overnight Oats

There are two types of people: you are either one who eats breakfast or does not. Me? I have never in my entire life fallen into that latter category. Not only have I never gone a day without breakfast (truly), but I am also mind blown that there are people in this world who voluntarily skip this meal. What gives!? Maybe I am biased because I would be ready to eat my arm if I went sans food until lunch, but I truly believe that breakfast should be a staple of everyone’s morning. I get it, we’re all busy. We live in some odd world where “being busy” is something we weirdly brag about; “oh my gosh, I was so busy today I totally forgot to eat breakfast”. If you’re someone who’s uttered these words, I’m here to help. Firstly, I am truly curious, how do you forget about a meal!? Secondly, let’s talk meal prep. I believe that some of us are honestly too busy to make breakfast every morning, and that is a totally valid point. However, that by no means gives you an excuse to totally skip the most important meal of your day. My solution? Find a breakfast you enjoy, prep multiple servings of it on a Sunday or weeknight, and pop them in the fridge for the mornings to follow. This doesn’t mean that you’re scarfing down a bar while simultaneously trying to zip up your dress and wondering to yourself five minutes later, “did I eat that bar I just pulled out of the drawer or have I lost my mind?” I’ve been there; eaten something too quickly while distracted doing something else only to later question whether I really ate it or not. Instead, take some time – I’m talking 10 minutes – and enjoy your breakfast. Everyone’s mornings are busy but I strongly believe you can carve out this small amount of time to start your day off on the right track. Now, back to the food. When I prep my breakfasts, I have a few mandatory criteria the meal must meet: I must be excited to eat it in the morning, it must be filling and healthy, it must not take too long to prep (because, heck, we’re even busy on Sundays), and it most likely must include some of my favorite breakfast staples – banana and almond butter. Regarding the last point, what ingredient makes banana and almond butter the true holy trinity? Chocolate, duh. And since I’m not about to douse Hershey’s syrup all over my breakfast, in comes Aloha chocolate protein powder. The perfect ingredient to add in some extra protein to make this breakfast even more filling and to take that flavor profile up a notch. This gluten and dairy free chocolate banana almond butter overnight oat recipe is truly a weekly staple in my kitchen and I thoroughly believe it will be one in yours too!

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Vegetable Ribbon Noodles with Meat Sauce

A weeknight Whole30 staple

Let me start right off the bat by saying in no way, whatsoever, is this meal replacing a delicious bowl of gluten and cheese filled spaghetti and meat sauce from your favorite Italian restaurant. Also, before the naysayers come at me about how quickly this meat sauce is made, this is not your grandmother’s Sunday sauce; this is a quick meat marinara sauce that does not take much time but still tastes delicious. Now that we’re on the same page, let me show you how to make a delicious and fast Whole30 approved dinner that you can surprisingly pull together with some potential staples lying around your kitchen (or am I the only one who regularly has zucchini and sweet potatoes on hand and ground beef in my freezer?).

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