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Trader Joe's Products for Healthier Snacking

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Healthy eating is hard. Why not make it easier?

I was working with a client the other day and she was talking about the challenges of snacking. She realized that by making healthier options as convenient as possible, her chances of eating better would go way up. Yes! Willpower can only get you so far, and for must of us, it's a short lived solution. There's a reason that the slogan for a potato chip maker is, "Bet you can't eat just one!" Making healthy options convenient takes a lot of the challenge out of healthy eating.

We live in a culture of convenience. This can be wonderful (mobile order coffee!) but it also has some downsides, particularly the impact on our health. Like it or not, it drives a lot of our behavior. You've got enough daily battles to fight. Let's put our tendency to seek out what's convenient to work for us, to increase our healthy snacking.

Below are some snack ideas from my local Trader Joe's, but you can find many of the same, or similar, in your neck of the woods. Read the labels. If it doesn't have a label, it's likely a good choice. For other items, focus on things with short ingredient lists of real food.

Yes, regular carrots are probably less expensive, but our goal is EASY. Also, how exactly are you saving money or eating better if you don't get around to cutting up the carrots you bought before they've turned to mush in your veg drawer?

This small cucumbers can be cut up into slices, but that's not actually required. Go with what works for you.

Grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, any kind of small 1-2 bite tomatoes make a very convenient snack.

If you're trying to snack on more vegetables, you can ease into it by pairing it with a healthy dip. This one has just two ingredients: Greek yogurt and Everything But the Bagel Spice Mix. You can easily make that yourself, but again, we're focusing on making it as easy as possible.

If you're more in the mood for something sweet, there's the old standby of fruit. Mandarins, clementines, bananas, apples, pears, and grapes are all available in winter months. Berries and stone fruits are convenient in the summer.

If you've seen some diets recommending that fruit should be eliminated because it contains sugar, check your BS meter. Does fruit contain sugar? Yes, but not all sugar is the same, in terms of how your body responds. The sugar in fruit is naturally packaged in vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, fiber, which mutes blood sugar spikes. For more on that, see this video. If you tend to get bored, try a rotation of 3-4 options throughout the week.

Icelandic and Greek yogurt pack a lot of goodness in a small package. The caveat: read the nutrition facts on the package to see how much sugar has been added. Many commercial yogurts add A LOT (4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon). While milk is the main ingredient and naturally contains sugar (lactose), that's not the kind of refined sugar you need to be concerned about. If added sugar isn't listed, you can compare a flavored yogurt to a plain of the same style and brand. Lower sugar (5g or less per serving) yogurts can be a healthy snack and a convenient dip for fruit, if you become bored with plain old fruit. Want to go even healthier? Try plain yogurt with some smashed bananas to add some sweetness.

Whether your goal is health, weight/fat loss, or both, you don't need to eat perfectly. Focus on making it convenient to eat better on a daily basis, and you'll be building the habits you need to reach and maintain your goals.

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