D:C has become a catalog of my travels and packing lists, and while adventure is a priority to me, so is maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle. Staying healthy and eating clean during the weeks so that I can fully enjoy myself on my trips can be even more challenging with my busy schedule. Working full-time and also being in graduate school for the past 18 months really took a toll on my healthy meal prep time.
With the help of my favorite grocery store, (don’t let my Floridian friends hear my transgression against Publix) and coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have to make everything myself like the Pioneer Woman, I’ve come to love these time-saving products that help me stick to my healthy routine. (And, no, Trader Joe’s did not sponsor this post… I just have a mild obsession).
- TJ’s Turkey Chili is my pantry staple. I prefer it to the beef version, and always keep a couple of cans on hand. It’s the perfect protein-packed lunch or dinner for those days when I return from a trip (or before I leave) and have yet to go grocery shopping.
- Grilled chicken strips. This purchase used to come with some personal shame… buying pre-grilled chicken? Seriously? Once I came to terms with the fact that I didn’t have time (or even know how) to grill batches of chicken myself, I realized that I was fine spending the extra $2 for pre-grilled chicken if it ensured I prepped healthy salads for lunch. The extra up-front cost still saves me in the end when I can skip the pricey Panera salad.
- Cold Brew coffee concentrate. As a caffeine addict, being able to wake up, pour ice, this concentrate, and skim milk into a cold tumbler, and be on my way to the gym is not only a time and money saver, but it keeps me away from the temptation of sugar-laden iced Starbucks. Each concentrate bottle is $7 and I get three times more iced coffees out of it than I would if I spent that money at the Starbs.
- TJ’s turkey burgers are just ground turkey and spices. These frozen, uncooked patties are best grilled, but I’ve often baked all four on a baking sheet and then kept them in the fridge to wrap in romaine lettuce wraps for a quick lunch. They beat a burger craving in a cheaper, healthier way and it’s almost as fast as hitting the drive-through.
- Lately, the internet is full of quips that “a handful of almonds isn’t a real snack for real woman.” I disagree. I love nuts, especially raw almonds, and keep a bag of these at my desk at work and sometimes in my car. A handful of almonds isn’t a big snack, but sometimes it’s just the nibble you need or the perfect accompaniment to an apple or boiled egg.
- And, finally, Gone Bananas chocolate covered banana bites. They kick a chocolate and ice-cream craving in one bite. Because they’re frozen, you can always keep a box in your freezer and always have a healthy treat on hand.
With most of these being shelf stable or freezable items, you can grab them and stock up on your next grocery trip and never have to resort to the drive-through or fall hangry again. Six little items to start your healthier New Year…