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    Archive for the ‘Tasty Bite’ Category

    In A Pinch? These Products Make Healthy Dining A Cinch!

    amys-tradbeansI hear it often.

    • “By the time I get home from work and the gym, the last thing I want to do is cook a meal, even if it’s just twenty minutes.”
    • “I love cooking healthy meals when I have company, but when it’s just me on a Tuesday night, I’m not as motivated.”
    • “Is it at all possible to eat healthy without getting extra pots and pans dirty?”

    These statements make complete sense.  I, too, often come home some evenings feeling more lazy than chef-like.  I love to cook, and there are nights when all I want to do is press a button and have dinner served to me; I can only imagine what a kitchen-phobe must experience!

    Alas, the products listed below have often come to my rescue by allowing me to have a healthy meal with simple ingredients in minutes on days where an avocado, hummus, and sprout sandwich just won’t cut it.

    Please note this is simply a personal list of my favorite items.  While extensive, it is not a definitive “end all, be all” compilation.  There are plenty of other products that would fit the bill but are not listed simply because I have not tried them.

    All of these products get high marks from me for flavor, nutrient composition, and agreeable ingredient lists (no test-tube Frankengredients in sight!).

    For easier navigation, I have divided them by category.

    WHOLE GRAINS

    • Seeds of Change Tigris or Uyuni microwaveable rice pouches: these whole grains are already seasoned, but unlike other brands, the sodium content is absolutely reasonable (220 milligrams per cup).  Bonus: they are certified organic!
    • Tasty Bite microwaveable brown rice: a great way to get whole grains that allows you to flavor to your liking.  Super quick and easy flavoring ideas:
      • Soy sauce, ground ginger, toasted sesame oil
      • Raisins and cashews
      • Curry powder and olive oil

    BEANS AND LEGUMES (best used as side dishes):

    SAUCES:

    • Seeds of Change Indian simmer sauces: transform a simple stir-fry into a palate-popping dish — without sketchy ingredients or ridiculous amounts of calories and sodium.
    • Dave’s Gourmet pasta sauce: with so many commercial pasta sauces laden with sodium and added sugars (but very little flavor), these are an absolute delight.  The butternut squash pasta sauce turns pasta night into a culinary treat.
    • Alessi pasta sauce: imported from Sicily, so they don’t get “green points”, but I justify my purchases by thinking of all the local produce I purchase!
    • Rao’s pasta sauce: I occasionally have a craving for whole wheat penne a la vodka.  When I do, this is the sauce I turn to.  The price tag is hefty, but one jar lasts me three or four months.

    MUST-HAVES FOR A 3-MINUTE ENTREE OR SIDE SALAD (mix and match):

    • Pre-washed greens (if the bag or container says “triple washed”, I don’t bother with additional rinsing or washing  Straight into my plate or bowl it goes).  My tastebuds become putty in arugula’s hands, so that’s generally what I use, but use whatever you prefer.
    • Grape or cherry tomatoes.  Love these.  All they need is a quick rinse.  No chopping or slicing needed, unless you want to.
    • Canned whole kernel sweet corn: Just needs a quick rinse.
    • Pre-shredded carrots: Ready-to-go betacarotene.
    • Jarred roasted red peppers
    • Pitted olives
    • Seeds.  Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia.  Whatever.  Sprinkle two or three tablespoons to add protein, fiber, phytonutrients — and crunch!
    • Raisins.  Easy way to add sweetness to a salad straight out of a container.  Dried cranberries also work, though all varieties contain added sugar.
    • Shredded organic cheese (dairy or alternative): Again, open the bag and sprinkle over your salad.  Takes all of, what, 20 seconds?

    YOU COULD ALSO USE THE SALAD VEGETABLES AS A BED FOR THESE QUICK PROTEINS:

    I don’t have much experience in the realm of frozen meals (and most of what I have tried classifies as “pretty decent” at best, and therefore not fitting for this “best of” post).  However, here are a few items (entrees and side dishes) I like to have handy and enjoy eating.  FYI: I prefer cooking them in the oven, which does require a good amount of time:

    • Evol Burritos: I wish they were slightly lower in sodium, but as long as they are an occasional “I’m in no mood to cook” SOS item (think no more than twice a month), it’s fine.  Top with a few tablespoons of salsa if you want to feel more accomplished.
    • Dr. Praeger’s sweet potato pancakes: When you don’t have a sweet potato to bake, this is a good alternative.
    • Trader Joe’s Thai vegetable dumplings: I sometimes enjoy these as a snack or an appetizer.

    And, please, help inform fellow Small Bites readers by leaving your favorite “in a pinch” products that deserves two thumbs up for great flavors and lovely nutrition labels.

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    “Buy One, Get One Free” Serendipity

    tyb-013020Yesterday I told you about Tasty Bite Simmer Sauces — flavor packets low in sodium (and with a Small-Bites-approved ingredient list of real food) that are perfect for dressing up dishes in no time.

    I have since found out that the company is currently holding an online “buy one, get one free” sale on this product, valid through September 8.

    Simply enter TBSMR9 at checkout and you’re good to go.

    Enjoy!

    UPDATE (8/31): A few readers informed me the “buy one, get one free” sale was not working when they attempted to order simmer sauce packets.  I inquired with the company, and this is the response I received:

    Basically, our fulfillment and web partner informed me that when a item has no value, it doesn’t appear as a line item in the cart. It needs to have a value associated with it. There is no error message, but unfortunately no confirmation that the additional sauce is put in it either. We are honoring the promo on all orders that include simmer sauces thru 9/8 when using the code or not.

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    Two Healthy and Tasty Pantry Must-Haves!

    748404287930Considering the nutritional horrors that are often consumed due to time constraints, I am always eager to share products I personally come across — and try out for myself — that make it possible to whip up tasty and healthy food in minutes.

    First up– Seeds of Change’s microwaveable rice pouches.

    Four of the six varieties are 100% whole grain:

    It gets better.  All varieties are already seasoned with organic spices and a variety of organic vegetables (not vegetable powders — REAL vegetables!).

    While many boxed and seasoned grain products contain ridiculous amounts of sodium (as much as 600 or 700 milligrams per serving), Seeds of Change gets brownie points for offering, at most, 380 milligrams per serving (the average sodium content of these four products is an outstanding 268 milligrams per serving).

    Each of these pouches also offers, on average, 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.

    Next up — Tasty Bite’s Simmer Sauces.

    Need to quickly and effortlessly dress up beef, chicken, seafood, tofu, tempeh, seitan, or some stir-fried vegetables?  Look no further.

    These sauces use real food — as opposed to flavored chemicals — and a variety of spices to liven up your dish of choice.

    Consequently, each serving contains no more than a practically non-existent 45 milligrams of sodium (Two-thumbs-up-FYI: a serving is half the pouch, not a quarter of a teaspoon!).

    Even varieties like the pad-thai simmer sauce, which packs in several teaspoons of sugar, are fine if you are using half a pouch for a meal that serves three or four people.

    Go ahead and add these to your “I want something healthy and delicious… and I want it NOW” shelf.

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