Thursday, January 16, 2014
Trader Joe's Natural Turkey Jerky and Trader Joe's Sugar Snap Peas
So, I need some healthy snacks, and to be honest, for some of them, they need to be the type I can eat however much of and not feel guilty about. The appetite is a monster that needs some slow taming. Pretzels would be okay, but eat too much of them (like I easily can) and the calories wrack up. Eat too little (or what most people would call a "serving") and I'm still hungry. I've tried baby carrots, and they work great, except after eating a couple bags over the course of nearly a week, I discovered I must have hit some critical mass milestone, and my mouth began itching all crazy, and there were what I'll call "other effects" which weren't terribly pleasant, either. Apparently that's a common thing. So, off I went to TJ's one day before work to try and figure out another snack option or two.
The bag cost $5.49, which is low-to mid-price range for a four ounce bag. It's actually pretty decent - the chunk sizes are pretty manageable, and while tough and chewy like a good jerky should be, it's not all stringy either. My teeth are grateful for that fact. For flavor, it's pretty subdued - mostly meaty with a slight sweet tang, and definitely not all salty. In fact, look at the nutritionals and compare them to, say, Target Market Pantry brand that's a staple in my office, and there's half the sodium. While that's still a lot, it's still a big difference for the better. It's a good bite to add some protein to help tide you over, and the flavor, while good, isn't something tempting enough to make me want to devour the bag. My coworker Melanie (AKA the jerky enabler) agrees after she snatched some bites away, giving it "about a four." Sounds right to me.
Now, I've had my share of issues with TJ's produce, but in every regard, TJ's won this battle of competing snow peas. I showed Melanie, and she at least feigned surprise. The TJs peas were firmer, fresher, crisper, and bigger than any of the sad, little pathetic guys I wasted my money on from the other store. I also noticed there the very fresh, tasty looking two-pack of celery hearts ($2.79 there vs. $4 elsewhere) and from buying enough baby carrot bags, I know that TJ's is a good value and, at the very least, comparable quality. So, TJ's may have won back some of my produce buying business, at least until it's time for farmer's markets and home veggie gardens once more. C'mon, spring.
Little changes add up a lot. With a few small changes like munching on healthier work snacks, drinking more water, watching serving sizes, and opting for a bowl of cereal over the drive-thru for a snacking vice, I've lost a few pounds already this year. And yes, I know, exercise, which is why I'm kicking myself back into shape doing c25k.* But enough about me. What's your favorite healthy stuff at TJ's? I'm all ears, or rather eyes, so leave a comment below!
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Natural Turkey Jerky: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sugar Snap Peas: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Believe me, if you want a good exercise program to get yourself into shape, do c25k. I've done it already, a few years back, and am redoing it mostly to try and gain some speed while getting back into respectable 5k shape. If a fat, slow, flatfooted guy like me can run a 5k, so can you....and I once ran a 10k. Plenty of apps out there to help you out.