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Fresh Ideas

blog by Joy Shen, MS, RDN

  • Writer's pictureJoy Shen, MS, RDN

Easy dinner! Trader Joe’s cheat 😁 Much more satiating, double the protein 💪🏼⠀ 1 package Trader Joe’s spicy Thai fried rice⠀ 1 cup shelled edamame (also @ TJ’s)⠀ 2 TBS canola oil⠀ 1 large chicken breast, baked, chopped⠀ 3 egg whites⠀ Cook fried rice according to package directions, adding edamame with the rice. With ~2min to go, add 3 egg whites, stir. When cooked, stir in cooked chicken. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if you like extra heat. 🔥⠀ Check this out!⠀ TJ’s package alone = 2 servings, 470 kcal, 14g protein⠀ My version🌟 = 4 servings, 400 kcal, 30g protein⠀

My favorite part? Only 1 pan to clean! 🙌🏼⠀ *Tip = I bake ~4 chicken breasts each week, chop, and have in fridge ready to add to any meal/snack.

  • Writer's pictureJoy Shen, MS, RDN

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

Looking to add to your stir fry repertoire? This Asian recipe boasts loads of Vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants... and protein! It's even better as leftovers the next day, in my opinion, and it makes 6-8 servings (or 4-6 servings if you're a marathon runner!). We load it up with spicy Sriracha over here, but we have Szechuan and Texan heritages... Message me what you think!


2 pounds chicken breast strips

10-14 ounces rice noodles

16 ounces chopped broccoli

1-2 chopped red bell peppers

1 tbs vegetable oil


1/2 cup soy sauce

3 minced garlic cloves

2 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs grated fresh)

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp Sriracha


  1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients.

  2. Cook rice noodles according to package directions.

  3. Steam broccoli and bell peppers above noodles, or add directly to pot (if frozen, at the same time as the noodles; if fresh, with last 2-3min of noodle cooking time). Drain.

  4. Heat oil in large skillet or wok and cook chicken.

  5. Stir in pasta, bell peppers, broccoli, and sauce until the mixture is hot.

  6. Add salt and Sriracha to taste.

  • Writer's pictureJoy Shen, MS, RDN

"I cheated on my diet."

"My problem is, I love food too much."

"I need to go burn off my big lunch at the gym."

"I try to avoid all the bad foods."

Do you ever have these thoughts?

My daughter Zoey doesn't. Granted, she's only 2. She hasn't yet been exposed to our diet culture. As her mom, I know I have to be ready to correct all the food rules out there that promote guilt, damage self-esteem, and actually create really unhealthy eating habits. Not to mention ruin the enjoyment of food.

Zoey is an intuitive eater. She hasn't "learned" which foods are "good" and "bad". She isn't expected to finish her plate (or even take one bite, if she really doesn't want to). She runs around because she loves running around, with zero awareness of what a calorie is. When she's hungry, she eats. When she's full, she stops.

The other evening, we were on our way home from the beach and stopped by Whole Foods for a quick dinner. Approaching the hot foods bar, I asked Zoey what she wanted for dinner.

"Chocolate ice cream!" she said.

"That sounds really yummy!" I replied. "But they don't have ice cream here. Let's get some later. We'll get something tasty here that makes you grow big and strong," I said, and added some of her favorite foods to our container.

True to my word, we stopped down the street for ice cream. Ice cream being a family favorite, we already had chocolate ice cream at home. But Zoey had never had a sundae before. I was excited to rock her world.

We sat at the counter at Ruby's Diner, ordered a chocolate sundae, and Zoey dug in...

And ate all of about seven bites. "I be excused?" She asked, as she always does when she's finished, already hopping off the swivel chair and heading towards something else to climb on.

"Did you like the ice cream?"


"Would you like any more?"


When we satisfy our cravings, knowing we can always have more later if we crave it again, we don't overeat. When we think of food as food, without being "bad" or "junk", we enjoy eating and move on to the next part of our day. When we use relationships, interests, and activities to cope with life's difficulties, we don't fall into the trap of binge eating.

Nutrition is complex. I love the biochemistry of it! But eating doesn't have to be complex, once you learn simple guiding (NOT governing) principles.

Confused about nutrition "rules"? Ready to shed the diet war? Make an appointment with me. You deserve guilt-free pleasure of eating!

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