Healthy, Easy Dish Using Trader Joe’s Balala

I had written a long post about COVID and how I’m worried we are headed into the Great Depression. Although the impact of the virus is at the forefront of all of our minds, there is already an overload of information in the news. No need for me to chime in. So instead, I turn to helpful food tips for a healthier you.

My Diet Reset 

For the last month, I’ve been:

  • Logging my food, exercise, and water intake on My Fitness Pal with Macros as my setting to track.
  • Intermittent fasting buy trying to eat within an 8 hour period each day. The time tends to be 12:30-8:30. 

To read more about this plan, read my pervious 4 Actions to Diet Reset  and Time to Lose the COVID-19 Weight.

Progress on Diet Reset

I’m finishing up my 4th week on this diet lifestyle. It’s working for me! I’ve lost about 6lbs since I started, and I do not feel deprived. I haven’t been perfect, but it’s not the type of diet where if not followed 100%, we throw in the towel all together like with more restrictive diets. 

I’m still not doing great with the limiting alcohol part. What I’m finding is that the 150-300 calories from the glass or 2 of wine I consume on a given day really impacts my ability to get the rest of my required protein nutrients. Based on my weight loss goals, I am allotted about 1200 calories a day. I consume more calories on days I exercise. So on a non-workout day, after 2 glasses of wine, I only get 900 calories of food! It sets me up for failure and I usually go over in calories on those days. 

I need to cut back on the wine. Aside from being a bad habit to want a glass every single day, it is not healthy for my body and I can see it clearly in print since I’ve been tracking my food. Continual struggle I will report back on next week. 

Overall, I love that I’m drinking more water, my clothes are fitting better, and I’m eating much healthier due to tracking my intake based on protein/carbs/fat versus simply on calories. It no longer feels like a burden to log my food and exercise. As with any habit, after a few weeks, it becomes a natural task. 

I’ve relied on a dish to keep me on track during the last 4 weeks. It’s extremely easy to prepare and delicious! But you need access to a Trader Joes. 

Easiest Dish to Get Healthy – Cucumber Tomato Chick Pea Salad

Have you tried Balala Salad at Trader Joe’s? It’s in the refrigerated prepared food section. It is a chick pea salad with a dressing made with red onions, herbs and olive oil. It’s delicious! 

While I can eat a whole container in one sitting, the calories add up with chick peas. I use just 1/4 cup of the Balala and mix with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes to make a salad. Add chicken or canned tuna to get more protein, and 1/2 an avocado for some healthy fat. Finish with a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar and mix well. 

It is delicious, fast, healthy and filling! If I’m having lunch, this is my go-to dish. I’ve been eating lunch only on days I am hungry and after noon, due to my intermittent fasting. 

I use Persian cucumbers because I can leave the skin on and these cucumbers taste better than traditional. And I love cherry tomatoes because they don’t make the salad full of liquid and they are sweeter than regular tomatoes. And of course, I love not having to cut these too. 

Efficient salad, right? The dressing on the Balala is the star. Hope you try it and find it’s as delicious as I do!

If you’re not subscribed already, join my email list to get my posts delivered to your inbox as they are published! Stay well, and I’ll touch base again soon. 

Ps. A great way to reward yourself for meeting your health milestones… a piece of Jewelry! New pieces added to my online jewelry store, and my virtual consults on Zoom are working great!

Cucumber Tomato Chick Pea Salad

Easy, Delicious and Healthy using Balala salad from Trader Joe's
Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: cherry tomatoes, chick peas, cucumber, low calorie salad, salad
Servings: 1
Calories: 120kcal
Cost: 5


  • 3 Persian cucumbers - sliced
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Balala Chick Pea Salad
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar


  • Combine ingredients, add more red wine vinegar per your tastes


optional: avocado, chicken, canned tuna (not included in calories)

Flavor Your Life with An Ounce of Salt. By Jen Oliak