“Oh, they won’t eat that,” thought me when I put this fried rice dinner in front of my boys.  Have you ever made an assumption about what your kids will or won’t eat? ⁣⁣I have. And, often, I’m proved wrong.  My oldest son loves sushi. The first time he asked me to take him out for sushi, I was skeptical he would eat much. Shockingly, in addition to the egg rolls, fried rice and edamame, he ate his entire spicy salmon roll. I was impressed and inspired. How about keeping this adventurous eating trend going?  September is National Family Meals Month, and we’ve got a family goal of trying a new ethnic cuisines this month. Experiencing another culture’s food helps our kids:

  • keep an open-mind about new foods and different cuisines. ⁣⁣
  • learn about different cultures and the food they eat.
  • enjoy eating and exploring as a family
  • can make it easier for kids to accept new foods if the family ventures out to a different country.
  • exposes children to wider variety of nutrients that might not be part of their every day diet.

We would love for you to join us! If your family tries out a new type of cuisine – tag #mcdanielglobaleats! We will include your experience in our roundup blog post at the end of the month.

How We Modified Trader Joe’s Fried Rice

In addition to eating out, I’m also trying to increase the variety of cuisines we eat at home. Trader Joe’s makes this easy. I modified their Japanese Style Fried Rice by adding in frozen veggies and tofu. Yet, this short-cut recipe remains simple. Research shows that eating together as a family trumps what gets served. It’s a priority that our dinner ideas are simple to minimize any family mealtime barriers. Parents are BUSY and don’t have time to cook the way generations in the past did. Letting go of self-inflicted high expectations is freeing. As I consider this, I’ll do my best to offer healthy-ish family dinner ideas with an emphasis on SHORT-CUTs. We hope you enjoy this effort AND this fried rice recipe.

Check out our Short-Cut recipe from last week: Roasted Eggplant with Trader Joe’s Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli

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Japanese Style Fried Rice with Tofu and Vegetables

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  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 T. olive or sesame oil
  • 1, 10 oz. block of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 T. teriyaki sauce
  • 1, 16 oz. bag Japanese Style Fried Rice with Tofu and
  • 5 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (we used 1/2 a bag of peas and carrots)
  • 1 c. low-sodium vegetable broth


  1. In a large saúte pan, warm 1 T. oil over medium heat.  Add cubed tofu and saúte 4-5 minutes. Add 1 T. teriyaki sauce until tofu is well-coated and slightly browned (about another 3-4 minutes).
  2. Add fried rice, mixed vegetables and low-sodium vegetable broth.  Saúte until warmed through about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Serve! Yes, that was two steps, you are welcome.