Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Healthy Foods at Trader Joe’s
These affordable, nutritious staples will help you stick to all your healthy eating resolutions.
Published Jan 2, 2017 6:00 AM
Trying to get back on the post-holidays healthy track can be bumpy in the beginning, especially when your bank account looks a little meager after gift shopping. Luckily, Trader Joe’s has plenty of healthy staples to fill your cupboards and fridge without draining your wallet. If you have some of these on hand, you can look forward to quick, nourishing meals and snacks instead of ordering take-out again. Round out this shopping list with lots of fresh produce for a huge variety of nutritious and delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and everything in between.
Packed with fiber, plant-based protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids, these little gems are much beloved in the fitspo kitchen. And there’s so much you can do with them: Make breakfast or dessert puddings or homemade energy gels, use as a smoothie thickener or a vegan egg substitute, or add them to pudding pops. These tiny seeds absorb the liquid they are soaked in, which makes them “grow” and helps you feel full.
Eggs are another healthy diet cornerstone, and earlier this year Trader Joe’s vowed to transition to only use cage-free suppliers nationwide by 2025. Choose the organic, cage-free version from chickens given all-vegetarian feed if possible when you are picking out this protein source. Then go crazy making frittatas, shakshoukas, baked eggs, rice bowls and more.
Another great versatile protein source, quinoa is also vegan-friendly and an awesome substitute for rice or pasta. Cook quinoa in veg broth for even more flavor and then use it as a fluffy bed for a piece of roasted fish and veggies. Quinoa is also delicious added to a salad, stuffed into a roasted pepper or squash, and made into nourishing sweet or savory breakfast options. Choose from the white, red, or tricolor variety to make your meal as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds.
After a hard workout, you need a refreshing beverage that puts a little spring back in your step. Coconut water hits the spot: It feels decadent but is full of potassium and electrolytes to help your muscles recover. Trader Joe’s coconut water comes from Thailand and is bottled using a cold-water pressure method, sealing in all the naturally good stuff. While you are in the refrigerated section, check out Trader Joe’s cold-pressed juices. You’ll pay a fraction of the price you would at your favorite juice bar, and you still get tons of nutrients without any preservatives or heat processing.
Raw Almond Butter
If you’ve ever reached for a jar of raw almond butter at the store, only to recoil in horror when you realize it costs about $20, you will love Trader Joe’s where it costs less than half that. This creamy almond butter is great added to smoothies, spread on sammies, or drizzled over apple slices or bananas. Health foodies are also thrilled with the ingredient list: The only things going into this almond butter are raw almonds (no palm oil or salt, as is common in many other brands).
Smoothies are great for breakfast, but when winter hits you probably crave something warm. Oatmeal is the ideal option when you need something filling and nurturing yet open for variation. These gluten-free rolled oats cook quickly and are wonderful with a dollop of almond butter, topped with chopped nuts or toasted coconut, or swirled with jam. For an effortless breakfast, try these no-cook overnight oats. You can even process these into a flour and use instead of refined all-purpose versions for hearty and healthy cookies and pancakes.
Roasted Seaweed Snacks
Need a salty snack midday? Crunch on these dried sheets of seaweed (a.k.a. nori). If you’ve never had seaweed snacks before, you’re in for a real treat. Nori contains tons of vitamins A and C and even some B-12 as well as several minerals. Each of these packets contains two 30-calorie servings and is less than $1. Buy them by the cartful to pack in kids’ school lunches and stash in your desk drawer. If you want another crunchy and salty snack, try the company’s kale chips.
We wouldn’t dream of writing a roundup of healthy foods at Trader Joe’s without including some dark chocolate. Trader Joe’s has a pretty extensive array so feel free to buy several and taste-test them one delicious square at a time until you pick your favorite. This Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar has 85% cacao, so if you are serious about the potential benefits from high cacao content (such as heart health), this is the bar for you. Trader Joe’s works with a supplier who buys the beans from Columbian farmers and then roasts and turns them into bars and packages them. The result is a smooth, affordable chocolate bar that will satisfy your sweetest cravings.
Frozen Organic Mixed Berry Blend
You don’t have to wait until summer to start your day with a smoothie that’s bursting with organic berries. This organic mixed berry blend is available year-round and includes strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries that were frozen at their peak ripeness, so you have the perfect berry base. Just add your favorite nut milk, a frozen chopped banana, and some greens to make an affordable breakfast that will give you a head start on your day’s fruit and vegetable intake. This berry blend is also great added to oatmeal.