I am a huge Trader Joe’s fan for many reasons, but if I had to narrow it down, I would probably say that it is the price and convenience of purchasing a variety of nutritious foods that draw me in. I’m going to get straight to the good stuff today, and take you through a few of my favorite staples from Trader Joe’s. Time for your *virtual* grocery store tour!
Let’s start with the fruit and veggie aisle: It’s essential that we eat these nutrient-filled powerhouses, but fitting them in each day can be challenging. They are full of antioxidants, which help to prevent and delay cell damage in the body, among many other benefits. The current recommendation is to make half of the plate fruits and vegetables, which is the equivalent to eating up to 9 servings per day. I love that Trader Joe’s makes it easy with these options.
You may have seen this one gaining popularity recently, and for good reason. Adding riced cauliflower to a meal enhances nutrition, and can also be helpful if looking to reduce portion sizes of carbohydrates. This is perfect for a quick stir-fry, as a side dish, and can also replace rice in a meal that already contains carbohydrates (ie. Tacos). I should also say this: I definitely recommend buying it already ‘riced’…take it from someone who tried to ‘rice’ it themselves.
This can be added to salads or anything that needs a little crunch
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Did you know that frozen fruits and vegetables are often times more fresh, than fresh vegetables? This is because they are flash frozen at peak ripeness, whereas fresh vegetables have typically traveled a long way to get to our plate. And they’re cheaper- bonus!
Next up, let’s round the corner to check out the whole grains/starches
Trader Joe’s is a great place to stock up on a variety of reasonably priced grains. I’ve narrowed it down to two for you today!
Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein? It is one of the only plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, which are amino acids that our body cannot produce, therefore we must consume them in food. It’s also high in fiber, and has higher amounts of antioxidants compared to its counterparts. For anyone looking to stabilize energy and control blood sugar, quinoa has a lower glycemic index, meaning it will not spike blood sugar because the protein and fiber that it contains slows digestion.
Red Lentil Pasta
Another favorite! This pasta is made of red lentil flour, and high in protein and fiber, has a lower glycemic index, and is gluten free. If you get stuck consuming some of the same grains (or foods in general), challenge yourself to branch out and try new options. You never know until you try 😊
Follow me, for a stroll down the breakfast aisle and baking sections: Next up-Flaxseed Meal and Cacao Powder
When purchasing flaxseeds, it is best to buy them already ground up (look for flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed), as whole flaxseeds do not absorb in the body. Flaxseeds are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. For added benefits, you can sprinkle flaxseeds on yogurt, salads, add them to soups (which creates a thicker soup!), oatmeal, or cereal. They are quite versatile!
Cacao powder is from the cacao tree, and is made by cold-pressing the unroasted cacao beans, which allows it to maintain it’s high levels of antioxidants. This is not to be confused with cocoa, which is from the same plant but has been chemically roasted and processed at higher temperatures, which destroys the high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants.
Cacao powder can be added to anything that you want to taste like chocolate, and can always be substituted for cocoa powder. Add this powder to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
Next up, let’s get a little saucy.
Quality marinara sauce can be hard to find, especially if you’re looking for a low sodium option. The average store bought marinara sauce contains up to 500 mg of sodium per ½ cup serving, which is about a quarter of the recommended sodium needs for an adult for one day. Sodium should be kept to a minimum at 2300 mg per day for healthy individuals, and is especially important to limit for anyone that has high blood pressure or is at risk, where the recommendation is much lower at 1500 mg per day. This marinara has just 35 mg of sodium per serving, making it a great option to keep in the house to add to a quick and easy meal!
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
Yum! Thick, creamy, delicious, yes please! No explanation needed, just check out those ingredients.
Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
And lastly, by popular demand, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. Ahh, maybe you’ve heard of this, seen it on a friend’s social media account, or maybe even tried it yourself. If you’re an everything bagel lover, this is the answer to your prayers. The label is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re watching your sodium, this product does contain salt, but the flavors here are so wonderful all you need is a little sprinkle. Add this to eggs in the morning, or sprinkle on top of avocado toast.
Well, that’s all folks! Thanks for joining me on the virtual Trader Joe’s grocery store tour. Happy Shopping!
This post is not sponsored: Just a dietitian who love TJ’s!