By Carrie Havranek
Those of you who are regulars at Clean Plates know: We love Trader Joe’s for all sorts of things, from healthy frozen dinners to crunchy snacks and good, cheap coffee. The list of Trader Joe’s finds goes on and on.
A relatively recent addition to the Clean Plates Trader Joe’s fan club? Our founder and CEO Jared Koch, who started shopping at TJ’s regularly during the pandemic: “Trader Joe’s was always someplace we shopped once in a while, but once COVID-19 hit, we had trouble getting food delivered from other stores on a regular basis,” he says. “They were so accommodating to us and helpful with curbside pickup because of my wife’s pregnancy.”
He also adds that the ingredients are just as good or better as the options at other places, including Whole Foods. And the savings are noteworthy; he estimates his family saves $100 to $200 per week.
So, what’s in Jared’s cart? Here’s the short list of Trader Joe’s finds you’ll find his cart. And P.S., they’re all less than $5.
10 Healthy Trader Joe’s Finds for Less Than $5
- Just Mango Slices: Jared tries to limit sugar, and, as the name suggests, these mango slices are just mangos — no sugar added. “Ultimately, we just do our best and buy as many products without sugar that often have hidden sugars, such as tomato sauces and yogurt,” he says. “We really limit juice. When we bake we use better quality alternatives like coconut sugar and almond flour.”
- Fruit Leather Buttons: These snacks are a favorite of Jared’s daughters. “We never give more than one pack of fruit leather buttons per day…even though they keep asking.”
- Kettle Style Potato Chips: “They make one that’s organic and one with olive oil. We like both.”
- Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil: “It’s just $1.99 a bag, and it’s so good.”
- Unsalted Organic White Corn Tortilla Chips: Jared opts for the organic tortilla chips with no salt added.
- Sauerkraut with Pickled Persian Cucumbers: “This may be a regional thing, I don’t know, but the pickles in the sauerkraut just adds a nice change,” he says. “And the kraut is great; it has this perfect tang.”
- Organic Reduced Sugar Preserves: These might be one of Jared’s favorite finds. “It’s got something like only 6 grams of sugar, which is unheard of,” he says. His kids especially like the blueberry and strawberry flavors.
- Sprouted Wheat Sourdough Bread: “We don’t eliminate gluten completely but do try to eat sourdough breads and sprouted bread products,” Jared says. “My approach with most things is not to be extreme. I believe the body does better/develops knowledge of how to deal with things when getting them in small doses. If you completely remove something (which you should if you really need to) then the next time your body comes into contact with it in can produce a more severe reaction.”
- Gluten-Free Waffles: Freezer-friendly and they taste just like the real thing.
- Pineapple Tidbits: Frozen fruit is a great snack, especially when the weather is hot. “The kids love to just eat the pineapple tidbits,” he says.