The Healthy Trader Joe’s Shopping List You Need When You Shop
Trader Joe’s is my happy place. Ever since I discovered their treasure trove of unique food finds, I’ve been hooked. Even though the store is generally small and manageable, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when sifting through approximately 3,400 yummy looking products. Allow me to help you out with the ultimate healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list for the next time you go on a TJ’s run, but have no idea what to buy.
First, let’s address the health halo. TJ’s is known for its better-for-you products made without GMOs, synthetic colors, or artificial flavors. However, that doesn’t mean every item they sell makes it onto the healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list. I mean, a cookie is a cookie after all.
While it’s impossible to share every nutritious and delicious item available at Trader Joe’s, we are going to focus on Trader Joe’s specific options that are either hard to find at other markets or are unique only to TJ’s. For example, we all know that fresh fruit and veggies are the basis of a healthy diet, so let’s assume you buy them anyway.
As a dietitian, I always recommend a plant-forward diet loaded with fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains, with the addition of lean proteins and low/nonfat dairy products. Trader Joe’s certainly delivers when looking to stock up on these nutrient-dense foods, whether they are fresh, frozen, dried, or canned. Let’s break your healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list down by categories with several delicious options in each.
Fruits and veggies
The base of any well-balanced diet is plant foods with several servings of fruits and veggies per day. The cornerstone of Trader Joe’s is their fabulous, beautiful produce. Items not commonly found in traditional grocery stores are plentiful such as unique varieties of apples, fall squash, golden berries, combo fruits like pluots, and their famous Brussels sprouts on the stalk. Even better are these pre-prepped produce options that save you time in the kitchen.
- Sauerkraut with Pickled Persian Cucumbers
- Organic Broccoli Slaw
- Cruciferous Crunch Collection
- Jicama wraps
- Cauliflower Slims
- Unsweetened Freeze Dried Fruit (mango, blueberries, strawberries)
- Just Mango Slices (unsweetened)
Dairy, dips, and spreads
With a plethora of organic and conventional dairy products mixed with non-dairy options, this section of the store has something for everyone. Protein and probiotic-packed Greek yogurt and kefir are dairy aisle staples, while the delicious dips and spreads made with Greek yogurt vs mayo are great additions to your healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list. Pair them with veggies or whole grain crackers or use them as sandwich spreads.
- Plain Greek Yogurt Nonfat
- Low fat Kefir
- Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative – Plain Unsweetened
- Everything but the Bagel Greek Yogurt Style Dip
- Chunky Guacamole made with Greek Yogurt
- Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip
- Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto
The antiquated advice to only shop the perimeter of the store if you want to eat healthfully is untrue, and even more so at Trader Joe’s. The chain offers day-to-day pantry staples made a little bit better. Condiments like ketchup are made without high fructose corn syrup, cooking oil sprays don’t contain chemical propellants, and lower sodium soups are tasty. This section of your healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list houses some cooking basics plus unique finds to flavor your food like coconut aminos and hot and sweet jalapenos. It’s too difficult to choose the best of the best so here’s a variety of items to keep your pantry stocked.
- Organic Ketchup
- Dijon mustard with white wine
- Avocado Spray Oil
- Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Low Sodium Soup
- Organic Chicken Bone Broth
- Hearts of Palm Pasta
- Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
- Hot and Sweet Jalapeños
- Meatless Ground Plant Based Crumbles made with Pea Protein
- Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce
- Cowboy Caviar
- Black beans
Breads and tortillas
Everyone loves bread, though not all are created equal in the nutrition department. Since 95% of us miss the mark on fiber goals of 25 to 38 grams per day, whole grain breads and bakery products can help us inch closer to what we need. The following items made the cut because they have a significant amount of fiber versus the calories per serving.
- Carb Savvy Tortillas made with Whole Wheat
- Whole Wheat Lavash Flatbread
- 100% Whole Grain Multigrain Fiber Bread
It’s important to spread our protein intake as evenly as possible throughout the day to optimize our muscle growth and repair and prevent muscle loss as we age. Trader Joe’s stocks a plethora of refrigerated protein options for every meal including uncooked, fully cooked, and plant-based varieties that are easy to prepare and create delicious and satisfying meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Uncured Turkey Bacon
- Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage
- Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Smoked Salmon
- Egg Wraps
- Soy Chorizo
- Organic Baked Tofu Teriyaki Flavor
- Pre-cooked Steamed Lentils
- Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Grilled Chicken
- Pesto Chicken Breast (uncooked)
- Shawarma Chicken Thighs (uncooked)
Known for its unique seasoning blends, Trader Joe’s has you covered if your day-to-day meals are tasting a little ho-hum. The following spice blends will elevate so many different foods including everything from popcorn and veggies to poultry, eggs, and fish.
- Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend
- Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend
- Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend
- Cheesy Seasoning Blend
- Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend
Savory and sweet snacks
Healthy snacks are a hot topic and any healthy Trader Joe’s shopping list is certainly not complete without wholesome snacks. Fiber-rich products win again with a variety of beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, and dried fruit taking the prize for nutritious snacking, plus a couple of chocolate treats that are sweet but not too sweet.
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Crunchy Curls Lentil and Potato Snacks
- Organic Roasted Seaweed with Sea Salt
- Salt and Pepper Pistachios
- Garlic & Onion Pistachios
- Quinoa and Black Bean infused Tortilla Chips
- Mini 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bars
- Slightly Coated Dark Chocolate Almonds
Pasta and grains
Whole grains are full of fiber, essential nutrients, and antioxidants to help prevent lifestyle diseases as we age. Trader Joe’s stocks some tasty grains you may not find everywhere – enjoy the beautiful colors of wild rice, tricolor quinoa, and red lentil pasta paired with your favorite lean protein and veggies for a satisfying and balanced meal.
- 10-Minute Farro
- Organic Tricolor Quinoa
- Wild rice
- Organic Red Lentil Sedanini pasta
Sometimes you want something other than water to hydrate and these refreshing drinks provide flavor with little to no sugar. Their selection of coffees and teas is also excellent, especially the seasonal flavors – make sure to stock up on your favorites as the inventory changes throughout the year.
- Sparkling White Tea with Pomegranate Juice
- Unsweetened Green Tea with Blueberry and Pomegranate
- Tangerine Prebiotic Sparkling Beverage
Cereal and seeds
Cereal, oats, and seeds are not only terrific sources of fiber, they also play nicely together in a bowl. Additionally, chia, flax, and hemp seeds contain plant-based, heart-healthy omega-3 fats that we all could use more of in our diets. They are so easy to use! Create overnight oats, or chia pudding, or add flax/chia/hemp seeds to your oatmeal, cereal, or smoothies.
- High Fiber Cereal
- Peanut Butter Protein Granola
- Rolled Oats
- Organic Chia Seeds
- Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds
- Organic Flaxseed Meal
The freezer section at Trader Joe’s contains so many hidden treasures. Frozen proteins and produce are my favorite staples to keep on hand for quick meals on busy days. Rotate turkey, shrimp, and mahi-mahi burgers for a variety of lean proteins that cook in minutes. My secret tip is to mix a bag of the Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry with another TJ’s rice-based dish like Seafood Paella or Chicken Fried Rice for a major veggie boost that doesn’t significantly alter the flavor of the meal.
- Turkey burgers
- Mahi-mahi burgers
- Shrimp burgers
- Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry
- Seafood Blend – shrimp, calamari rings, bay scallops
- Shelled edamame
- Turkey meatballs
- Asian Style Vegetables with Stir Fry Sauce
- Grilled Chicken Strips
- Organic Acai Bowl
- Gone Bananas! Frozen Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Slices
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