11 Trader Joe’s Foods That Fit in the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet has been a favorite among dieticians and nutritionists for several years now, as it takes inspiration from those living and eating in the Mediterranean as a way of leading healthier lives. This is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. It’s one that doesn’t shy away from olive oil and pasta and is not a diet of deprivation but delicious and healthy foods.
One place that knows a thing or two about doing healthy food in delicious and creative ways is Trader Joe’s, and there are a lot of great finds there for anyone on the Mediterranean Diet.
1. Riced Cauliflower Bowl
A bowl is always on trend, and for good reason – it’s filling, hearty, healthy, and delicious – not to mention simple and satisfying.
“My favorite Trader Joe’s food that fits in the Mediterranean diet is their Riced Cauliflower Bowl made with tahini sauce, marinated chickpeas, sweet potatoes, baked tofu, and roasted onions,” says Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, a heart-health dietitian at EntirelyNourished.com.
This dish is a favorite for several reasons. For starters, “it is delicious, full of flavor, and satisfying for a quick easy lunch meal when I am in a pinch,” continues Routhenstein. “It also aligns with a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet given its low sodium and saturated fat profile, and cardioprotective elements of fiber, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins like B6, potassium, and magnesium.”
2. Mediterranean Style Salad Kit
Grabbing a salad at the local cafe can get pricey fast, but these salad kits are the same experience at a fraction of the price.
“One of my favorite options is the Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Style Salad Kit,” says Melissa Wasserman Baker, dietitian, nutritionist, and founder of Food Queries. It includes a mix of greens, vegetables, and a tangy Mediterranean-style dressing. “This salad kit is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, which are all essential nutrients for maintaining optimal health.”
Plus, it’s a convenient and easy way to incorporate a variety of Mediterranean-inspired ingredients into your diet.
3. Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Salmon is so incredibly versatile and Trader Joe’s has wild Alaskan sockeye salmon available frozen, fresh, or smoked.
“It has a wealth of nutrients and it’s a protein staple in the Mediterranean diet,” says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, a board-certified sports dietitian located in Miami. “Wild Alaskan sockeye contains vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, and iron. It also has more vitamin D than other salmon species. For example, one 3-ounce serving of cooked wild Alaska sockeye salmon contains 14.2 micrograms of vitamin D, very close to meeting your daily needs of 15 micrograms, while farmed salmon only has a quarter of the vitamin D content compared to wild species.”
The Mediterranean diet also stresses consuming two servings of fish and seafood per week and consuming mostly healthy sources of fat such as those found in salmon. “Wild Alaska sockeye salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain and heart health,” says Ehsani. “Choosing seafood coming from Alaska also guarantees it was caught sustainably and has fewer contaminants than farmed.”
4. Cauliflower Gnocchi
Another great option is Cauliflower Gnocchi, and there are so many ways to enjoy it.
“Made with cauliflower and potato flour, this gnocchi is a healthier alternative to traditional pasta. It’s also low in calories and carbs, making it a great option for those following a Mediterranean diet,” says Wasserman Baker.
Plus, it’s versatile and can be paired with a variety of sauces and vegetables for a delicious and filling meal.
5. Organic Pitted Kalamata Olives
Too many olives that you buy in a jar will not have much true olive taste, but that’s not the case here.
“Trader Joe’s organic olives are in a wonderful brine of extra virgin olive oil and have the taste that you get when you eat olives in the Mediterranean,” says Bill Bradley, RD of Mediterranean Living.
Olives are a great Mediterranean snack and are eaten daily in the Mediterranean. Use them in salads, as an addition to a cheese plate, or as an ingredient when cooking.
6. Marinated Grilled Artichoke Halves
Another delicious snack that would be eaten in the Mediterranean.
“These are low in calories, high in healthy fat, and a great snack if you are trying to lose weight. I eat them with feta and fresh tomatoes with oregano on the side,” says Bradley.
7. Falafel Mix
Takeout falafel may feel like a guilty pleasure but there’s a way to make it healthy and just as satisfying.
“We love falafel and they are super healthy, mostly made up of beans and herbs,” says Bradley.
Making falafel from scratch is not always easy or convenient, which is where Trader Joe’s Falafel Mix comes in.
“Simply mix with water half an hour before making them and you are ready,” says Bradley. “You can either fry them in healthy extra virgin olive oil (yes, you can fry with olive oil) or bake them in the oven. We always fry them and they are amazing served with fresh vegetables and pita bread and a lemon tahini sauce drizzled on top.”
It’s a healthy comfort food that will give you the protein you need and fill you up.
8. Vanilla Overnight Oats
Any of the Trader Joe’s overnight oats are delicious and fit perfectly into your Mediterranean diet.
“They are low in trans-fat, have no added sugars, are whole grain, and aren’t overly processed,” says Erika Collette, RD at This Is Why I’m Fit. “While you could easily make overnight oats, the Trader Joe’s Version is perfect for a quick on-the-go breakfast with no work on your part.”
Top with berries or peanut butter to make them your own.
9. Lemon Chicken and Arugula Salad
These pre-made salads make lunch very easy, and they taste great.
“There are no extra preservatives or additives, and you can keep them stocked in your fridge for a grab-and-go meal,” says Collette. “Pair it with some whole grain crackers and hummus for a complete meal that will leave you full and won’t hurt your goals.”
10. Organic Yellow Lentil & Brown Rice Spaghetti
The Mediterranean diet is all about whole grains and as little processing as possible.
“This pasta made from lentils and brown rice is fully whole grain, has nothing else in it, and even has 14 grams of protein in it from the lentils,” says Collette. “Plus it doesn’t taste any different than the usual highly processed white pasta once you add some fresh pesto or tomato sauce and dress it up a little.”
11. Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
This pesto is so creamy and delicious that you’d never know that it is healthy.
“It has no added processed ingredients, just what the name says,” says Collette. “The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats found in nuts like cashews and olive oil which make up a large percentage of the pesto. While the pesto is vegan, you can use it on top of fish or chicken or mixed in with the Organic Yellow Lentil & Brown Rice Spaghetti.”