I’m a budgeter. Maybe it’s growing up in a small town suburb that has instilled in me this aptitude for saving, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been good at setting aside money, adding to a 401(k) and cutting down small costs as much as possible. That’s why, like many others who have similar financial goals, I tend to shop at stores that offer the best products for a bargain price. When it comes to grocery shopping, there’s no place like this better than Trader Joe’s.
If you’re lucky enough to live near one of Trader Joe's 400+ store locations (and if not, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that one opens up in your town soon!), you know what a steal some of the items at TJ’s can be. But are they just as healthy? Some can be, while others may have hidden added sugars or a slapped on “natural” label that’s nothing more than a marketing ploy. But since I’m always on the lookout for items that are good for my wallet and body, I thought I’d share my go-to grocery shopping list with you all in hopes it might inspire your next TJ’s trip. Keep reading for my favorite products:
These frozen blueberries come in handy when throwing together a smoothie. (PS: Kelly Leveque’s Blueberry Muffin Fab Four recipe is my favorite!) I tend to opt for wild because they have more antioxidants than other produce. For just a few bucks, they’re great to keep in the freezer without ever having to worry about throwing out bad produce.
I love keeping these around to quickly throw in a salad without having to waste the other half of an avocado if I don’t plan on having it again anytime soon.
I’ve been adding these frozen turkey burgers to my cart for years and for good reason—the nutrition label only consists of two ingredients—turkey and salt— and it only takes six minutes over the stove to make one.
Another two-ingredient favorite (just shrimp and salt) from the frozen section is this bag of cooked shrimp. It takes mere minutes to defrost and heat up and tastes so good over pasta dishes (ahem, see below).
You can find this pasta alternative in the frozen section, and while it definitely does taste like carrots (not gonna lie to you), it’s a great way to add some extra veggies into your meal. Drizzle with a lemon sauce and top with shrimp and you have a healthier, but just as tasty, linguini.
Being a born and raised New Yorker (and Italian!), you can trust that I mean it when I say nothing will ever truly replace a classic pasta dish. But this red lentil sedanini comes pretty damn close.
There may be cauliflower pizza crusts and cauliflower mashed potatoes nowadays, but my go-to will always be the classic rice alternative. The nutrition label lists only cauliflower and salt, so you know you’re getting the real deal without any additives. I love sautéeing it with some additional veggies and topping in some coconut aminos to make a healthier stir fry.
Yes, we’ll admit it: Dried fruit isn’t exactly as nutritious as eating the real thing. But if you’re craving something a little different, these dried mango slices are tasty and addicting—we warned you. But buyers beware: Make sure you’re purchasing the bag with no sugar added. Trust us, it’s sweet enough on its own!
I always add these frozen dark chocolate covered bananas to my cart when I’m craving something sweet. Next to try on my list:? The chocolate-covered Strawberries Gone Berry Crazy!
Nuts aren’t exactly a TJ’s-specific item, but they are pretty inexpensive compared to a majority of grocery stores and make for a healthy, filling snack (I’m prone to the unsalted cashews, just saying). While I am still waiting for the day that TJ's adds a bulk section to work on reducing that plastic intake, these are still a good add once in a while.
Calling all sushi lovers—if you’re looking to reduce your soy intake, I highly recommend swapping out your soy sauce for these coconut aminos. It’s not quite the same but makes for a tasty replacement that I have totally brought in my purse to sushi restaurants or topped my stir fry with.
Peanut, almond, sunflower, mixed nuts… TJ’s has honestly got nut butters down pat—and at a reasonable price, too! I always opt for the unsalted version.
When you’re in need of a caffeine boost, these unsweetened matcha green teas are a great on-the-go option that won’t have you crashing from the sugar.