I'm a personal trainer who shops at Trader Joe's for my family of 5. Here are 15 things I love to buy.
I am a personal trainer, and I love picking up nutritious, lower-calorie items at Trader Joe's.
The coconut creamer has replaced my higher-sugar additives and the avocado oil is a cooking staple.
Trader Joe's grilled lemon-pepper chicken is perfect for lazy, last-minute weeknight dinners.
Trader Joe's grilled lemon-pepper chicken makes a meal that's good for the whole family.
Precooked meats come in handy on days when you don't want to cook but know ordering pizza isn't a great option.
Trader Joe's always has a robust selection of prepared chicken that can be enjoyed as-is or cut up and repurposed into sandwiches, wraps, or salads.
For an easy 10-minute dinner, I cut up some of Trader Joe's grilled lemon-pepper chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes and throw them on top of a bowl of rice and black beans. Then I add some sour cream or guacamole for a satisfying, yummy burrito bowl.
Trader Joe's red-pepper spread spices up otherwise bland snacks.
I've bought Trader Joe's red-pepper spread for years because it's one of my favorite things to add to a sandwich or wrap. The spread, which is a mix of pureed roasted red peppers, eggplant, and garlic, can be used in many ways but I like it best on a sandwich with turkey and lettuce.
It's a great substitute for mayonnaise and can spice up an otherwise bland meal. I also use it as a dipping sauce for vegetables or pita bread for a flavor-packed afternoon snack.
Trader Joe's dry toasted sliced almonds have the perfect crunch.
Trader Joe's has a great nut section so I pick up a couple of bags every time I go. Lately, I've been buying dry toasted sliced almonds because I have an affinity for crunchy foods.
They're perfect for putting on top of yogurt for some added texture or mixing into an arugula salad. Almonds are also a great source of protein, unsaturated fat, and fiber.
Trader Joe's organic arugula is perfect for salads.
I love greens that are already cleaned and washed to easily whip up a salad for lunch. Trader Joe's organic arugula is an excellent option because it's full of vitamins and antioxidants.
Its slightly bitter flavor is a tasty contrast to fruits like oranges or pomegranates, which I often sprinkle on top. I find that arugula lasts longer than other greens, like spring mix, so less is going in the trash at the end of the week.
Heart & Field's organic broccoli florets taste amazing when roasted.
I'll sometimes buy whole heads of broccoli but I usually reach for Heart & Field's bags of florets that are already cleaned and chopped. Roasted broccoli is one of our favorite sides so I'll pour a bag of these on a baking sheet with some olive oil and seasoning for an easy, no-prep dish.
Broccoli is low in calories, full of fiber, and super filling so it's perfect for the days I feel extra hungry. I usually make extra so I can use the leftovers to make a frittata or egg scramble in the morning, an easy way to get another serving of vegetables.
Trader Joe's fennel has a ton of nutritional benefits.
The mild licorice taste isn't for everyone but I love to have Trader Joe's fennel as my afternoon snack. Fennel has traditionally been used to support healthy detox (my grandfather used to say "it's good for the stomach") and can aid digestion.
If you're eating it raw, I recommend slicing off the top, chopping it into quarters, and soaking it in a container of water in the fridge so you can take as much as you need throughout the week for a crispy, refreshing snack.
Fennel is also an excellent replacement for celery so we use it on salads and occasionally roast it with chicken or other meats.
Naturipe's organic blueberries are another staple in our home.
Naturipe's organic blueberries are an antioxidant-rich superfood that tastes great and is easy to take on the go. I buy organic blueberries if they're available because I believe they're the cleanest option.
I like to put organic blueberries on top of yogurt for an easy breakfast, and my daughter loves having them as a school snack. If they aren't gone by the end of the week, I'll also throw them in the freezer to use for smoothies.
Trader Joe's organic sweet potatoes make the perfect side.
Any balanced meal in our house includes a protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate. We try to include minimally processed complex carbs so Trader Joe's organic sweet potatoes are a great option.
The kids enjoy them roasted with some coconut oil so we'll occasionally bake them whole as an easy side dish.
The sweet flavor adds complexity to any meal and the potatoes work really well as leftovers. I also add sweet potatoes to my morning eggs or eat them as a side dish for lunch.
Trader Joe's avocado oil is super versatile.
I often use Trader Joe's avocado oil for cooking because it's relatively tasteless, easy to work with, and can withstand high temperatures. You can use avocado oil to sautée vegetables, make stir-fries, or mix with balsamic vinegar to create a salad dressing.
It's also rich in unsaturated fat, which is essential for heart health. Adding a small amount of fat to your meals can keep you full and help balance blood-sugar levels so it's an integral part of a nutritious meal.
I don't buy avocado oil every time I go to Trader Joe's because it lasts a long time but it makes the list about once a month.
Trader Joe's organic coconut oil is an underrated beauty product.
Trader Joe's organic virgin coconut oil is another good fat I add to my cart. I use coconut oil as a beauty product so it lives on my bathroom counter instead of in the kitchen.
I use it as a moisturizer and a hair and scalp treatment or to soothe any eczema or rashes. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antifungal so it's a natural remedy for many skin conditions.
Trader Joe's Harvest Blend is a beloved favorite.
Though we don't eat much pasta, we recently discovered Trader Joe's Harvest Blend and love it. The blend, which is a mix of couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa, cooks in only 10 minutes and is high in fiber so it keeps you fuller longer.
I usually buy about four or five bags to keep in the house, as half a bag is enough to make a side dish. I also like that you can swap out water for bone broth for added protein and flavor.
Trader Joe's organic free-range chicken can be cooked in many ways.
We try to eat organic meat as much as possible, which is why I love that Trader Joe's carries this free-range chicken. Chicken thighs are a simple yet versatile protein option for dinner.
I usually marinate the organic chicken in oil, lemon juice, and herbs to throw on the grill for an easy after-school meal. I also make two or three packages at a time so we have leftovers for the next few days.
Cooked chicken thighs are great for chopping up over salad or making a wrap or sandwich, and a better option than processed lunch meat.
Trader Joe's raw Argentinian red shrimp is almost like lobster.
Trader Joe's Argentinian red shrimp is a great budget-friendly option for those who like the taste of lobster. The shrimp come frozen and uncooked so they're perfect for a quick meal.
They're super meaty, full of protein, and very low in fat, making them an excellent choice for those on a high-protein diet. I usually sauté them in garlic and grass-fed butter and serve them over rice with a salad for one of the simplest, tastiest meals I know how to make.
I recommend keeping a few bags of Trader Joe's Argentinian red shrimp in the freezer for those days you aren't sure what to cook.
I substitute other store-bought additives with Trader Joe's coconut creamer.
I've come a long way from drinking coffee creamer loaded with sugar but I still need to add something sweet to the beverage. Trader Joe's coconut creamer is rich, frothy, and a great dairy-free option.
It has only five calories per serving, making it a relatively healthy choice, and the coconut gives the creamer a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Trader Joe's plain Greek yogurt is great for breakfast or as a sour-cream substitute.
A lot of yogurts are loaded with hidden sugars so I'm picky about what I buy for our family. Trader Joe's always has a great selection of Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, low in sugar, and a great breakfast staple.
Trader Joe's plain Greek yogurt can be pretty tart on its own so we usually eat it by itself if we use it as a substitute for sour cream.
I like to mix it with some local honey, berries, and nuts for breakfast. I add blueberries or strawberries so the added protein helps keep me full throughout the morning.
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