It’s no secret that I hold a special place in my heart for Trader Joe’s – it’s filled with unique one-of-a-kind finds, low prices, fabulous organic selections and amazing seasonal items…what’s NOT to love?! I will admit, though, it wasn’t always love at first sight. I distinctly remember living in New York City wondering what the hell all the chatter was about this place, this “Trader Joe’s”. What did IT have that every other store didn’t have? And why were the lines out the door?! On a scale of about 1-10 my patience level for standing in lines, especially at a grocery store, is about a 3 so I skipped on by happy to not have to step foot in that madhouse. Yep, Fresh Direct was ok by me and so was delivery – who cooks in New York, in their 20’s, with no kids?!
Then I moved to Connecticut. First of all, the very idea of being able to drive yourself to the grocery store is a thing of dreams. You mean I could get more than a bagful of stuff and not have to huff it 10 blocks home?! And as it turned out, there was a Trader Joe’s less than two miles from where I lived – my life has forever been changed. I pop in there several times a week for groceries and this list I am sharing is by no means all encompassing or completely “clean” in the way of food ingredients but these are some of the things my family keeps in rotation and that work for us. If I’m missing some items that YOU know and love, drop me a line! I’m always looking for fun new food finds! I split most of my shopping between TJ’s and Whole Foods so sometimes I just pick up what I need where I am for convenience sake but you can’t fail with any of these items!
Brace yourself…here we go!
* note: this list is in no particular order whatsoever and is more or less what I thought of on my walk through the store this AM!
- Flowers – best prices, best variety, from succulents to bouquets to seasonal specialties
- Just Mango Slices (unsulfered & unsweetened) – best travel and car snacks EVER!
- Sliced jicama – such a fab salad add-in (have you tried with their Chili Lime seasoning?)
- Riced cauliflower – both the fresh and the frozen
- Cruciferous Crunch – the perfect salad combo (kale, brussels, broccoli & cabbage) that can be eaten raw or sauteed
- Organic lemons and limes – from dressings to margaritas, I go through A LOT of these
- Avocados – no explanation needed. They just rock.
- Plantain chips – ridiculously cheap compared to Whole Foods. They are a true staple in this house.
- Dried Fruit Bars & Fruit Wraps – awesome, CLEAN, kid snacks
- Nuts & Seeds – quite possibly the largest selection and biggest variety I have ever seen. From raw to toasted to salted to mixed.
- Fresh Green/Red/Yellow juices – my kids love these and I’m too lazy to take my juicer out
- GT’s Kombucha – excellent price at $2.99
- RX Bars – great emergency snack option. I keep these in my purse and with the simple ingredient list printed on the outside, you know exactly what you are getting!
- Dark Chocolate Honey Mints – keep these in your freezer…it’s like a healthier version of a Peppermint Patty…if you like that kind of thing.
- Double Roasted Salsa/Hatch Valley Salsa – who doesn’t eat salsa?!
- Chomps Snack Sticks – think Slim Jim, but grass-fed & antibiotic-free. So like 1,000x better than the gas station find. Plus, my kids love them – win on portable protein snacks!
- Rice Pasta & Cheddar – awesome gluten free alternative to mac & cheese…because, well, kids.
- Red Lentil Pasta – my new favorite thing. Even my pasta-particular husband likes this one.
- Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta
- Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – by the jar and by the single-serve packs (have you ever tried in a smoothie?!)
- Organic Almond Butter – about half the price of almond butter you will find ANYWHERE else!
- Mixed Nut Butter – simply amazing. A combo of almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts & pecans. Careful, it will disappear from your house quickly.
- Fruit Sauce Crushers – convenient, healthy kid snack. One even has carrot mixed in – it makes me feel like I’m winning the food game with my littles when they take that one down.
- Honey – I’d say maple syrup too but Costco is my go-to on that one. And my Maine hook-up.
- Organic Coconut Milk – no added gums or thickeners, which is a good thing.
- Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Salt – it seriously goes well with everything. You need this.
- Shredded Cheese
- Organic Chicken Sausages
- Organic Free Range Chicken
- 100% Organic Grass Fed Beef – and at $7.99/lb, it’s a good deal.
- Applegate Hot Dogs – how can they sell them for less than Whole Foods? I don’t get it but I like it.
- Mochi Rice Nuggets – I mean, these aren’t the cleanest snacks in the pantry but they aren’t bad either…and damn they are good!
- Inner Peas Dried Pea snacks – super lunchbox item
- Tortilla chips – Restaurant Style/Quinoa & Black Bean/Organic Yellow Corn (we clearly don’t discriminate)
- Woven Wheat Wafers – like generic Triscuits AND only 3 ingredients
- Carrot Spirals – it’s this year’s zucchini noodle. In the frozen section.
- Organic Frozen Fruit
- Joe-Joe’s – because everyone needs cookies
- Gluten Free Bread – both the Whole Grain & the Cinnamon-Raisin
Like I said, this list isn’t all-encompassing nor is it entirely “clean” but these are things we go back for time and time again!