When I run down the list of things I’m grateful for during quarantine, being able to not only get but afford groceries every week is definitely at the top of the list. While I usually frequent a few stores throughout the week in normal life, since quarantine started mid-March I’ve found myself only going to Trader Joe’s since it’s affordable and close by. No matter the circumstance, I know most of us are getting groceries at least once a week and when we are, it helps to have a list on hand so we can quickly get in and out. Anyone else find grocery shopping super stressful lately? Picking up a few fun items along the way helps… and makes it slightly more enjoyable.
There are a few downsides at Trader Joe’s in my opinion: certain products marketed as healthy that have a laundry list of ingredients (if I’m being honest), sometimes the produce tends to go bad within 24 hours of buying it, and the amount of plastic their produce is covered in can be a bit much. Since I’ve come to realize most of their vegetables in plastic usually aren’t the best tasting anyway, I stick to the potatoes, apples, bananas, avocadoes, etc. Things that are in the center of the store that are easy to wash, don’t need plastic.. You get the idea.
The items I’ve listed below are what I usually stick to and in addition, things I just stocked up on this past week. I think it’s perfectly normal for people to be wanting to stock up on food out of fear of not having any but we also have to think logically and realistically for 1-2 weeks of food. Also, don’t buy things you wouldn’t eat at all but give yourself some freedom if you’re consuming things you wouldn’t normally eat. Case in point, I’ve probably eaten more noodles and pizza than normal out of lack of motivation to cook anything. It happens! Give yourself grace for it, move on and know that what we’re going through right now is not normal by any means.
There have been some products I’ve found via Trader Joe’s that are not only cheap but have turned into my weekly staples. I eat them with everything, eat them daily and love that for the amount I buy, the receipt is probably half of what I’d spend at Whole Foods. I’ll usually make 1-2 Trader Joe’s trips per week and then an Amazon prime order from Whole Foods (it’s easier since it’s farther from my apartment) for things like Siete tortillas, Siggi’s yogurt or other specialty name brand items. But when it comes to quarantine, I stick to 1 trip a week (Trader Joe’s).
Without further adieu and to end my rambling, here’s what I recommend and love. If you try any of these, I hope you feel the same! Some of them are just on the list for price, some for flavor and some for fun. All the best parts of grocery shopping. P.s. I didn’t take a picture of all 25 items because I went at a pretty busy time and the crowds were too much to stop and take a photo but I’m sure you can imagine what whole wheat pitas look like 😉
Favorite Products from Trader Joe’s
- Whole Wheat Pita
I love using these because they have simple ingredients and they’re perfect for making pita pocket sandwiches, dipping in hummus or putting peanut butter and banana on. I keep mine in the fridge because they last much longer. Same with the bagels below.
- Gluten-free Everything Bagels
You guys these bagels… they taste better than regular bagels at a bagel shop around me if we’re being real. Almost identical to Pepperidge Farm bagels I’d have as a kid filled with preservatives but the ingredients on these are rather decent. I love them with smoked salmon, dill and organic cream cheese. I keep these in the fridge and they last 2-3 weeks.
- Organic Hummus
Dustin is obsessed with TJ’s regular hummus but I’m obsessed with their organic one. The texture is next level, super creamy, no weird additions or canola oil and is cheap compared to WF brands that I normally go for.
- Black Bean Dip
Okay so there used to be this black bean dip at WF that was called The Good Bean Co (I think) and I was freaking OBSESSED with it. They discontinued it or something… who knows… but when I found this dupe at TJ’s I was freaking SOLD. Although my digestive system doesn’t do well with beans, I could truly just eat this stuff by the bucket load. It’s perfect for quesadillas, tacos… anything.
- Plantain Chips
I’m not much of a snacker unless it involves meat sticks, fresh veggies, hummus, popcorn or fresh fruit but theeeeeeese. You guys. I’ve tried so many plantain chips and it’s really all in the texture and thickness. Barnana (my true favorite) sold at WF is amazing and thick but around $5 a bag so this is much more affordable. Under $2 and they’re so good dipped in peanut butter or alongside tacos. I normally have these instead of tortilla chips.
- Healthade Kombucha
There are a few flavors they sell but I am so happy they carry them! Hands down my favorite kombucha brand and the ginger-lemon is the best.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Perfect Bars
As you guys probably know I am a huge fan of Perfect Bar and have been partnering with them since last summer and just recently tried their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor which is exclusive to TJ’s. It is hands down my favorite bar they make and is the best dessert. Try it paired with fresh fruit and you have the best mid-day snack or dessert.
- Organic Coconut Water
Since I was in the hospital in January, I drink coconut water weekly. It’s a great source of magnesium, potassium and electrolytes and much better than gatorade or artificially sweetened/colored energy drinks. TJ’s sells the organic coconut water at the cheapest and it’s PINK (similar to my favorite brand Harmless Harvest) which means it has higher levels of polyphenols (higher nutrients). For $1.99 for a 12 oz lil guy, you can’t beat it.
- Miyoko’s Dairy-free Cream Cheese
My favorite dairy-free cashew based cream cheese and the lox one is a go-to! So good with Trader Joe’s wild caught smoked salmon. Simple ingredients. Their non-dairy butter is also equally delicious.
- Chomps Meat Sticks
When you’re looking for a mid-day snack or something to hold you over before lunch and dinner, grab a Chomps stick. They have 9g of protein, no added sugar and come in a variety of flavors. I prefer the salt and pepper venison OR the original turkey. So good with some crackers, hummus and nuts!
- Cauliflower Gnocchi
I think by now the trend of cauliflower gnocchi is old news but I’ve been obsessed with it since the beginning of 2019 and it’s the ideal compliment to any protein (turkey meatballs and tomato sauce, salmon and pesto, any roasted veggies and a dairy-free sauce). I love topping it with parmesan, sun dried tomatoes and a meat of sorts. How to bake: Throw the entire bag on a baking sheet with parchment paper (no oil necessary!) and place in oven at 400º for 25-40 minute checking when each side browns and flipping half way through. Easy!
- Organic Olive Oil
I get all of my oils from TJ’s when I can! From avocado to coconut to sesame, they’ve got it all and for a good price. Most of the oils are under $10 and I love the organic unfiltered olive oil especially.
- Chia Seed Peanut Butter
This product disappeared for what felt like a year or two and just recently came back on shelves a few months ago and it is HANDS DOWN the best peanut butter I’ve ever purchased. I believe it’s $2.99 and packed with chia and flaxseeds. It’s drippy but not too drippy and just all around perfection.
- Carrot Spirals
I love these to have on hand when I run out of fresh vegetables and need something to add to salmon or chicken.
- Dried Apples
Another product I pick up by the 2 pack. I truly do not know a more satisfying snack than these dried apples (only one ingredient! What I always look for when buying dried fruit as a lot of brands and products sneak sugar into them). I love pairing this with any unsweetened sunflower seed butter, greek yogurt or just throwing them in your bag on the go. So good!
- Organic Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt
I always look for whole milk greek yogurt when I can to get in a good source of protein and fat. I’m a huge greek yogurt fan and especially during quarantine I’m always having parfaits.
- Organic Ground Meat
I really love getting my meat from TJ’s because they offer organic and I’ve truly never had an issue with it. I get their organic ground turkey for my weekly meatball recipe or I’ll use the organic ground beef for tacos, quesadillas, etc. Both under $10!
- Jicama Sticks
I used to be on a heavy jicama kick and would add them to my tacos 24/7. I haven’t purchased it in a while but I’ll usually throw the whole box of jicama on parchment paper at 400º with some seasonings and bake for 30-40 minutes until the jicama shrinks a bit and browns. They are SO good with mango salsa, too! You can find them near all of the produce/fruit.
- Beet Chips
I know it can be very tempting to want to buy all of the fun, quirky snacks but most of them have pretty off-putting ingredients or tons of added sugar. A few snacks though, I absolutely love! One of which… the beet chips. I can definitely eat a whole bag in one sitting and they are unreal dipped in hummus or the below artichoke dip.
- Greek Yogurt Spinach & Artichoke Dip
I’m usually not a dip person unless it’s hummus or guac but I tried this one day on a whim and with carrots, cucumbers, celery and crackers… next. Level. Goodness. I am obsessed! I really want to re-create a version at home that has even simpler ingredients but wow this is some good stuff.
- Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds
I love buying superfoods here as they are pretty cheap in comparison to other stores and they’ve got a wide variety. Peanut butter powder (phenomenal in plain greek yogurt or smoothies), chia seeds, hemp seeds, cacao powder and ground flax… all available at TJ’s. Hemp seeds have been a daily staple in my diet since the beginning of this year as they’re great for plant based protein, iron and a little fat. Love! A powerhouse ingredient.
- 21 Seasonings Salute
One of my favorite seasonings because it has simply every basic spice you could need. It is great for italian dishes but I pretty much always sprinkle this on my veggies when I roast or air fry them. Black pepper, garlic, onion, etc. I used to buy this with my old roommate 24/7 when we lived together in college. It’s very convenient.
- Pepita salsa
If there is one canned/on the shelf salsa that I’ll always go for, it’s the Trader Joe’s pepita salsa. It is SO good, pretty decent ingredients for a salsa, no sugar added and tastes SO good on tacos, quesadillas, or just dipped with chips.
- Maple syrup and other baking essentials
I love finding baking staples at Trader Joe’s because they’re always so cheap! Especially during quarantine when everyone is baking 100 banana breads a week, this is your one-stop shop for baking essentials. Lately mine has been out of a few flours but they often always have all purpose flour, almond flour, semi sweet chocolate chips, pure vanilla extract, cinnamon… the list goes on. I love their organic maple syrup the most!
I know that during these current times, going to the grocery store is not the most exciting or thrilling activity like it used to be for some but what I’ve found to help is I always write a list of the items and how many I need (usually 1-2) of a product. This way, I can literally get in and out of Trader Joe’s in about 20-30 minutes. So many of these products are usually on repeat weekly for me and if you try any you haven’t before, let me know your favorites!