This post is a reader request. I’m going to share my favorite healthy items from Trader Joe’s, which are quick, easy and help me to eat clean with a very busy schedule, as well as help me not to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Hope you’re doing well, friends! How about that Super Bowl game? Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, you don’t have to be an official chef, to create and cook real and healthy food in your own kitchen. There are so many shortcuts out there that can give you an extra edge to create beautiful meals in minimal time. And I mean minimal time.
I wouldn’t call myself a cook, but I get into the kitchen every single day and prepare things (not from a box), that are delicious and healthy and that fill up my Instagram feed. I use the oven, the stove, the microwave and the toaster, and yet I don’t need a cookbook or anything too fancy to do it. Truth be told, Dave does a lot of the meat that we eat on the grill — so I leave that up to him, while I do the rest.
Assembling my meals looks like this: prepare some veggies, prepare a protein, prepare a healthy fat — put them on a plate or bowl, and eat them. It’s that easy. No need for in-depth recipes, casseroles, equipment or other, unless you’re into that kind of thing. Healthy eating can be easy, if you need it to be.
Here are some of my favorite items from Trader Joe’s that support a healthy meal plan. And by plan, I mean routine, because I don’t necessarily meal “plan” as much as get all the things I like to mix together for the week and eat many of the same things on repeat. (Although not as repetitive as when I used to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day for lunch, but that’s neither here nor there!)
Please note: This post is in no way affiliated with Trader Joe’s. They don’t know who I am, and I’m just sharing all about this particular store, because it makes healthy eating so easy for a reasonable price. Also, please note: I don’t get all of my groceries from Trader Joe’s. I often stop into Whole Foods every other week or so for some items, and I go to Safeway weekly for things like my favorite full-fat Fage Greek yogurt, Dave’s favorite bread and chocolate milk, and our beloved coconut-covered dates. Is it convenient to go to multiple grocery stores? No. But we do what we have to to procure delicious and healthy food to feed our bodies. It’s that important. Let’s get to the faves …
Condiments, cooking spray and spices
The coconut oil spray and coconut oil at Trader Joe’s is all I use for cooking veggies. I cover a foil-lined baking pan or frying pan with the spray, and I coat all my veggies in the oil. When it comes to almond butter, I often use the raw one from Trader Joe’s to top bananas for a pre-workout meal. And when the jar is empty, you know I make overnight oats in there.
And of course, I couldn’t get by without Dave and my FAVORITE green salsa (salsa verde), which we put on chicken, burgers, veggies and more. We basically dip our food into it on a weekly basis. It’s super clean and delish. Also, turmeric and Himalayan sea salt are my spices of choice for veggies and all other food. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and tastes good, so it never hurts to add it to your meals.
Pre-cut veggies and pre-bagged veggies
When it comes to veggies, I almost always buy them pre-cut, because it saves SO MUCH TIME. While I will get organic if I can, if it’s not available, I still get the veggies (you just have to do the best you can, and sometimes organic isn’t happening). I always buy the pre-bagged batches of avocados, apples and sweet potatoes too, because it’s so much faster to grab the bag than pick out your own, you know?
My absolute musts each week are broccoli, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. With most of them, I cover them in coconut oil and turmeric and roast them for about 25 to 30 minutes at anywhere from 400 to 450 degrees in the oven. It’s a formula that I repeat over and over.
Also the container of sauerkraut shown above comes in super handy, because you don’t have to do ANYTHING to it. Just open it up and eat it. Sauerkraut has become one of my favorite super simple sides for lunch and dinner, and it’s really good for your tummy health because it’s fermented.
I’ve been told that the frozen mashed sweet potatoes are seasonal, which makes me sad. When I find them in the frozen section, I buy about five bags at a time, and they’ve been available for several months, so I hope they don’t go away. The cauliflower rice is not seasonal, but it goes quickly, so I always buy multiple bags of it too.
Both of these bags of veggies are easily prepared in the microwave and can be a perfect side to any meal. My preference for preparing the cauliflower rice is actually in a frying pan with a little coconut oil though. Both of these items are on the top of my favorites list! And a secret about the cauliflower rice? Top it with the salsa verde from above, and you’ll feel like you’re at a Mexican restaurant.
Protein and eggs
While Dave and I often get our organic chicken and other organic meats elsewhere, I usually get our eggs and hard-boiled eggs at Trader Joe’s. I bring the bag of hard-boiled eggs, a tub of sauerkraut and an avocado for lunch at work, and can mix it all together on the spot without any major prep, and that’s clutch!
For uncooked eggs, I always choose organic, but for the hard-boiled at TJ’s — I go with the regular, and they’re good and so versatile. They’re pretty small, so I usually have two to three at a time for my protein allotment, along with veggies and a fat (like an avocado).
Breakfast and snacks
We’ve always purchased the big bag of gluten-free oats from Trader Joe’s, because it’s cheap, and the oats work well in smoothies, overnight oats and even protein pancakes. Also, I use cans of organic coconut milk in my tea daily. (I used to use flavored almond milk, but switched to coconut milk to reduce my sugar intake.) It’s not super convenient to open the cans and pour the milk into another storage container, but I’ve become so addicted to the thick coconut-y consistency, I continue to do it. Please note: Real coconut milk does become a solid when cold, so sometimes you have to warm it up before using it. Just pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and you’re good to go.
And of course, you know I love my raw pumpkin seeds. I use at least a handful every single day, either on top of yogurt, on top of a sweet potato or mixed in trail mix. Pumpkin seeds have valuable nutrients, like magnesium, which most of us need more of, and they taste good. We also sometimes pick up the single-serve packets of roasted almonds or trail mix, because I like those. And I occasionally buy my organic green tea bags from TJ’s too. (Not pictured.)
That about does it for my Trader Joe’s faves. While there are so many other items that I love, this collection shows you my staples!
But you know what my favorite thing about Trader Joe’s is outside of the cost-effective healthy products? The customer service. They are the nicest! And here’s a look at one of my “assembled” meals featuring items exclusively from above. Roasted butternut squash, two hard-boiled eggs and sauerkraut, topped with turmeric!The top #healthy and easy food staples from @TraderJoesList according to blogger @apstyle ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s grocery item?
And what’s your go-to quick healthy meal?