Grocery shopping on a (teacher) budget can be hard. There are some products I go to Whole Foods for once and a while (that's a blog post for another day), but over time, I've found that shopping at Trader Joe's is really the best grocery store for my budget and my desire to eat REAL, well produced food with minimal processing and preservatives.
Every time I go to TJ's, I make a point of asking the cashier "how do you like working here?" and "how are the prices so affordable?" Almost 100% of the time, I hear rave reviews about the employee experience of working at Trader Joe's (I love knowing that I'm supporting a work place that makes its employees feel good). And over time I've learned that TJ's basically has a team whose sole purpose is to travel and meet with farmers whose products they source directly, cutting out a middleman which often raises the prices. I'm no economist, but this seems like an awesome strategy for keeping prices affordable and I love that TJ's connects personally with the people who make their products (not to mention TJ's makes a ton of amazing products on their own).
I'm so happy to share with you all fifteen of my favorite TJ's products and to hopefully inspire your next grocery list. It was hard to choose just fifteen, but here are some staples that I find myself buying again and again because of their good quality and good price.
What are some of your favorite TJ's products? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Cauliflower Rice: it's cauliflower. In the shape of rice. It doesn't taste exactly like rice (...it's cauliflower), but is a good substitute, especially when paired with other goodies and some seasoning. I like to cook it with coconut aminos (coconut based soy-sauce type thing, also a yummy TJ's product).
Green Smoothie: This has more sugar than I would like, but none of it is added - all from whole fruits & veggies. I don't usually drink a whole bottle in one sitting, but it's yummy and sweet and a really good intro to drinking your veggies if you're skeptical.
Eucalyptus: this is not a TJ's special, but I love love their plant selection and this plant is a regular on my shopping list. Inspired by leefromamerica, I like to hang a little bushel (?) of this from my shower head to make my showers feel like a spa. I replace it every 2-3 weeks. Aaah.
Almond Butter: this is my favorite nut butter to get at TJ's because it's just straight up nuts. No extra ingredients and definitely no added sugars (are you noticing a pattern here?!). Lots of nut butters try to sneak sugar and oils in - not necessary! Nuts and nuts alone 4 life.
Chicken Apple Sausage: I don't eat a ton of meat and I really don't cook a lot of meat, so these are my favorite for when I am craving meat and want something easy and tasty. These are already cooked so you just have to heat them - I love stir frying them in a little avocado oil on the stove until they're crispy. So good. These are my favorite to add to spaghetti and tomato sauce.
Frozen Berries: I love blueberries in my smoothies and TJ's has good quality berries for a good price.
Frozen Coconut Chunks: I love adding these to my smoothies to make em thicker and yummier! Coconut is the new kale. I'm telling you! So many good FATS.
Organic Romaine Hearts: I know that leafy greens are all the rage and for a good reason - they're so good for you. And I try to eat them but I don't always truly ENJOY them and I feel strongly that you should love the food you eat, healthy or not!
Multigrain Sourdough Bread: I love sourdough. I love good grains in my bread. It's a win win. Honestly there are a few ingredients in this bread that I could do without, but it's well priced and pretty healthy and tastes amazing.
Kombucha: Trader Joe's is magic and can sell Kombucha for a better price than I've found anywhere else. Healthade is $3.49 and GT's is $2.99. Really doesn't get better than that. They don't have a ton of flavors (at least from my experience), but for $3 Kombucha I'll take what flavor I can get!
Avocados: Obviously avocados are a must have on your grocery list (unless you hate them or are allergic) but getting them at TJ's is a good choice because - surprise!- they're well priced. I buy the bag of smaller avos and it's perfect for me because I like eating one a day but if it's too big I can't finish it. I have an avocado rotation going on where I keep a bag in the fridge, buy a new bag each week and then rotate the fridge bag out (I keep it in my fruit bowl so they get ripe quicker #science). This is to compensate for the fact that 100% of the time I've bought avocados from TJ's, they are way too hard and not ready to eat. Probably the only complaint I have about this store.
Romaine Lettuce: Leafy greens are all the rage. I know. And it's for a good reason - they're so freakin' good for you. But I like to be realistic and buy stuff I LOVE and will WANT to eat and not feel like I have to, and leafy greens don't really do it for me so I'm a romaine girl. It might not be as healthy as it's leafy sister, but romaine is still nutrient dense and you can get a big bag of organic romaine for ~$4. This usually lasts me two weeks.
Butternut Squash: I think these are seasonal (fall/winter). I like to buy these chunks or the zig-zags, which look like french fries. Taste amazing baked with avo or olive oil and salt and pepper. A french fry/potato alternative.
Nut Packs: The bulk nut section of TJ's is just so fun. I love buying the big bags of individual trail mix baggies. These are probably one of the pricier items I buy semi weekly, but nuts are expensive and these packs are so convenient. I love buying the ones that come with cashews, craisins, dark chocolate, and almonds. There are lots of good options and these are so easy to take on the go.
Raw Shelled Hemp Seed: these are an awesome addition to any meal (good fats!) - I love sprinkling these on my cereal, oatmeal, toast, salad - literally whatever. They hardly have a taste but are so good for you.