And let me just say before we get to it—that, yes, of course, ideally, and as much as possible, we should (and could) all be shopping at the local and sustainable stores & markets. Truth.
But can I let you in on a little secret? I secretly still love a TJ’s run every so often. It’s not my every day grocery store, but for healthy and fun little finds, and most of all— for all the great deals on staples, for parties and events– it’s so helpful. And makes some real food items available to way more people to access no matter where they live and the budget they might have. And for that, I’m a fan.
Because I know so many of you will ask, I personally do prefer to get my produce (the most of what we eat) elsewhere because I’m super picky about it.
But, you do you. And what works best for you.
Eating vegetables is what matters most of all, as a behavior. No matter where they come from. So whatever helps the frequency of that, I’d say, do it.
Let me also preface this by saying this too– that before we get into the list of all lists– that JUST because something comes from Trader Joe’s (or any “healthy” food store) does NOT mean it’s good for you or healthy, no questions asked.
You still have to be a REAL food hunter, a scanner of ingredients to weed out the good stuff from the marketing gimmicks. The truth is that food companies can be real sneaky. They can put “healthy” in the name of something, even if the ingredient list tells another story.
So, get your cute investigating glasses out and dig into those labels my friend, because it takes a second look sometimes to distinguish the real food from the hype. But what it doesn’t take? A ton of time. I promise. Like 15 seconds at most.
And it’s always worth it. Because finding real food, GOOD food, is an act of self-care. It’s giving your body the purest and easiest ingredients to digest.
It’s making the commitment to seek out real food and eat well to nourish your body, whether you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s or your local farmers market or another big name grocery store. And the best way to do it, is to know what you’re looking for. Like specifically. And what you want to stay away from.
So here are a few pre-vetted and SRH approved REAL FOOD ideas, for your next trip in:
Here are my top picks from Trader Joe’s this season:
- Almond Milk Beverage: just two ingredients– almonds and water! The best for smoothies, at home lattes or to make a soup a little creamier. So clean and so good.
- Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Almonds: so much yes for these. When I need a little bite of something sweet and crunchy, this is my go-to. The salt on top = HEAVENLY, too.
- This Fall Harvest Tea: it’s caffeine free and I LOVE it after dinner. 2 teabags please. It takes like apple cider, but without all the sugar!
- Gluten-Free Flour Blend: let’s be real, this has made my life so much easier in every single way. Perfect to use in my GF strawberry biscuits or gluten-free chocolate chip cocoa nib olive oil cookies or any other baking jobs where flour is called for. The best GF flour out there IMHO.
- Pinenuts: are pinenuts anyone else’s favorite? The toasty flavor is just so good on top of salads, and even better in this pesto that you can put in or on *all* the things (chickpea pasta, cauli crust pizza, soup, chicken, avo toast, veggie dip– everything).
- Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto: I mean, did they steal my idea? Ha. (See my all-time favorite recipe, the pesto kale salad with a cashew-based pesto here). I love this for a quick sauce grab on busy nights. The possibilities are endless: on chicken, roasted veggies, zucchini noodles, shredded or chopped kale (warm or cold, salad style). Or mixed into a soup, cooked lentils, etc. The ingredients are pretty much clean– I’d normally not use sunflower oil if it were homemade, but for a quick option it’s pretty great. This would be a perfect (even shorter) shortcut for any of the Easiest Dinner Meal Plan recipes– use it instead of that week’s homemade dressing or sauce.
- Organic Chopped Kale: a new addition, and it makes the pesto kale salad almost too easy to make. No excuses. Also, such a great easy way to add greens to whatever you are eating– in eggs, on top of soups, sauteed with butter or garlic olive oil, or in a smoothie.
- GT Kombucha Living In Gratitude Fall Edition: apple, turmeric, carrot & spices. So fall. So great for an afternoon pick me up– and double bonus for an immune booster as we head into cold & flu season.
9. Organic Sparkling Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar (in cucumber mint)— the best way to mocktail, if you ask me. I love pouring a ½ glass of this in a wine glass or cocktail coupe while I cook dinner. It feels like a treat, but has such little sugar. Made with apple cider vinegar which helps boost your immune system & digestive system, there’s literally no downside.
10. These butternut squash squash crinkle cuts. Like the broccoli rice (from last year’s post!) I buy these in bulk and freeze them. They’re so great for baby food, but also adults– roasted to make them crunchy or boiled with butter. I love both!
Ok, now you tell me– what are your current TJ obsessions? Leave all your finds in the comments below– you know I’m always looking for ideas.
Love this post? You’d love the cookbook then too. My second book, Simply Real Eating is coming out November 19th, so make sure you’ve pre-ordered it here. And be sure to check out the seasonal meal plans (or the new Easiest DINNER ONLY Plan)! It’s what we literally eat for dinner every week.
Wanna know more about this real-food lifestyle made simple I always talk about? Be sure to check out this little podcast workshop I created for you, called: Simply Real FOOD: Real food, finally explained. Check it out here!