I bought our weeks worth of groceries today and thought I would share what I got with you, and highlight some of our favorite items. I bought $110.00 worth of groceries. I do my weekly shopping at Trader Joes, and pick a few items up (like eggs & coconut milk coffee creamer) at my local health food store.
Why do I shop at Trader Joes? Well, you can’t beat the prices for their organic fruits and vegetables, especially their frozen vegetables. Also, foods with the Trader Joes label guarantee:
~no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
~no genetically modified ingredients
~no added trans fats
This is a huge deal for me. It is super important to me that my family eats clean. I don’t want nasty chemical dyes and preservatives in my food. I have a child who has a tight chest cough/wheeze the minute she eats high fructose corn syrup and anything with yellow food dye in it, so shopping at Trader Joes makes it easy on me. I still read labels, but it is much easier at Trader Joes, as their label lists are much shorter and have ingredients that I can pronounce.
On to what I buy and why. Let’s start with the above picture:
1. Organic Spinach–I bought 2 bags. We eat a ton of spinach in our home. It is one of our main sources of calcium and iron since we do little animal products. We make a ton of green smoothies & I eat spinach salad often for lunch.
2. Organic Kale–Trader Joes just started carrying organic Kale. It is already washed and chopped, which makes it super easy to prepare. We often make Kale Chips, I put it in MY green smoothies (not my kids, I use spinach for them, kale is a bit too green tasting for their palates.) I also will sauté’ it with garlic for a supper side dish.
3. Butter Lettuce Mix–I try to have salad every night with dinner. My girls love this mix.
4. Organic Pears–These are perfect size for my girls lunch box. They specifically ask if there is a pear in their lunch. I’m always happy when I see them for sale!
5. Organic Kiwi–Another perfect fruit for their lunch boxes or as an afternoon snack. I cut them in half and send a spoon, they just scoop it out and eat it.
6. Bananas–we love bananas in our family, and at Trader Joes, they are 5 for a dollar. We eat them plain, we spread peanut butter on them, we freeze them and put them in smoothies. We also love them sliced over cereal or in our Chia Oats.
7. Sliced Mushrooms–I saute’ these with pepper strips and onion, and use them in wraps. Yum!
8. Organic Broccoli–I eat this raw as often as possible, & top my salads with it. I will steam it for a dinner side dish at the end of the week, when the expiration date gets close.
9. Organic Gold Potatoes–my girls are on a big potato kick. They have been coming home from school, washing a potato, pricking the skin and popping it in the microwave. Cracks me up to see them wanting to snack on a vegetable. Their little palates have changes so much since we started eating a plant strong diet!
10. Organic Pink Lady Apples–I buy ONLY organic apples. I will not compromise on this fruit as it is one of the very highest in pesticides. Sometimes Trader Joes has a huge selection of organic apples, sometimes they do not. When they do, the price is great and the apples are delish!
11. Onions & Peppers–I saute’ these fajita style and use in a wrap with beans. We also eat pepper strips raw.
12. Organic Baby Carrots–great for snacks and lunches…and our guinea pig!
13. Organic Sweet Potatoes–I am a sweet potato fanatic. I just love them. I slice them into coins and bake them. I mash them..my fav. I use them in my Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. I also juice them sometimes.
14. Lemons–I use these for my daily lemon water, and for juicing. I also use them for cleaning and my favorite…add sugar to lemon juice for the most refreshing and yummy tasting facial scrub!
15. Dried Cranberries–We use these sprinkled on top of oatmeal. I also mix them with nuts and put in lunch boxes.
16. Dried Apricots–This is a new favorite of my girls. They think it is like eating fruit snacks, and since I don’t buy fruit snacks, it makes me super happy that they feel that way! It is crazy, as I get sugar snacks out of the house, my kids have gradually fallen for fruit because it will be the sweetest thing in the house!
Whew…this is gonna be a long post. Ready for pic number 2?
1. Potato Chips–I buy these every other week. Not the most healthy, but my girls love them with sandwiches in their lunch and see it as a super fun treat. I keep the portions small.
2. Organic Corn Chips–great snack with salsa, of course!
3. Oats–we go through a container this size every week. We love our oats. We eat them raw like you would a bowl of granola topped with fruit, we eat them cooked, we put them into smoothies, we make Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Oats with them. I will make homemade granola bars or our most favorite chocolate bars–The Best Recipe I Ever Messed Up.
4. Crisp Rice Cereal–I usually buy a more whole grain cereal, but my girls love this and get excited because I don’t buy it that often. It is not high in sugar, but it does lack fiber so I view it as pretty empty calories. I make it ok by adding whole grain toast and fruit.
5. Almond Milk–when we switched from cow’s milk to almond milk, my girls growled and complained. Now they love it so much that they have a very hard time every drinking cow’s milk. We use this over cereal or in smoothies. I use it in recipes in place of milk. I do wish it was organic. Trader Joes just started carrying organic coconut milk, so I will have to try that.
6. Organic Tomatillo & Roasted Yellow Chili Salsa–I have tried every salsa Trader Joes carries, and this is by far the best. Great flavor.
7. Earth Balance–we have used this in place of butter since eating more plant based. I love that you can melt it and bake with it.
8. Shredded Cheese–I don’t buy it often, but we are having chili this week. I don’t eat dairy, but my girls will like a sprinkling on their chili. They also make cheese tacos as a quick afternoon snack. I do appreciate that all of Trader Joes cheeses have a label on them that announce that they use milk from cows NOT treated with Rsbt.
9. Clif Bars–a treat. This box will supply an afternoon snack for my girls for 4 days (12 bars in a box). I love how easy it is to just throw a bar at them when they get home from school. These are high protein and high fiber.
10. Hummus–I am on a huge hummus kick. I have been using a big blog of it on my salads instead of salad dressing…so good! I also love it on my Hummus Sandwich Heaven & to dip vegetables.
You still with me?? 3rd pic…here we go:
1. Strawberry Nutrigrain Bars–very convenient for lunch boxes. These are another item that I don’t buy often and are considered a treat. They are quite processed and have quite a bit of sugar. Comparing them to another store brand of these type of bars, they really are not so bad!
2. Vegetable Nests–I will tell you more about these below, but they are really yummy. You can heat them up in the oven and eat them according to the package, but I like to get creative with it. My plan is to bake them, then chop them up and add beans, using it as a topping for brown rice. Easy and convenient meal. These have amazing flavor and come with a yummy Asian dipping sauce. Go easy on the sauce…it is high sodium.
3. Mini Chicken Tacos--A treat my girls love. Not super healthy.
4.Steelcut Oats–These frozen pucks of steel cut oats are my most favorite breakfast. I add blueberries or raspberries on top and I am in breakfast heaven. I sometimes make my own steel cut oat frozen pucks, but decided to be lazy. These sell for 1.69 for 2 large frozen pucks. I can share one with one of my girls and still get full.
5. 100% Whole Wheat Bread–THIS IS NOT FROM TRADER JOES. I have had a hard time finding a bread that we all love from Trader Joes. I have a local bakery we use often, this time I bought Oroweat.
6. Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage–the only meat product I bought for the week, other than the chicken tacos. We slice this up and sauté’ it, then it it with eggs & toast for a breakfast dinner. I talk more about this product below.
7. Creamy Organic Peanut Butter with Sea Salt–a staple in our home. I use it on sandwiches, smear banana with it, use it in chia oats and in smoothies.
8. Organic Strawberry Jelly–great on toast, sandwiches & a dab twirled into oatmeal is yummy! I will talk more about this product below.
I took these photos to show you the Trader Joes difference. The ingredients in the salsa are all whole, recognizable ingredients. No sugars added. No preservatives. Love it!
The jelly has organic grape juice concentrate in it. It still is considered sugar, but SO MUCH BETTER than high fructose corn syrup. Click here to read more about why I don’t like HFCS.
Look at the ingredients of this crispy little birds nests! Onion, carrot, kale are the first 3 ingredients. Yes, they have tempura batter and oil, but for a processed snack that tastes good and is convenient…I’ll take it.
We made it to the end of this very long post. Thanks for sticking with me…I hope this was helpful.
This is just a taste of the things we love and buy at Trader Joes. I have not written posts about it because I realize not everyone lives near a TJ’s, but I hope some of the tips given are helpful despite that.
Let me know in the comments if you want to see more Trader Joe posts at New Nostalgia! Also, share your favorite products with me if you are a TJ’s fan.