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Healthy Foods on a Budget at Trader Joes
Friday, February 27th, 2009

Grocery List

In this economy most everyone I know is thinking about how they can save money and still eat healthy.

Well this jingle just about makes me sing as I think of all the great reasonably priced food items I purchase weekly at Trader Joes and typically take for granted…that is until recently.  Just the other day I was reading about how many people and cities do not have a TJ near them (like the entire state of Texas).

Trader Who you ask? Not a Trader Joe fan?  Not sure what all the hype is about?  Think it’s pricey? I thought all those things myself at one point especially when I visited my first Trader Joe grocery store in the 90’s out in California. That is until I got a few food item recommendations and dared enough to explore new items on my own. So if you are open to something new try my top 5 TJ recommendations that are both healthy and cheap (well at least reasonably priced).

Top 5 Trader Joe Recommendations

(No I am not getting paid for this.  As far as I know they don’t even know that I am an ardent TJ fan)

1.  17 Bean and Barley Mix

An excellent source of fiber – 14 g/serving and only $1.69 for 8 servings.  Recipe directions on the back and it’s as easy as just putting it in your crock pot and coming home to piping hot soup.

2.  TJ Microwave Popcorn (94% Fat Free)

A great whole grain option to add to your diet and good source of fiber (4 g/bag) and no added preservatives.  A great item to take to work and eat as a snack.  You get six bags at $1.99.

3. TJ Almond Butter

Substitute for whenever you eat Peanut Butter.  Almond butter is good source of the healthy fats like monounsaturated fat along with protein and calcium.  At $4.99 a jar it is one of the most reasonably priced natural “nut butters” I have found.  If you ate a serving everyday it should last you for two weeks or a month if you ate a little less to cut your calories (trust me I have tested this).

4. Double Roasted Salsa

A good source of lycopene and key ingredient in my Tortilla Soup Recipe (coming soon).  I enjoy this salsa plain with my no salt tortilla chips (also at TJ).  The salsa is flavorful and worth the $2.49 in my opinion especially if I can use it to make a whole batch of Tortilla Soup.

5.  French Apple Tart

This is a lovely relatively low calorie dessert at 140 calories/serving that you bake for 10 minutes and eat piping hot.  The key is to eat one serving of this paper thin french crust that is one of the cheapest frozen desserts available at TJ at $3.99.  To make this a nutrient packed dessert I love topping my tart off with fresh strawberries and blueberries and a dollop of my newly discovered brown sugar whip cream for a touch of maple flavor.  Truly Extradorinaire!  Looks beautiful and tastes heavenly.

So for those of us who have a TJ near us let us pause for a moment to say our blessings and enjoy the great reasonably priced, yummy, and typically healthy food items that we can buy.  If you don’t have Trader Joe’s near you look for similar items at your local grocery store and make sure to look at the nutrition label and check out things like saturated fat, fiber, sodium, and calories.

What’s Your Favorite Trader Joe or other Grocery Item?

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