Healthy eating can get expensive — we know this all too well. Health food products are often crazy pricey, and when you’re cooking with gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free alternatives, things get marked up even more.
This is why Trader Joe’s is every health enthusiast’s dream come true. They carry all kinds of products, produce, and staples for prices far lower than their overpriced (cough, cough, Whole Foods) competitors.
The best part? They’re always coming up with new and interesting products, predicting the dietary needs of millennials before they even knew what they needed. Maybe this is the reason why the line is always stretching out the door.
Some of their products seem healthy, like their Avocado Citrus Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, but actually are infused with sugar, fats, and enough buzz words to have you blindsided and completely fooled. However, they also have a ton of genuine nutritional gems hiding in their aisles. Here are some of our favorites.
These big bottles have saved us more than once from a horrible hangover. How? They’re insanely good for you. Between the gut-balancing alkaline compounds and the hydrating electrolytes, they give your body exactly what it needs. The electrolytes help you to absorb the water you’re drinking, instead of letting it run right through you, while the alkaline compounds encourage absorption of nutrients from your food.
Gluten-free pasta has taken the spotlight recently, and for good reason. When you swap out simple, refined carbohydrates for fiber-filled beans, the result is bound to be a nutrition goldmine. This black bean pasta is no exception. It’s got 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber in each serving.
So that means we can have three, right?
The main ingredient in these crunchy snacks is exactly what it should be: Peas. Kale chips and veggie straws get a bad rap for not really having all that many vegetables inside. So we’re pretty jazzed that these live up to their fiber-filled potential. These guys even have protein: 5 grams for every 130-calorie serving.
What is cowboy caviar, you ask? According to Trader Joe’s website, “It’s a mix of black beans, corn, onions, and red bell peppers, pickled in a blend of chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and lime juice concentrate.” In other words, it’s a bunch of vegetables mixed together with spices — like salsa! — and beans. Salsa with protein and fiber? We’re down to dip our chips in this stuff all day long.
Key words on the label: no sugar added. Too many dried fruits these days come loaded with extra cane sugar and concentrated sugary juices. All we really asked for was the fruit — and Trader Joe’s is ready to give it. Snack on these chewy dried confections plain, mix your own trail mixes, or use them in savory recipes to add a touch of sweet.
Frozen cod pieces at Trader Joe’s are only four dollars a pound. That’s music to our ears.
White fish, such as cod, is an amazing source of lean protein and it’s so easy to cook. Cod has a nice mild fish flavor, so you won’t be overwhelmed by the seafood-y smell. They also sell frozen chicken breasts, which is one of our favorite healthy protein sources. Throw yours on the grill or broil it in the oven for a low fat, healthy protein at dinner.
Is it yogurt? Nope. Is it milk? Also no. It’s kefir: A probiotic-filled, drinkable dairy product that tastes like less-thick yogurt. Probiotics are great for your gut and they promote healthy digestion. Trader Joe’s has flavored varieties to keep things interesting, but they also sell the plain stuff — lower in sugar and way better for you.
How does one use kefir? Easy: Pour it in smoothies, mix it into your overnight oats, or just drink it plain.
To healthify their popped corn snacks, Trader Joe’s uses whole corn kernels instead of condensed, processed ground corn. These chips taste like popcorn, and are just as light and healthy. To make them even better, the chain has added quinoa, flax, chia, and even sunflower seeds — all of which are crazy good for your brain. Sneaking healthy and otherwise tasteless foods into tortilla chips is genius, if you ask us.
This drink is a favorite of health gurus and nutritionists everywhere. It’s great for your gut (as most fermented foods are) and is insanely low in sugar for tasting so sweet. At many stores, a single bottle can be priced at over five dollars, but at Trader Joe’s, you won’t be paying more than three. They carry the ever-popular GT’s Kombucha brand and now have also started to make their own.
They come frozen, so they never go bad. You can keep these bad boys in your freezer for two-minute weeknight dinners that don’t break your bank or your health streak. Throw one of these fish patties in the oven or on the grill for a couple of minutes, throw it on some bread or in a big bowl of veggies, add some avocado, and you’re all set.
All of the fish Trader Joe’s uses are wild-caught and responsibly harvested. Salmon and mahi mahi are both filled to the brim with healthy compounds like omega-3’s and essential amino acids, and Trader Joe’s premade burgers don’t mess around with added fillers. All they added were some artfully chosen spices — yum!
It’s not just a drink anymore — this salmon is covered with mojito-flavored salsa. And the result tastes amazing. Which is pretty impressive, considering this TV-dinner-style meal is reheated in the microwave. It’s way healthier than your usual TV dinner, too. The dish has 16 grams of healthy fats like omega-3’s and an impressive 32 grams of protein. Yet again, Trader Joe’s has saved our healthy lives — this time from the travesty of a gross microwave meal.
This product is a healthy chocolate lovers’ dream. It’s exactly what it sounds like — chocolate that’s no B.S., no sugar added, straight-up cocoa in its solid form. Each bar has only one tiny gram of sugar. Some may recoil at the taste, but we think it’s an acquired one — similar to the way we feel about black coffee.
Nicknamed the inauspicious-sounding “nooch,” this vegan staple is only three dollars at Trader Joe’s. With their tempting prices, even non-vegans will want to buy a bag. The nutritional value of this stuff lives up to its name: Each 20 calorie tablespoon provides 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and significant amounts of eight micronutrients. With that kind of nutritional profile, we encourage you to sprinkle this cheese-flavored dust all over everything in your life.
Warning: This stuff is crazy addictive. Lovers of the low-fat, high-protein dip have been known to eat an entire tub in just one sitting. Give us a container of this and a bag of chips and we’d probably do the same.
Instead of avocado as the main ingredient, this guacamole uses Greek yogurt as a base. Shockingly, the flavor is still crazy good, just like full-fat guacamole, but just allows a way larger portion size for the same amount of healthy fats. The dip still uses avocado — just in a more modest (or not so modest, depending on the severity of your addiction) amount.
Our PB&J sandwiches just got a major health upgrade. While usual jams and preserves are loaded with cane sugar, Trader Joe’s stepped in and put a stop to the madness with their Reduced Sugar Preserves. They come in all kinds of different fruity flavors, but our favorite is the strawberry. It clocks in at a modest 25 calories per serving and the main ingredient is fruit — not sugar.
Trader Joe’s didn’t make these bars, but we’re so thankful they sell them — for a crazy reasonable price, too. For two dollars, you can get this insanely clean, protein-packed, creatively flavored bar. They make incredible on the go snacks, post workout fuel, or parts of breakfast when paired with fruit. All of the ingredients are listed in bold print on the packaging: When they say “No B.S.”, they mean business.
As far as bread goes, this one’s pretty great. It’s made with wheat flour (like all wheat breads) and includes flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and even oats to boost its nutritional profile. One slice is a reasonable 80 calories, and in our opinion, this bread is way more flavorful than the rest.
We all know the tragedy of regular, store-bought hot dogs — processed meat, preservatives, and mystery ingredients galore. You’ll find none of that with this much healthier version. Each hot dog is made of lean chicken meat (mostly breast) and adds a meager 70 calories and a whopping 9 grams of protein. Low fat and free of gross fillers like nitrates, MSG, and wheat products, we definitely want these at our next cookout.