Best Finds at Trader Joe's

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.



I love grocery shopping on unconventional days—like Tuesday evenings.


Who grocery shops on Tuesdays?


(Cricket. Cricket.)


Not many people.


In fact, statistically speaking, Tuesday is the LEAST POPULAR DAY to shop (29% of grocery shoppers), compared to Saturday and Sunday, with about 41% of all grocery shoppers hitting the stores up on those days between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Woman grocery shopping


No lines. Re-stocks of shipments from the crazed stock-up-for-the-week Sundays and yoga-mom Mondays. No elbows needed.


Living in Austin, we are pretty spoiled with the grocery scene.


Whole Foods. Sprouts. Central Market. The local ‘big store’ HEB. Wheatsville. Natural Grocers. Fresh Plus. Ingredients. Cosco. Sam’s. Daily Farmer’s Markets. And Trader Joe’s.


Austin is not only a ‘foodie’ town for unique and progressive restaurants, but a foodie town for good groceries.


Today, for THRIVE’s Tip Tuesday, Trader Joe’s is on the radar.



If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, bummer! They are definitely not everywhere. The California-based chain is known for their array of unique, convenient and ‘health conscious’ items; low prices (savings from the lack spent on advertising); and cheery employees, clad in bright Hawaiian shirts.


In this last blog post, we dissected the grocery mecca, Whole Foods, for some sweet deals.


In this edition, we will take a little grocery tour to talk about what to avoid, what to try and find some of the best deals in town.


TJ’s (yes, we are on a nickname basis now) has several great gems that are worth stocking up on:


Avocados. $1.29 –SCORE! Best deal in town. I get 3-4 at a time, and leave ’em in the fridge to ensure they last longer (don’t get ripe too fast!).



Organic Tuscan Kale. I am not a huge fan of the old standby curly kale after giving this baby a try! And, if you’ve been hearing the ‘buzz’ that “kale is bad for you”, check in to my blog later this week.



Southern Greens & Power Greens. Ever tried collard greens? I really hadn’t either until I picked the Southern Greens up: Collards + spinach add a perfect antioxidant punch to any meal, and I love sautéing these and pairing alongside some turkey or chicken sausage, or eggs over easy with bacon for a simple morning meal. The same goes for the Power Greens—and I typically stock up on at least 2-3 bags at a time for only $1.99 a pop.


Whole Brussels Sprouts. Plain and simple whole sprouts in a green bag. No seasoning or anything. Already washed and ready to cook, I simply dump them out of the bag into a glassware baking dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and throw in the oven at 425-degrees for about 40-45 minutes. The result? Whole roasted deliciousness!


Pre-diced Butternut Squash. I absolutely HATE cutting into squashes. Every time I try, I nearly severe a finger (actually have done that). But the typical expense at most grocers never seems worth it to me ($7.99+ sometimes). TJ’s does it again—makes the meal prep seriously with this pre-bagged version of diced butternut squash, ready to be tossed with coconut oil and cinnamon, and cooked in oven (or toaster oven) at 350-degrees for 15-20 minutes.


Cauliflower & Organic Riced Cauliflower (Frozen Foods). Cauliflower rice. Cauli-mash. Roasted curried cauliflower. The options are limitless (and at least $1-$2 cheaper than anywhere else for each head of cauliflower). Check out the latest and greatest in the frozen department as well—pre-prepared cauli rice that only needs to be heated up on the stove top before consuming with…curry chicken, taco meat, mustard-glazed chicken thighs or any other bit of deliciousness without breaking out the food processor!


Coconut Oil Cooking Spray. $7.99 at Whole Foods vs. $2.99 here make this one hard to pass up. Use when need to spray down a cookie sheet or glassware baking dish; or want a less oily version of your veggies or meat.



Coconut Oil, GrassFed Butter & Ghee. Stock up on your cooking oils here on the cheap ($5.99/coconut oil, $3.49 grass-fed butter). Best prices I have found on all these things that make your food taste, oh so good! They even carry Kerrygold grass-fed butter! (The gold-standard in butter).



Raw Almond Butter. Yet again, the cheapest in town for RAW (not dry roasted) nutbutter. About $6 for the version that digests 100% better than other regular ol’ nutbutter (i.e. less gut-irritation).

Spices (Cinnamon, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder). $1.99 straight up folks. You don’t have to stock ‘em up much, but when you do, they can get pricey. TJ’s keeps things real (low).


Macadamia Nuts. I love these things, but like most good things in life, they can get pricey! TJ’s prebagged (unsalted) nuts are a bit more cost effective than the $16.99/lbs. versions in the bulk section at some other grocers. I think I last paid $8.99/lbs. for this great snack!


Hardboiled Eggs. Not always the best option, but in a pinch, these pre-bagged, cage-free hardboiled eggs save the extra step of hardboiling (and moreover: peeling the shells off these things—my least favorite part! I still have not mastered this!).

Unsweetened Almond Milk (Vanilla). Delicious in morning smoothies with some quality protein powder + greens + frozen blueberries + raw almond butter. Almond milk adds some creaminess without the irritation dairy can bring.

Organic Whole Chicken. A big ol’ 2-4 lbs. bird for simple meal prep at home for $2.69/lbs.. Pre-heat oven to 450. Wash chicken and thoroughly dry the chicken inside the cavity and out with paper towels.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan and generously sprinkle with sea salt (inside the cavity as well).  Add any butter, thyme, pepper, or stick to just the salt, cook for an hour in the oven, and voila! Crispy golden brown chicken that is incredibly tender, juicy, flavorful and delicious!

Empire Kosher Ground Turkey. Turkey burgers. Meatloaf. Tacos. Chili. You name it, this turkey is my go-to staple. I love that it is not 99% fat free/lean (i.e. dry), but not overly gristly either (85/15% fat). It is in between and a little bit of fat adds lots of flavor and juiciness to make it worth tasting! Add coconut aminos into it for an awesome seasoning that will light up the tastebuds!



Wild Frozen Sockeye Salmon. Opt for wild-caught sources to avoid the poor fish feed and toxins farm-raised salmon may bring. And when you buy frozen versions, they are generally a tad bit cheaper than the fresh cuts on ice at the store, but no less delicious once thawed. Simply leave to thaw in fridge overnight before you plan to consume. Approx. $11.99/lb. (about $5-$6 cheaper than most Sockeye elsewhere).



Nitrate Free Turkey Bacon. Nitrates=added chemical=toxic to the body. For about $2.99/package, fry up 2-3 slices to put alongside your eggs in the morning; cook breakfast for dinner; or dice up in a veggie dish of any sort for some extra flavor.



Applegate Farms Deli Meat (turkey/ham). Cheapest in town for this brand named product. Great on a romaine lettuce wrap with guacamole and Dijon mustard of course; or consumed as turkey rollups for a snack.


Get it? Got it? Good?


As you can see—lots of options.


That being said, JUST LIKE Whole Foods’ organic mac & cheese or pizza does not equal completely healthy options, the same is true at Trader Joe’s. Known for their exotic stock of frozen convenient foods, it can be easy to get carried away with the selection of frozen burgers, taquitos, Mandarin orange chicken and BBQ chicken pizza. Not to mention the ‘organic’ cereals, signature sweet Cookie Butter, prepared foods like soups, pre-cooked chicken and more with hidden sugars and lots of sodium.



In other words: Just be aware of additives on labels with the names of ingredients you can’t pronounce or unnecessarily added sugar.




Time to shop!


THRIVE Opportunity

Want to eat ‘healthier’ or wanting to revamp your nutrition, but have no idea where to start?

This week, book a THRIVE  grocery-store tour session and get an additional pantry-sweep and meal-planning how-to session FREE.


What you will get?

  • Guidance in SIMPLIFYING your grocery and meal prep routine
  • Learn how to navigate your store where you shop to find the best choices for your goals
  • Support in getting rid of the old junk and replacing with new, delicious alternatives
  • Insider tips on saving money at the store for healthy eating
  • Two-weeks’ worth of simple meal ideas and prep tips  to take the overwhelming thought out of meal prep


*Offer ends Sunday, August 16th at 11:59 p.m. CST



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