My love affair with Trader Joe’s is long and unwavering. I am a TJ loyalist and so when I decided to go on the Whole30, a big part of my decision was, “Can I still shop at Trader Joe’s?” I followed Trader Joe’s from their humble and terrible refrigeration beginnings. If anyone remembers what I’m talking about, their produce ALWAYS went bad (and I found out it’s because they didn’t have enough fridges to keep the temps for certain produce). I almost gave up on the little grocery that could, despite their shelves of delicious packaged goods, but I’m SOO glad I didn’t. (Yes, I think they fixed the refrigeration problem)
There are so many reasons why I love Trader Joe’s and here are some of them:
- Friendly Staff Members – I love shopping for groceries and having happy people help me out, it makes buying food so much less of an errand and more of an experience.
- Their Buyers Follow Food Trends – Their buyers know what’s up before a lot of consumers know what’s up. I saw Riced Cauliflower in the case, before most other places started selling it. I die for their Soy Creamer (which is NOT Whole30 compliant) and theirs is BY FAR, the best product out there. They find vendors and brands that make simple, yet quality products and sometimes will repackage it as their own. Since I used to work in produce, I followed produce trends and TJ was always on top of every single seasonal item, from endives to kiwi berries.
- Their Packs are GREAT for non-family sized families – Whether I was single, or now engaged and living with my fiance, their pack sizes were perfect for my lifestyle. I could buy a variety of produce (pre-packed or pre-cut) without having to throw half of anything away because it was just for one, or two.
- A good amount of organic items – Almost all of their produce has an organic offering as well. They carry things that are in season.
- Amazing frozen protein products – I know most people shudder at the idea of frozen anything, but their scallops and wild blue shrimp are great quality and very cost effective.
I could go on, about their snacks mainly, but that’s not Whole30 Kosher, but here is a picture and list of pantry items that I’ve bought from Trader Joe’s that is Whole30 compliant. I’ll talk about each one below.
Butternut Squash Zig Zags – Instead of breaking down a full butternut squash, this is a convenient way to cook butternut squash. I will recommend steaming or roasting them with olive pepper, salt and sea salt (my holy trinity and typical seasoning)
Riced Cauliflower – I also mix this with their Broccoli Cauliflower and it’s good sauteed in with different vegetables. I like adding green onions to this, but it’s good by itself. It’s a fast way to cook cauliflower.
Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix – I have this almost EVERY morning with my breakfast, the vegetables inside marry the coconut oil so well with scrambled eggs. There are carrots, celery, radish, jicama, green and red cabbage, bell peppers, and broccoli stems. I’m more of a fan of these because I feel that this is a product that saves other produce that would normally go to waste and they repackage it as a convenient item to use. (sustainable and delicious!)
Eggs – These eggs are delicious, this is the kind I get, they only sell it at TJ (I think).
Jalapeno Hot Sauce – This is my favorite product by far. I got it pre Whole30 and was ecstatic to find out that I could still have it with my eggs in the morning. I love spicy food and it’s really the only condiment I will add.
Organic Tahini – Whole30 wrote a lot about finding Tahini or maybe I read a few things on it…I don’t really eat Tahini, but I bought this anyway. I have yet to try it, but it’s organic and Whole30 compliant. I just thought it was a cool product.
Organic Coconut Cream – I also have yet to try this, but it was a new product on their shelf that caught my eye and I’m still deciding what to use it with. I’m sure it would be amazing with a curry. I saw a recipe for a vegan purple sweet potato pie yesterday, and post Whole30 I am definitely making it and using this to make the whipped cream. (I was a little bummed I missed PI day).
Marzano Tomatoes – These are better than cherry, plum, heirloom cherry tomatoes by far. I love that on the package it says to keep it out of the fridge (as you should do with all tomatoes). San Marzano tomatoes are sweet and delicious in salads. They’re the closest to fresh, picked off the bush tomatoes as I could get at a grocery store. TJ also has Kumato tomatoes (which are brownish in color) but if it isn’t tomato season, they’re also great in flavor because they tend to be year-round tomatoes.
Wild Pink Salmon – Canned – This salmon comes out of the can with its’ skin on. I believe it’s a whole salmon. I didn’t have canned salmon before and I know it exists in other grocery stores. Texture-wise, it’s SO much softer than tuna and not as dry. I’m glad I bought this and tried it.
Albacore Tuna- Simply packed in water with nothing added. Still a good product, as good as canned tuna can get.
Organic Coconut Oil – Though I used clarified butter for my cooking, I enjoy the coconut oil when I want the sweeter flavor in my foods (so as mentioned that hearty veggie mix with eggs). Their coconut oil is SUPER coconutty.
Maldon Sea Salt- The most superior salt to any cooking salt. The flakes are larger, so you get more flavor per sprinkle, but also because they’re larger, you end up using less. I really don’t think I got this from Trader Joe’s, but they also have the same thing and it’s called Pyramid Salt.
I know that there is a plethora of other Whole30 compliant items (that I get regularly), but the list is long. So, if you’re looking for a store to shop at, TJ is my choice for Whole30 meals. I know other stores sell these things (like Sprouts, WholeFoods, heck even Costco) but my loyalty to Trader Joe’s stands. There is just a warmth and comfort to shopping at Trader Joe’s that is irreplaceable to my soul.