Happy long-weekend-Friday! Several of you have inquired about where I do my shopping and find the best products and prices…and while there is not one concrete answer I would love to share a couple of ideas with you. I typically make my “meal plan” for the week on Sundays according to what we have in our freezer and pantry. Then, on that same day, I head to our local market for things like produce, most dairy and typical last minute grocery needs to fulfill my meal plan.
Aside from that, on a weekly, sometimes every-other-week basis I make a Costco run. Included in this run are most meats and fish (to keep the freezer stocked), eggs and a a few produce items that are unbeatable in price such as berries, greens and other things I am unable to get local during a particular time of year. I find that Costco’s prices for organic produce and most meats tend to be much cheaper per pound than the non-organic varieties at most grocery stores so I often go that route. And while quantities are large, we go through an awful lot of food in this household, eating breakfasts, lunches and dinners from our own kitchen at least six days a week…and I typically portion and freeze quite a bit of it too.
And then there is the Trader Joe’s run that happens when the staples get low; typically once a month or so. While I prefer the produce at my local market there are just certain things from Trader Joes that I can’t live without. Today I have created a list of those items to share with you. I think you will be astounded when you compare the below items prices to the ones you currently buy; and what’s even more amazing is how much of a nutritional advantage most of these items have over your typical “name brand” varieties. Take a peek…and let me know what you think!
Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta
16 Ounce Package $1.99
First off, this price is absolutely unbeatable. If any of you have purchased this at your local grocery store you know it is nearly impossible to find it under $3.75 per pound. Second, the taste and texture are awesome and you would never know you are eating a much healthier version of pasta. Third, check the ingredients. Brown rice and water. That’s it. Need I say more? A pantry staple in this house.
Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Organic Applesauce
24 Ounce Jar $2.49
It’s made of organic apples with not one other thing added. My main use is for yogurt. Instead of buying the sweetened yogurts that are loaded with sugar and additives I buy plain whole greek yogurt, put a spoonful of this applesauce in and you have a naturally sweetened, delicious snack. Trust me, it tastes much better than the flavored yogurt you may be buying already and is a much much better choice nutritionally.
Trader Joe’s Just Almond Meal
16 Ounce Package $3.95
I use this for recipes that call for almond meal or almond flour. It is just ground almonds and the reason it is called a “meal” is because it is just not ground quite as fine as your typical “almond flour”. This price is absolutely unbeatable.
Trader Joe’s Tahini Sauce
8 Ounce Container $2.99
People, this may be the best thing since sliced bread. Holy smokes. It must be in my fridge at all times or I will go insane. It is simply tahini paste (sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice and salt. It makes an extremely easy hummus by just pureeing it with garbanzo beans but we use it for dip with crackers or pita or as a topping for grilled meats, veggies, sandwiches, ANYTHING. My addiction that will probably never go away…and I’m totally fine with that.
Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon
12 Ounce Package $3.99
You won’t find a better tasting bacon, I assure you. It’s sweet, smokey and thick cut and without preservatives, nitrates or nitrites. I don’t know about you but this is literally half the price of it’s competitors at my grocery store…its a no brainer. I always keep a backup or two in our freezer for quick meals.
Trader Giotto’s Tomato Basil Marinara
26 Ounce Jar $1.79
A pantry staple for quick, need a break meals. The taste is as good as homemade and the price is absolutely awesome.
Trader Joe’s Dijon Mustard
13 Ounce Jar $1.69
Unlike most other brands this does not have sugar or fruit pectin added. Ingredients: Water, mustard, vinegar, wine, salt and citric acid. It tastes perfect and the price is great, too.
Trader Joe’s Real Mayonnaise
32 Ounce Jar $3.99
This also does not have sugar added and I would highly encourage you to take a peek at the ingredients on the current brand in your fridge. This tastes much better and much more real without the additives.
Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup
24 Ounce Bottle $1.99
This stuff has made my husband a ketchup snob. There is not a better tasting ketchup on the planet, I promise. There is no high fructose corn syrup added and it is made from real tomato puree, not “tomato concentrate”.
Trader Joe’s Almonds In-the-shell
16 Ounce Package $2.99
I just cant make it to the checkout lane without throwing a bag of these in the cart. They are roasted and salted and pure wonderfulness. If you haven’t had an almond directly from the shell my goodness you need to. Amazing.
Have I put you to sleep yet? That was quite a list. It’s a perfect long weekend to head to your local Trader Joe’s and stock up your kitchen…what-da-ya-say? I promise you’ll be so happy you did…and I will take full credit 😉