How to Shop at Trader Joe's Like a Kween
By Emma Lehman
If you’re like me, you practically live at Trader Joe’s. Between the prices, convenience (literally a block from my apartment), and ever-changing product line, it’s pretty tough to beat. But with the abundance of temptations—like pumpkin-flavored everything and cauliflower-riced something—it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Turn to my go-to tricks of the trade when it comes to shopping at Trader Joe’s:
Start with produce. To avoid loading up on processed goods, beeline to the produce section first. TJ’s is known to have mean deals on hot commodities like avocados in bulk and bright looking berries. If you’re really feeling lazy (I mean, fancy), opt for pre-chopped broccoli/cauliflower and pre-zig-zagged butternut squash—no one will know. Yes, it’s hard to beat the quality at Whole Foods, but if you shop closely and opt for what’s in season, prices can’t be beat, and the taste is still top-notch.
Load up on dry goods. This is the store to help bring your pantry to a whole new level. Pile your cart with dry goodies that will last (practically) forever, like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and more. You’d be surprised by how handy these can be when you claim to have nothing to eat at home...not anymore!
Don't forget about canned/jarred/bottled goods. Take advantage of these price-steals by reaching for the nut butters, fancy oils/vinegars, beans, salsas, tomato sauces, etc. Just make sure to peek at the ingredient list so you approve of what’s listed. Remember: if you don’t recognize an ingredient, or can’t pronounce it, put it back and move on.
Frozen is your friend. I swear by the frozen eats at TJ’s, specifically on nights when I can’t bring myself to spend an embarrassing amount of money on Postmates. My go-to’s include frozen “Colorful Carrot Coins,” “Organic Superfood Pilaf,” and “Misto Alla Griglia” (aka grilled eggplant, peppers, and zucchini). Notice that all of these have no artificial-anything, which can trick your brain into thinking you almost made this meal from scratch. Also, pretty much any fruit or veggie with no ingredients other that yours truly is always a winner.
Treat yo’self. This goes without saying, but the wine prices are almost too good to be true. You can always benefit from throwing a bottle of wine in your cart—I’m sure you’ll get good use out of it—and faster than you think. Also, now is your chance to load up on some rich dark chocolate for your Netflix and slippers-filled nights.
What I’m obsessed with RN:
Dried mango (the ones with no added anything)
Frozen cauliflower gnocchi (I know I made fun of cauli-everything earlier, but it’s seriously da bomb)
Quick and dirty TJ’s recipe that never fails:
1 bag Pre-chopped broccoli/cauliflower mix (brussels sprouts work too)
1 container Pre zig-zagged butternut squash
1 cup kale
½ cup quinoa
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tbsp “Vegan kale, cashew & basil pesto”
1 tbsp “Everything but the bagel sesame seasoning blend”
Optional: 2 slices smoked salmon (if you’re feeling fancy)
Preheat oven to 425°F
Cook quinoa per package instructions
Once oven is preheated, roast veggies (minus kale) with EVOO, salt, and pepper for about 20 minutes
Saute kale with EVOO
Fry egg or cook to liking
Place veggies and quinoa in big bowl and top with smoked salmon (if using), egg, avocado and condiments
EAT RIGHT UP