When you’re trying to get into the whole foods plant-based diet way of eating, figuring out what to buy at a grocery store is incredibly confusing. Yes, it’s important to buy as much produce as possible, but for the average busy person, prepping all your food from scratch is nearly impossible. Over the next couple of months, I’m going to highlight some of the many excellent food products at various grocery stores that are worth purchasing, starting with Trader Joe’s. There are plenty of deceptively unhealthy food products at TJ’s, but there are some really good ones that would be great staples to have in your kitchen. I’ve gotten to the point where aside from looking for new products, I know basically exactly what I’m going to buy every time I set food in the store. Here are a few of the products I buy regularly, more to come later:
Yes, I know it sounds weird – chickpeas with avocados – but this stuff is unbelievably good. Substitute it for regular guacamole in any Mexican dish and cut the calories from fat in half, put it on top of baked potatoes, or just dip veggies in it.
Aside from the guacamole hummus, this one is the only TJ’s hummus that’s oil-free. Luckily, it also happens to be my favorite.
Trader Joe’s Lentils
A little high in salt, but the convenience of these really can’t be beat. Add them to the top of salads or in soups, wrap them up in burritos, or just eat them plain. A great quick snack if you’re short on time.
Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms
This is the only oil-free sauce TJ’s has, but it’s a good one. The addition of mushrooms and their powerful cancer and fat fighting properties is always a bonus.
Quick-Cook Brown Basmati Rice
Brown rice is delicious but usually takes forever to cook. Not this stuff – it’s parboiled and only takes about 15 minutes to make. What you sacrifice in texture (the grains tend to stick to each other a bit) you more than make up for in convenience. Added bonus of your whole house smelling like popcorn when it’s cooking.
Organic Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale
Yes, finally Trader Joe’s carries organic kale! These are cheaper than the pre-washed bags at Whole Foods and much bigger too. They’re easy to use as a base for salads, smoothies, adding to soups or chilis, or baking/dehydrating into kale chips, among other things.
Okay, that’s it for today. I’ll have more in the coming weeks, along with a master list so you can print it out and bring it shopping with you!