If you want to know what fresh foods to buy at Trader Joe’s on a Budget, look no further than these tips below.
Sticking to a grocery budget can be challenging; especially when you want to feed your family fresh, wholesome foods. The great news is that when you tackle your week with one of our Meal Plans, you’ll be ready to shop with a list on hand.
And, if Trader Joe’s is one of your favorite stores, you are in luck! TJ’s makes that healthy, clean eating grocery budget possible by offering a variety of quality products without outrageous prices. Everything from produce, meat, dairy, pantry staples, dried goods, and frozen foods to soaps and cosmetics. Despite the wide variety, they take great responsibility in making sure their products are non-GMO.
Of course, as with any grocery store, Trader Joe’s has the pretty packages and interesting goodies that can so easily get us off track -yes, I’m speaking to you, Mac and Cheese Bites! But, if you stick to a plan, it’s not difficult to stay within your budget!
To help you succeed in this clean eating grocery budget, I want to share with you the tips and tricks I’ve picked up while shopping at Trader Joe’s.
CREATE A MEAL PLAN:
Take a moment to look in your fridge and pantry, see what you have, and plan out every meal for your week. Yes, breakfast, lunch, and dinner…even snacks!
This helps you stay focused and less likely to buy items you won’t use or eat. To find recipes, use your favorite cookbooks, online recipe sources or, check out one of our Family Meal Plans, like the Classic Dinner or Lunch Plan. All come with 5 meals, recipes, and shopping lists!
NATURAL / ORGANIC PRODUCTS:
If you are serious about sticking to an organic, all-natural food diet, TJ’s is a great place for that. A lot of their produce, meat, bread, dairy, and frozen goods offer an organic or regular option, leaving the choice to you! Thankfully, the organic options are reasonably priced compared to other major supermarkets.
BUY PRODUCE ON SALE:
If you often cook with cauliflower rice, buy a head of cauliflower rather than the pre-riced cauliflower. One bag is about 16 ounces, but one head will yield almost twice that amount! Some of their veggies can be expensive like the multi-colored carrots, so stick to the regular carrots.
Most of the recipes in our Classic Meal Plan are flexible enough for you to swap out the veggies with another option, allowing you to save with some of your meal ingredients.
There are also a variety of prepared salads in the $4.99-$6.99 range. I find them to be a bit expensive for the portion size and the only time I suggest buying these is when you are purchasing them to eat as your work-lunch instead of eating out. That will save you money for sure.
THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND:
Trader Joe’s has a great variety of frozen produce and prepped ingredients available at a reasonable price while still maintaining good quality in both taste and ingredients.
Some things to get here are frozen butternut squash, frozen broccoli, frozen cauliflower rice, frozen fruit (perfect for smoothies), and sides.
Steer away from family-sized prepared meals and specialty items in the freezer aisle. You’ll be paying a premium for convenience, and while most of TJ’s foods are made with wholesome ingredients, there are some you might not want to eat.
THE SNACK TRAP:
Okay, this can be a challenge at Trader Joe’s they have the BEST snacks, some of which are reasonably priced, while others will land you a few bucks over your budget. Here is where you so shop at your discretion; although sometimes you might want to splurge on a few as a matter of convenience.
Of course, the key to staying on budget with every shopping trip is to avoid shopping hungry!
Here are a few Trader Joe’s items that are most popular for their quality and low price:
Lettuce, pre-washed and whole
Beans, all varieties
Almond butter/Nut butter
Eggs, organic and conventional
Dairy products: yogurts, cottage cheese, milk, shredded cheese
Butter (including Kerrygold)
Deli cheese (avoid some specialty cheeses)
Sausage: pork or chicken varieties
Chicken: organic and conventional
Frozen riced cauliflower
Frozen Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
Of course, there are more items that make Trader Joe’s great, but as a general rule, these are the staples we love to build our meals with that are easy to shop there.
I have never been to Trader Joes, people I know are always telling me you have to check it out. Laura as with all the great things you put together in your posts, I will have to try it out, with your planning. Only thing with me is I live alone, full meals are more fun with some body to cook for. But that will be changing before too long and my fiance loves to cook also!!!! Thanks for a great post.
MOMables - Laura
I’m so glad this was helpful, Michael. Trader Joes is great when you cook for 2 also! Congrats on the engagement and finding a partner that likes to cook! win-win.