A Healthy Trader Joe’s Shopping List From a Nutritionist | Well+Good

Since we cook most of our meals at home (and by us, I mean my fiancé), it never ceases to amaze me how quickly our fridge and pantry go from fully stocked with all the delicious stuff to empty. On the plus side, though, a nearly empty fridge and pantry require one of my favorite things to do: a Trader Joe’s career. That said, going to the store without a healthy shopping list from Trader Joe’s usually means we come home with a random assortment of our staples that may or may not work well together or create entire meals.

To help with this, we ask Kelly LeVequeCN, holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, celebrity health coach, and best-selling author, for a Trader Joe’s healthy shopping list (or, rather, replenishment formula) to make sure you add all the essentials to your cart you need to create balanced meals for the week in one go.


First things first, LeVeque recommends stocking up on protein for the week, starting with breakfast options. She suggest eggs and nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

For lunch and dinner, LeVeque targets easy-to-prepare proteins like ground beef or chicken. And, if your freezer is also empty, he suggests adding frozen wild salmon fillets to your shopping cart because the Omega 3-Yummy fish is one of the fastest proteins to defrost and roast in the oven, which is perfect for those busy days when you don’t feel like cooking.


The following are healthy fats, which LeVeque says “keep us full and make our home-cooked meals more fun, so maintaining a variety will keep you cooking.” Healthy fat options he recommends include avocados (because who doesn’t love a good guacamole), nuts (TJ’s has a great selection), and nut butter spreads (creamy organic almond butter, anyone?) to add to your morning smoothie. And for grilling and homemade dressings, don’t forget a liquid fat like extra virgin olive oil.

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It’s not a balanced meal without some greens in the mix to get your fiber and greens fix. “We know that the amount and variety of products we eat it directly influences the health of our microbiome,” says LeVeque. “So I recommend my customers stock two of each category (raw, cooked, and leafy) and then at least one frozen and one herb option.”

For raw vegetables, LeVeque notes that cucumber and bell peppers are good choices for snacking or adding to a dish. For the vegetables to cook, he adds that Brussels sprouts and broccoli are great. As for green leafy vegetables, LeVeque suggests opting for spinach or mixed greens.

As for frozen vegetables, LeVeque’s favorite is frozen cauliflower rice. And as for herbs, TJ’s has plenty, including planted ones you can take home and continue to grow – think cilantro, basil, and parsley, which are great for adding tons of flavor to dishes. Pro Tip: LeVeque recommends storing herbs and citrus juice by freezing them in ice cube trays, so you always have some on hand.

pantry dry goods

Fresh food is always best, according to LeVeque, but keeping your pantry stocked is a good insurance policy, and TJ’s really kills it in this department. “Some of my favorite pantry items include chia and flax seeds for smoothies, black beans and chickpeas, white basmati rice, pasta sauce, and a variety of your favorite spices,” he says. Side note: Trader Joe’s also has organic frozen rice options worth checking out. Just pop them in the microwave and they’re ready to eat.

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sweets and snacks

Lastly, a balanced tour of Trader Joe’s isn’t complete without a few snacks and treats to enjoy throughout the week. For a nut-free school snack for kids, LeVeque says pumpkin seeds will do the trick. He also loves Trader Joe’s Chomp grass-fed beef sticks and ready-to-eat packets of pitted olives and marinated artichokes, which come in handy when you’re on the go.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, TJ’s Frozen Organic Wild Blueberries are a mainstay in LeVeque’s freezer because they’re high in antioxidants, but choose any type of berry that tempts your taste buds. He also mentions dried fruit options, which are a fun treat for kids (and adults!) that only have one ingredient. And let’s not forget bananas, which you can also freeze and use for smoothies.

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