If you’re not familiar with it, Trader Joe’s can be a tough store to navigate. And if you’re trying to do a Whole30 while shopping there for the first time? You might just turn around and walk out. But don’t give up so quickly! I’m here to help clear a path for you. 🙂
I remember my first few times shopping at Trader Joe’s – I went in, wandered around, wondered where all the brands I knew were, bought a few random snack items that had been strategically placed in order to capture my eye and my wallet (which were clearly well done, since I bought them), and went home still in need of actual groceries.
Now that I’m more familiar with the Trader Joe’s brand and their store layout, it’s actually one of my weekly go-tos. And if I’m doing a Whole30, a lot of their products cannot be beat for convenience and value. Keep in mind, I didn’t photograph everything – I just did a quick once over, highlighting a few of my favorite products in the photos, but each section will list a lot of the Whole30 goodies to be found at TJs. And as always, if your store has something that’s not listed here, share it in the comments so everyone can benefit from your nugget of knowledge!
Fruits & Veggies (Fresh and Frozen)
When it comes to pre-prepped veggies, Trader Joe’s takes the cake. (Ugh, I know, why am I referencing cake when you’re on a Whole30? Stay the course – I promise there’s no actual cake in this post.) Anywho, in the fresh section, there are a ton of options. They have pre-riced cauliflower, which I buy and use in both my Buffalo Chicken Casserole and Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole, as well as pre-riced broccoli. I’ve never actually riced broccoli on my own, but knowing the mess the cauliflower makes, I’m happy to just buy this one in a bag.
They also have a number of other pre-cut vegetables that I’m grateful that someone else cut up. When you’re on Whole30, the food prep and meal planning can get overwhelming. The fact that I can buy peeled and cubed butternut squash in a bag is a game changer on the hard days! I’ll dump a bag of that on a sheet pan with some sausage and a diced onion, bake it, and call it dinner.
They do have basic things like shredded carrots and chopped mirepoix (thats onions, carrots, and celery, for those of you who are common folk like me and don’t speak French :D), but they also have fun things like sweet potato ribbons, butternut squash zig-zags, and other ways to liven up an otherwise boring meal. The best part is they’re all grouped together, in the fresh produce section, in bags.
They have lots of other organic and non-organic veggie options, tons of salad greens (just make sure you don’t buy the salad mixes with croutons and dressing!) and lots of fruit options as well. We always get organic apples at Trader Joe’s, as well as bananas and the mandarin oranges pictured above. Those make a great snack on Whole30, and can be a huge help when you’re fighting the sugar dragon and want to reach for something way worse for you. Try peeling and sectioning them, then drizzle with a bit of coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You’re welcome. 😀
Again, they’re not all pictured here, but there are all the basics – chicken, pork, beef. Their prices on whole chickens are pretty good. Above are my 3 favorite go-tos in the Trader Joe’s meat section on Whole30, though. Two chicken sausages: Spicy Italian, which are pre-cooked, and Sundried Tomato, which are not. Be careful, there are other flavors of both of these types of sausages, and none of the other flavors are Whole30 compliant. They also have grass-fed beef in the frozen section – both ground and strip steaks, neither one with the outrageous price tag you might find on grass-fed beef at other grocery chains.
My favorite part about this category in Trader Joe’s is that it seems like they’re always coming out with something new. They pay attention to trends, and then release a less expensive version of something that everyone is currently buying. Example – coconut aminos. For as long as I can recall, the only coconut aminos I was able to find was this one by Coconut Secret. With that price tag, it’s not really a sustainable option for the long haul. Trader Joe’s to the rescue, though, with their new organic coconut aminos touting a $2.99 price tag. Yes, please.
They’ve also recently released an organic vegetable stock and an organic chicken stock, neither of which have added sugar, and their ingredients are all Whole30 approved. I know everyone recommends making your own, which I do often, but let’s face it, you don’t always have that kind of time on your hands. When you’re already doing this much food prep, having pre-made stock is a beautiful thing.
Other favorites in this category include coconut flakes, nut butter (they have lots of almond butter options, but the cashew butter is THE BEST), and salsa with no added sugars. They also have a wide selection of jarred pickles and olives, which are great for snacking or toppings, as well as any kind of nut you could imagine – and they come raw, roasted, and salted, depending on your preferences.
Last but not least, they sell both almond meal and almond flour. While we’re not doing any baking on Whole30 (that falls into the SWYPO category!) you can use this for a lot of other things.
I know, they always say you’re not supposed to “snack” on Whole30. But sometimes, you’re caught up in the daily hustle, can’t make a real meal happen, and need something to eat. Having something that’s W30 approved on hand can be a lifesaver when you’re stuck in a land with vending machines as far as the eye can see. Tuck one of these into your purse/car/bag/murse/diaper bag/whatever suits your fancy, and you’re golden during snackmergencies. Some of my Trader Joe’s favorites here are their organic Turkish Dried Apricots, their Grainless Granola (I just eat a handful!), and the trusty old Lara Bars and Rx Bars. Obviously watch your dried fruit consumption, as they are just concentrated sugar, but can be handy in a pinch!
Seltzer & Sauces/Dips
I’m a big fan of the sauce on Whole30. Sauces can make or break a meal, and they can add a ton of flavor to an otherwise bland dish. Trader Joe’s has an awesome Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto sauce that I’ve used on zoodles before, or even just tossed any random veggies into. They also have pre-made compliant guac – a spicy one and a regular one! Try these with some (homemade) plantain chips, or some cut raw veggies if “chips” are too much SWYPO for you.
Almost all of the beverage and juice options at Trader Joe’s are a no-go on Whole30, but their seltzer selection is great. They have plain, but also a huge variety of other flavors, and are only 79 cents a bottle. These can help jazz things up when water gets boring, and LaCroix is too expensive!
I also put together a quick printable for you, with ideas of things to look for in your Trader Joe’s. Even if they don’t have the exact things on the list, it will give you some ideas of where to look and what to look for. Happy shopping!
Something at your Trader Joe’s that’s not listed here? Share it in the comments for everyone!
Enjoyed this post? Be sure to also check out our Top 10 List for on-the-go Whole30 snacks, Tips & Tricks for an Easy Whole30, Whole30 Q&A, Aldi Whole30 Shopping List, and our Costco Whole30 Shopping List!