If you're lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's near you, you know that it offers great savings and delicious options. However, not everything fits into our whole food plant-based lifestyle. I've created a list for you so when you DO shop at Trader Joe's you can take it with you and save money, as well. Scroll down to see what Trader Joe's has to offer and then join my list and receive a printable option.
If you're wondering if eating processed foods is ok, be sure to check out my article, "Should You Eat Packaged Foods on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?" It also includes tips on reading labels which is an important skill to have when shopping at Trader Joe's. The short answer... is yes, but it depends.
Remember, Trader Joe's often phases out products and brings in new ones so don't be surprised if something is missing at your Trader Joe's. However, do let me know in the comments if you've found something I've missed. Your fellow plant-based friends will love to know what you've found!
It's easy to find fresh fruits and vegetables at Trader Joe's. Some, but not all are organic.
The only caveat is that they are often packaged in plastic.
Be sure to check the frozen aisle for fruits and vegetables as well, but look at the labels to make sure these don't have added ingredients you're trying to avoid. The list of frozen items is in the "Frozen & Refrigerated" section below.
Some are prepackaged and cut up and others are offered individually.
- Bell peppers
- Salad greens
- Brussels sprouts
- String beans
- Sometimes asparagus
- Plums and more
What other plant-based whole food options are there? Take a look at my list (below) and see what works for you. If you'd like a complete list to print for yourself, join my list and I'll send you a printable version (and my weekly newsletter with new articles and recipes once a week).
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Every Trader Joe's varies somewhat so you may not find everything at yours, but this will be a great start for you. I'll keep the list updated as new products come to my attention. If you have something that should be added to the list, let me know in the comments below. Make sure it's low salt, sugar and no oil.
Dry goods are super on a whole food plant-based diet and you'll certainly find a lot at Trader Joe's. Here's what you'll find...
- Chickpea flour
- Crackers (not usually low oil so check labels)
- Dried fruit
- Herbs and spices (21 Seasoning Salute is popular, Everything But the Bagel has salt)
- Nut butter
- Nuts and seeds (choose unsalted when possible)
- Nutritional yeast
- Whole grains like barley, bulgur, farro, couscous, cornmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and oats.
Dry Bean Choices
Beans and legumes are super for their gut-healthy fiber and high protein content. You can find some canned as well as dried at Trader Joe's. Choose low-sodium or no salt when buying canned if you have an option.
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
- Cannellini beans
Other Pantry items
- Boxed low-sodium vegetable broth
- Jar Pasta, pasta sauce
- Canned tomato paste
- Tomato sauce (fat-free marinara)
- Canned tomatoes
- Chia and flaxseeds
- Canned green jackfruit
- Canned refried beans
- Soy Beverage (shelf-stable, made with soybeans and water and is the least expensive I've found coming in at under $2.00)
- Canned beans. You should be able to find low-sodium versions: black, cannellini, chickpeas, edamame, lentils, pinto
The most whole food option is the sprouted grain bread, but you'll find other whole-grain bread there, as well.
Pickles, sauerkraut, mustard, and ketchup.
- Date sugar
- Date syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
Frozen & Refrigerated
- Look for non-dairy milk such as almond, cashew, coconut, and hemp. They also have oat milk, pea, and rice. They carry a shelf-stable soy beverage that's not in the refrigerated section. This option is best because it's made with only soybeans and water.
- Then you'll also find frozen fruits: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, peaches, mango, pomegranate seeds, and figs.
- Frozen vegetables & grains include corn, mushroom medley, cauliflower, cauliflower rice, basmati rice, broccoli, and green beans, pre-cut squash, hash browns.
- Tofu and tempeh
- Corn tortillas
- Super Eight pre-chopped veggies
- Shredded cabbage
- Fully Cooked Organic Quinoa (freezer section)
Here's where the fun begins. There are items that are pre-made and ready to eat which will speed up your time in the kitchen.
- Hummus, the eggplant hummus has tahini, but no oil
- Cashew Fiesta Dip
- Chipotle Black Bean Dip
- Tofu, fresh plain and flavored
- Non-dairy yogurt
- Korean Napa Cabbage Kimchi (can be salty)
- Raw sauerkraut
- Broccoli slaw
- Fully Cooked Organic Quinoa
- Hatch Vally Salsa
- Boxed Organic Split Pea Soup
What Have I Missed?
Well, there you have it, my list of items that you can purchase at Trader Joe's. Let me know if I've missed any items. I'm looking for no or very low oil, sugar and salt.