Over the years, my diet has drastically evolved. I grew up on diet sodas and fast food, then went vegetarian at 14. That only meant a steady dose of pizza. I used to drink much more heavily and have continued to find my “groove” to a healthier lifestyle. I was really on a health roll before having my daughter, Mabel, and now strive to do my best at setting an example. 

It has not been an overnight “transformation” nor do I bother to set goals or have “rules” anymore. My green drinks will sometimes be followed by a handful of organic peanut butter cups and I’m ok with that. 

I’ve continued to find what works best for me. As much as I’d love to be solely plant-based and buy fewer boxed foods, it’s a lot. I’m home full-time with a toddler plus I have remote jobs. Like many parents, Trader Joe’s is my second home. I shop hop but purchase a hearty amount of our groceries from good ol’ Joe. 

Eat Organic on a Budget at Trader Joe’s

Eating organic is a priority for me and that’s not usually cheap. Trader Joe’s is often much more reasonable than the leading supermarkets. Although the popular chain is a staple for many, I’ve had some ask me what to grab if they pop in.

Here are a few of my go-to’s when I hit those inviting aisles. Most are organic, too. If you shop frequently with your kiddo as I do, make sure to ask for some stickers at check out. They change seasonally and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t snag a few of the Christmas ones for our cards this year. 

Organic Acai Bowl

When I was pregnant, my one true (and ongoing) craving was acai bowls. They’re loaded with fruits, granola, and sometimes nut butter. What’s not to love? The price. That’s what. An innocent little juice bar stop was setting me back 10 to 12 dollars a pop. Then, Trader Joe’s introduced their very own organic acai bowl in the freezer section. 

For just 3.99, the fruity treat is an ideal single-serving size (although Mabel and I share one often). It comes with a delicious gluten-free granola with coconut flakes for toppings. We stick one in the fridge overnight to defrost and voila, no overpriced trips anywhere in the morning. 

Organic Veggie Bites

Have you ever read the ingredients of tater tots? Most of the time, they’re loaded with nasty oils, fillers, and not much potato. At 3.69 a bag, we love the organic veggie bites. They look just like a tater tot but instead have a veggie blend to them. Organic, too. 

They truly go with everything or even as a snack on their own. Nuggets, mac and cheese, PB&J. Mabel and I pair them with it all. Not to mention they’re great for dipping. 

Organic Shells and White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Although not the greatest or healthiest meal I can make my kiddo, it’s always a hit. On those days she’s extra fussy and will not eat anything, this box comes out for dinner. Since I’m gluten-free I’ve not tried it but it always smells amazing. That familiar and comforting aroma of mac and cheese. 

I love that it’s organic and since it’s white cheddar, no added coloring to make it orange. I don’t know the exact price but it’s in the two-dollar ballpark.  

Organic Vegetarian Chili

If you’ve ever had Amy’s brand of vegetarian chili, this tastes exactly the same. Best part? It’s just 2.49. It has a bit of spice which I like. My only complaint is that Trader Joe’s carries their gluten-free cornbread mix solely during the holidays. Chili with cornbread is one of my favorites, so definitely grab their regular mix to pair. Or make an extra stop if you’re also gluten-free. It’s worth it. 

Riced Cauliflower Bowl

On those days a frozen meal needs to be grabbed, I turn to this one. Surprisingly, Mabel seems to enjoy it as well. Joe’s riced cauliflower is very satisfying whether or not you’re vegan. It’s got a load of flavors like tamari, tahini, garlic, chili powder, sweet potatoes, and tofu. 

It’s only 2.99 and versatile. I like to add a fried egg on top with hot sauce. 

Almost Everything Gluten-free Bagels

Another favorite from their gluten-free line-up. If you’re not concerned about gluten, take advantage of all the bread and pastries Joe’s stocks. They’ve got mouth-watering muffins, tarts, and even the traditional Danish kringle. My husband and daughter have no allergen worries yet love these bagels along with me. They actually get crispy and don’t taste dry as many GF products do. 

Once again, the price keeps me coming back for more. A pack of four costs 4.49. At other stores, GF “big” brands can easily be seven or more dollars. Once these puppies are in your cart, grab a cream cheese or my go-to, the vegan version. Another “hack” is using avocados as a spread on them. Speaking of avocados…..

Teeny Tiny Avocados Bag

How often have you bought avocados only to have them get too ripe quickly or you just don’t use up an entire one? Your problems are solved right here. Their Teeny Tiny bag of avocados is probably my favorite steal. They’re 2.99 and the ideal size for kids, snacks, or anything. 

Honorable Mentions at Trader Joe’s

Do I have you pumped for a trip to your neighborhood Trader Joe’s? I hope so. There’s so much more to explore (and taste). Some other must-haves for me include Impossible Meat (I’ve never seen it anywhere for the low price of  5.99), Overnight Oat cups (Vanilla: 1.99, almond butter and chia: 2.29), vegan enchilada casserole (5.99), and cheese and green chile tamales (3.79). 

Plan your shopping list here and let me know what you get!


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