Time is a limited resource. Our clients are faced with this reality everyday. Heck, we are faced with this reality everyday. If we aren’t careful, we let our lack of time wreak havoc on our food choices. We are tempted to skip meals, grab fast food, or dodge hunger by relying on junky snacks. The impact of such food choices goes further than our waist line, it impacts our productivity at work, our temper with friends and family, our performance during workouts. Ideally, we are all able to carve out time to plan, prep and cook our foods regularly to ensure we are taking in optimal nutrition. But sometimes, we need the help of convenient options. Luckily, Trader Joe’s is basically a store full of convenient and, generally speaking, clean options.
Before we jump into the list, we want to give you 3 easy identifiers of “clean” packaged food. Clean food is basically real food; as close to the ground as you can get it. This is where our body gets optimal nutrition. When you are buying a packaged food, check the ingredient list. If it meets the following parameters, let’s call it clean.
1) Short list of ingredients.
2) First ingredient = real food.
3) Mostly recognizable ingredients.
1) Peanut butter
I literally make special trips to TJ’s just to stock up on peanut butter. My favorite is the crunchy, salted peanut butter. The only ingredients: peanuts and salt. You do have to mix it when you first open it, but if you eat it a few times a week and don’t like cold peanut butter, there’s no need to refrigerate it. They have a variety of other peanut and nut butters too. Mix it into your morning oatmeal or spread it on an apple for a delicious snack.
2) Pre-washed, pre-chopped veggies & veggie mixes
Don’t let the chopping be what stops you from cooking a meal at home. There’s no shame in buying pre-chopped veggies. Yes, it will cost you a little extra, but probably not as much as the alternative of a meal out or ordered in. TJ’s has stir fry mixes, fajita mixes, soup kits; a good start to an easy veggie filled meal.
3) Individual salads
TJ’s has a wide selection of salads: Lemon Chicken Arugula Salad, Chinese Style Salad with Chicken, Kale & Edamame Salad, Harvest Salad with Grilled Chicken. These are perfect to pack for lunch or to have on hand for a quick dinner.
4) Dried fruits (many with no added sugar!)
We’re not just talking your normal raisins and dried cranberries. Dried everything! Peaches. Strawberries. Mangos. Bananas. Dates. Dried fruit is a great pre-workout snack and can be paired with a handful of nuts for an on the go snack.
TJ’s has plain and flavored beef jerky, turkey jerky and salmon jerky. Pro tip: if you have a long commute or travel a lot by car, keep some jerky in your glove box. You never know when hunger may strike. Grabbing a bite of jerky can can tide you over so you aren’t ravenous or hangry when you reach your destination.
6) Tart Cherry, Chia & Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal
These are just simple and a good on-the-go breakfast. Perfect for people who head straight to work after a workout or those who need a healthy breakfast for work travel.
7) “Just a Handful” Nuts & Trail Mixes
Without careful attention, it is easy to go overboard on a serving of nuts. These pre-portioned bags of nuts and trail mixes are perfect and may save you 100s of calories.
8) Frozen meals
These are no Lean Cuisine or Hungry Man meals. There are a handful of frozen meals with moderate amounts of sodium and a decent portion of veggies. Good to keep on hand when you’re in a pinch and can’t make it to the store quite yet.
9) Chicken Sausage
Try this go to meal: sauté whatever veggies you have on hand and throw in a sliced chicken sausage. Top it with half an avocado. It will take you 10 minutes, 15 max.
10) Beer & Wine!
Okay, so maybe this doesn’t fit the “convenient & clean” category of the other items on this list, but let’s be honest, they have a pretty solid selection of beer and wine! And, it is convenient that you can buy it at the same time as your convenient and clean foods.
What are your favorite foods at Trader Joe’s? We always love new ideas!
If you need help learning how to fit optimal nutrition into your busy schedule, we’d love to help you out! We help busy people like you all the time. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to see if we’re a good fit for you.
What To Eat Before & After Your Workouts
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