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Five Healthy Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s

Jillian is a college student working towards a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She intends to enter the field of medicine as a physician.

Trader Joe's sells bags of sweet potatoes at very affordable prices. They're always a staple on my shopping list.

Trader Joe's sells bags of sweet potatoes at very affordable prices. They're always a staple on my shopping list.

1. Sweet Potatoes

You may have heard sweet potatoes being touted around on the Internet as the next big superfood, and there’s good reason for it: they’re cheap, easy to prepare, and chock-full of nutrients your body needs. In particular, sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium and vitamin A. If you have a deficiency in either, consider grabbing a couple sweet potatoes instead of supplement pills the next time you go to the grocery store. You could also grab some bananas—Trader Joe’s sells them for a notoriously low 19 cents a pop.

If you’re following a diet, sweet potatoes are a filling, low-calorie way to spice up otherwise bland meals. A medium tuber will net you an estimated 120 calories, not to mention a wealth of satiating, stomach-filling fiber. Your growling stomach will thank you when you fill up on sweet potatoes instead of other processed carbohydrates.

In addition to boasting a stellar nutritional composition, sweet potatoes are an incredibly versatile food. You can cook them hundreds—no, thousands—of different ways. I’ve got an article in the works in which I compile some of the best recipes I’ve found incorporating sweet potatoes, but for now, I’ll direct you to the next best thing: The Sweet Potato Lover’s Cookbook. You can get it on Amazon for a steal, and in no time flat, you’ll be cooking your own superfood recipes.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What vitamin can you find in high quantities in sweet potatoes?
    • Vitamin B12
    • Vitamin B16
    • Vitamin K
    • Vitamin A
    • Thymine

Answer Key

  1. Vitamin A

Interpreting Your Score

If you got 0 correct answers: The sweet potato gods are STEWING

If you got 1 correct answer: You have contented the sweet potato gods with the correct answer.

Trader Joe's usually stocks low-sodium turkey slices at a lower price than competing grocery chains.

Trader Joe's usually stocks low-sodium turkey slices at a lower price than competing grocery chains.

2. Reduced Sodium Turkey Breast

Deli meat gets a bad rap for being high in sodium and nitrates, but healthier alternatives exist to satisfy the salty meat craving. Trader Joe’s, for example, offers reduced-sodium turkey slices, which contain 230 milligrams of sodium—compared to 460 in leading brands such as Hormel—per 3-ounce serving.

Despite its relatively-low sodium content, sliced turkey from Trader Joe’s can be used just as effectively as traditional deli meats to spice up recipes. Layer it between slices of ciabatta and Swiss for an easy, satisfying sandwich you can throw into a panini press and have ready in minutes.

Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted oats, which makes it more nutritious and lower in calories than traditional loaves.

Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted oats, which makes it more nutritious and lower in calories than traditional loaves.

3. Ezekiel Bread

While we’re still on the topic of sandwiches, I thought I should mention Ezekiel bread. What makes this variety of bread unique is the fact that it’s made from “sprouted” grains, which, put simply, are grains that have been allowed to germinate for some period prior to being milled into flour.

Some nutritionists, such as Melissa Grove of Healthline.com, argue that the sprouting process improves bread’s nutritional value. "Sprouted grains are higher in certain nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins and vitamin C,” says Grove. They also make lower-calorie breads, as grains absorb more water when they are sprouted.

If the evidence I’ve presented has you convinced that eating Ezekiel bread is the way to go, Trader Joe’s offers a few varieties for you to choose from. Some of the offerings are cinnamon raisin, sesame, and reduced-sodium.

I will warn you in advance that Ezekiel bread tastes nothing like the soft, milled loaves to which you are most likely accustomed. Its texture is rough, with a chewier grain and drier feel on the tongue. That’s not to say it’s bad—it just might take some getting used to.

I've been eating these delicious breadsticks since I was a kid, and I'm delighted to report that they haven't changed a bit.

I've been eating these delicious breadsticks since I was a kid, and I'm delighted to report that they haven't changed a bit.

4. Garlic and Cheese Breadsticks

I distinctly remember that when I was growing up, there was always at least one bag of Trader Joe’s breadsticks present in the house at any given moment. If our supply was running low, my mom would run out to pick up more, and at the time, I just figured that was the way all families did it.

Years later, while browsing the shelves of my university’s local Trader Joe’s, I came face-to-face with the same breadsticks I remembered so clearly from my childhood. I was shocked to see that they were still around—most of my childhood favorites had been replaced by newer, flashier brands long ago—but at the same time, their continued success made sense: They’re a reliable, convenient, and great-tasting product, so it’s only logical that they would stay on the shelves for as long as demand for them persists. Enough about me, though. I recommend you let the breadsticks speak for themselves.

This low-fat, low-calorie shredded cheese is a great choice for those with high cholesterol who don't want to give up on dairy just yet.

This low-fat, low-calorie shredded cheese is a great choice for those with high cholesterol who don't want to give up on dairy just yet.

5. Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese

As foods go, few are more versatile than shredded mozzarella. You can use it to make pizza, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, salads, soups, and pasta—among other things—and even on its own, it makes a tasty snack.

In recent years, research has emerged supporting the claim that consuming full-fat cheese is correlated with increased levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the blood. This research, in addition to the rising popularity of "alkalizing" diets—whose origins and credibility are a subject for another article—has led many health-conscious consumers to seek out lower-fat alternatives to their favorite animal products.

Here’s where Trader Joe’s comes in. For years, they’ve offered a "lite" spin on traditional mozzarella cheese, selling a product from which much of the fat has been removed. By virtue of its low-fat content, Trader Joe’s mozzarella is low in calories as well. One 28-gram serving will net you a mere 45 calories—a 40 percent reduction from traditional mozzarella’s 80. This makes it an effective substitute for dieters who want to reduce their overall caloric intake to lose weight.

Comments

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 07, 2019:

On my way to check it out now!

That’s great to hear you had success with the scones. It’s the best feeling making good food for others and knowing they appreciate the effort you put in. Can’t wait to see the recipe on here :)

Funny you should mention warm beverages—I’m drinking tea as I type haha!

Liza from USA on March 07, 2019:

I'm glad to hear that Jill. I am in the middle of writing my scone recipe. I made scones yesterday. The result was pretty amazing considering it was my first attempt. My husband loved it! Naan is pretty easy to make, I have posted the recipe on my page. Check it out!

Have a cup of coffee later and enjoy your morning.

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 07, 2019:

Ah, I knew it! If only there were a Costco within walking distance of school... I miss that place, not gonna lie.

Oh cool, I’ve been wondering what naan bread is like homemade. My mom likes to buy hers from Ralph’s/Kroger’s, and it seems from the looks of it like it would be easy to make.

I relate. History and art are such deep subjects, I wish there were a wider market for people with experience studying them!

I do enjoy the humanities, but hesitate to pursue an advanced degree in them for worry of a lack of job opportunities when I graduate. I’ve got a knack for science and medicine, though, so I figure I can go that route for a career and do the more creative stuff on the side.

It always makes me happy to see the notification bell light up when you comment, Liz. It’s morning here in CA, and nobody’s really up yet to talk to. Even the dining hall isn’t open, haha!

Liza from USA on March 07, 2019:

You got it right! Ha-ha, my husband bought it from Costco, it's cheaper and last for a while. I also used the flour to make buns and naan bread. I agreed. Using basic ingredients for making a loaf of bread is better. Simple is better.

Physics? Ah man, I'm not good at it. I took that subject while I was in high school, then I realized I'm more a history/art student than Science. So, I had to change but, it was one of the best decision I have made back then.

That's great! Keep up the good work.

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 06, 2019:

How big? We talking Costco size? :P

Oh, nice! I’ve been meaning to ask someone with experience baking bread what recipes they like to use when making a traditional loaf. Is it just as easy as flour, salt, water, sugar, and yeast?

Those are good suggestions. I agree with you about preferring simple toppings—I think the cheese and sauce has good flavor on its own. I’ve heard great things said about basil on pizza for sure.

Yeah, but to be honest, I’m not stressing about them. Doing a bit of practice for physics every day (need to take the class for my major) has been good enough for me. I’m spending the rest of my time writing articles. I’m sure you understand how fun a hobby it is!

Liza from USA on March 06, 2019:

That was awesome. I wish I have had that kind of experience :) Ha- ha yea, I bought a big of flour to cope with my love of baking and making bread.

My husband and I not as picky when it comes to the toppings.

We both like simple toppings such as red and green bell peppers, olives, mushroom, basil, and cheese. It just depends on what type of pizza I'm making that day. By the way, I never used meat on the pizza.

Hey so you have finals coming up? I wish you all the best!

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 06, 2019:

3-4 cups of flour seems about right for two pies. I’ll keep that amount in mind. Though thinking about it, I might have to run to the store to get a bag—not sure if I have more than a cup at the moment in my dorm’s kitchen cupboard.

Yes, it is rather convenient ^^ I worked as a junior chef in the kitchens for a couple months last year, and it was amazing to see how the head cooks made and rolled out the dough. It was like a show on TV, haha, I got hooked watching them.

Yes, you’ve inspired me to make my own! Just need to push through finals and then I’ll have a week off to cook to my heart’s content.

What toppings would you suggest I add? I’m usually quite reserved. I’ll just add cheese and maybe some bell pepper. Haven’t experimented much with meats or other toppings.

Thank you! I wish you the same :)

Liza from USA on March 06, 2019:

Yea, I freeze the second half. Usually, I used 3-4 cups of flour to make the dough which ended with two medium-size pizzas.

Aah, no wonder you don't have to make it, you can get pizza every day :) College life, how I have missed it :)

But, you should try to make it your own, the quality and the taste is so much better.

Have a nice day, Jillian.

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 05, 2019:

Oh, and you freeze the second half? I hadn’t thought of doing that if that’s the case, usually I just make enough for one pizza every time. What a good idea—I imagine it saves time, too!

I haven’t actually had homemade pizza in the longest time, but I miss it! The dining hall at my college has pizza every day, 24/7, but it’s not the same in terms of quality, I think.

Liza from USA on March 05, 2019:

Agreed. I enjoy making/cooking stuff from scratch. Usually, when I make the dough, I divided into two equal size-balls so, I can save another dough for another time. Have you tried to make one?

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 05, 2019:

Ah, alright! Homemade dough is the best!

I would recommend it for convenience’s sake, but if you have time on your hands and enjoy rolling out dough from scratch (I know I do haha), then that would likely taste better and cost less.

Liza from USA on March 05, 2019:

Hi Jillian, your most welcome.

Yes, it becomes a habit to make the pizza crust at home :) Actually, I never bought the premade dough that Trader's Joe sells so, I never knew if it's good or bad.

Jillian Cameron (author) from CA on March 05, 2019:

Hey Liza, thanks for taking the time to read this article—your support means a lot.

I second the idea of making pizza. Do you usually prepare your own crust? I know TJ’s has three types of premade dough it sells, and I was wondering if you had experience using that.

Liza from USA on March 05, 2019:

I went to Trader's Joe a few times, as far as I can remember I went there to get their fresh produce. I think they have a better price than the other groceries stores. By the way, I love making pizza at home, so the shredded mozzarella cheese you listed might be the next item I'll buy. Thank you for sharing!