Five Healthy Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.