Normally, my husband and I love to support our local farmer's markets and health food shops. But sometimes, a trip to Trader Joe's is just plain nostalgic. I'm already counting down the days to their Autumn products release. If you're local to North County San Diego, and looking for a fantastic health foods store, visit Cream of the Crop or Frazier Farms Market.
In addition to convenience // cost // and the fact that my husband LOVES free coffee samples... we love that Trader's treats their employees well, and has so many small portions.
While often at the forefront of food trends, TJ's is surprisingly aware of health-boosting food and drinks. Below, I list out my current favorite items. (Some of these may not be available in your town depending on the product).
1. Health Aide Kombucha
Why I love it: Just like GT's Kombucha (also availble at TJ's), Health Aide is low in sugar and high in gut health promoting probiotics and comes in amazingly unique flavors. My favorites are California Grape and Pink Lady Apple.
2. Organic Flax Seed Meal
Why I love it: Ground flax has such a mild flavor, yet BOLD health benefits. I add it to oatmeal, baked goods, and granola. It contributes fiber and omega-3 fatty acids to everything! Be sure to store your bag tightly sealed in the freezer to prevent oxidation.
3. Sacha Inchi Seeds
Why I love it: Helloooo, healthy fats! Sacha inchi seeds are among the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation around the whole body. These nuts are delightfully rich, satisfying, and crispy. Grab a handful for a boost of protein on-the-go.
4. Dried Tart Cherries
Why I love it: Tart cherries are the richest source of melatonin of any fruit, helping you sleep better. One study in the Journal of Medicine reported on average, participants with insomnia drank 8 oz. of tart cherry juice 2x/day for 2 weeks, and slept (on average) an additional +84 minutes per night. Also, they're delicious! Way better than any gummy candy I've ever had. *Disclaimer: these have sugar added, limit intake to 1/4 cup at a time, or mix with nuts.
5. Organic, Fair-Trade Belgian Dark Chocolate
Why I love it: Rich, dark, and so versatile. Great on it's own, or paired with other treats, fruits, nuts, or wine, this chocolate is only $1.99 and totally satisfies the craving.
6. Cashew Butter
Why I love it: Cashew butter is good. on. everything. I have tried it on or in: sweet breads like banana / zucchini, ice cream, crackers, smoothies, chia pudding, cashew yogurt, the list goes on. Cashews are rich in tryptophan, the the mood-boosting precursor to melatonin. A diet rich in tryptophan can improve motivation, sleep quality, and reduce depression.
7. Raw Coconut Sugar
Why I love it: As an alternative to refined sugar, this swap is a perfect 1:1 ratio. Use it in baking, sauces, sprinkling on oatmeal or in coffee. Because of it's rich caramel color and flavor, it can also be used in place of brown sugar.
8. Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Why I love it: If you're going to use any balsamic vinegar, this should be the one. My husband and I like to dress our salads very simply, with just EVOO + this balsamic + freshly cracked black pepper + pink salt (+ nutritional yeast + hemp seeds for a little extra jazz). You can make a reduction sauce by simmering about 1/2 cup of balsamic on low until it thickens --> and drizzle over salmon, portobello mushrooms, bruschetta, caprese salad, roasted strawberries with ice cream....you get the point.
9. Smoked Paprika
Why I love it: Smoked paprika adds such a deep, rustic flavor to chili, sweet potato fries, walnut taco crumbles, and more. Especially for those of you on a plant-based diet, this flavor really lends something to add heartiness to your earthy meals.
10. Mixed Medley Cherry Tomatoes
Why I love it: These little babes are so sweet and easy to snack on, plain or partnered with a flavorful dip. They're the perfect bite-sized morsels to add to salads, stir-fry, OR get real funky and make a tomato onion jam.
What are your favorite items at Trader Joe's? This post is not sponsored, just promoted by my love for sharing and receiving nutritional tid-bits and advice to make my plate a little more delicious, and a whole lot more purposeful.