The Trader Joes Healthy Meal Plan

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

Let me start by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post for Trader Joe’s. :)

If I had things my way, I’d probably only shop at the farmers market and my local co-op, but with some recent career changes, life feels busier than ever. And you know what this means? It means a lot of shopping at Trader Joe’s.

A couple of times a month I get emails from readers with questions about how to make healthier decisions at the grocery store. I also frequently get asked to create meal plans with servings. This isn’t something I normally do, but since I’ve been focusing on my own food budget lately and doing a lot of shopping at Trader Joe’s, I thought this would be the perfect chance to create a Trader Joe’s Healthy Meal Plan!

In this post I’ll show you what my typical shopping list for the week has been looking like and the recipes I make. These recipes are a mix of some basic prep and pretty simple cooking. Since I’ve been tight on time lately, my goal has been to keep meal prep and cooking time under 30 minutes per meal so these recipes are definitely great for busy folks! Each section shows you the amount of servings along with the total price and price per serving.

I typically only shop and cook for myself so I will do 1 – 2 shopping trips a week and do batch cooking usually twice a week to make sure I always have fresh food on hand. If you are cooking for 2 or a larger family, you can adjust the recipes and multiply the items by how many additional servings you need for the week. Make sense?

So let’s get to it!

 

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

I opt for a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies and my default breakfast lately has been my Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs. I’ve adapted the recipe a bit and usually leave out the leeks and sub in bell peppers so feel free to adapt the recipe to your tastes. Since I’m usually in a rush in the morning, I’ll prep my breakfasts for Monday through Wednesday on Sunday evening and then do a second round of prep on Wednesday evening for the rest of the week. This saves me time and ensures that I get a healthy start each morning!  If you don’t eat eggs, feel free to substitute legumes or tofu and make a veggie scramble instead.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Breakfast Shopping List:

Organic Free-Range Eggs: 2 cartons – $4.19 each x2 = $8.38 total

1 bag of organic sweet potatoes – $3.99

1 organic yellow onion – $.69

1 package organic red bell peppers – $2.99

Breakfast total: $16.05

7 servings = $2.29 per serving

 

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

I keep my snacks pretty simple and like some sort of veggie with a protein-based dip. I rotate between almond butter, peanut butter, hummus, and my vegan walnut and mushroom pate dip.

Snacks Shopping List:

2 packages organic celery – $2.29 x 2 = 4.58

1 jar peanut butter – $2.99

Snack total = $7.57

7 servings = $1.08 per serving

 

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

Now that the weather’s warming up a bit, I’ve been throwing together simple salads for lunches. The prep is quick and as long as there’s a hearty protein source and some healthy fats, I feel pretty satiated. Some of my favorite salad recipes include my Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken (paleo), Roasted Fennel and Spring Vegetable Salad (vegan), and a simple Massaged Kale Salad (paleo/vegan).

This is just a typical list of some items I use to create my weekly salads. Depending on your dietary needs and preferences, it’s easy to add some simple grilled chicken, tuna, legumes, or tempeh to the salad to make it a bit heartier. Since I usually use avocados as my fat source, I keep the dressing pretty simple and add a dash of plain balsamic vinegar.

Lunch Shopping List:

Organic Spring Mix – $1.99 x 2 – $3.98

1 bunch broccoli – $1.79

1 can organic kidney beans – $1.19

1 can organic white beans – $1.19

1 yellow onion – $.69

1 bell pepper (from the package purchased for breakfast)

1 avocado (from the bag purchased for green smoothies)

Vinegar (from the pantry)

1 pound organic chicken (not pictured, optional) $6.99

Lunch total = $17.33

4 servings = $4.33 per serving

 

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

I always have a green smoothie as a pre-workout or post-workout snack. My recipe uses cucumber, lemon, avocado, greens, and some coconut water to create a delicious creamy and healthy treat. Trader Joe’s does now sell kale, but it comes pre-chopped in bags and I’ve had pretty bad luck with it already being spoiled by the time I get it home. If I can help it, I’ll usually try to grab a few fresh bunches somewhere else.

Recipe: Fruit-Free Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Shopping List:

1 bag avocados – $3.99 for bag

1 organic english cucumber – $2.29

1 bag organic lemons – $1.79

2 cartons coconut water – $2.99 x 2 = $5.98

2 bunches organic kale (not pictured) – $2.99 x 2 = $5.98

Smoothie total = $20.03

7 servings = $2.86 per serving

 

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

The Trader Joe's Healthy Meal Plan: Recipes for Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, & Gluten-Free Diets

Finally onto dinner! I’ve been obsessed with my spiralizer this year and have come to rely on it for a lot of my meals. If you haven’t heard of spiralizing zucchini before, this is going to change your life. (You can check out my tutorials here: How to Spiralize Zucchini and How to Make Zucchini Fettuccine.)

And now I have a confession… I no longer make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch! I used to use canned organic tomatoes to create a simple red sauce, but ever since I found TJ’s tomato basil spaghetti sauce, I’ve started using the pre-made stuff. The main reason for this is because I actually trust the ingredient list and it’s the first pre-made sauce I’ve ever found that did not contain some source of added sugar. Woohoo!

This dinner is easy to create with beef or lentils, depending on your dietary preferences. Since I now use the pre-made sauce, you’ll find the ingredient lists on the recipes below differ slightly from the shopping list, but the method for cooking is still pretty similar. Enjoy!

Recipe: Zucchini Spaghetti with Beef Bolognese or Zucchini Spaghetti with Lentil Marinara

2 packages organic zucchini – $2.99 x 2 = $5.98

1 jar organic tomato basil spaghetti sauce – $2.29

1 pound organic ground beef – $6.99 (or sub 2 packages of pre-cooked lentils to create the vegetarian/vegan version)

Dinner total = $15.26

4 servings = $3.82 per serving

 

What are your Trader Joe’s favorites?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    This is an awesome post! I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s and after doing a month long paleo trial run, I’ve decided to try to try to keep with it. Though I love cooking elaborate meals sometimes, it’s not practical on a day to day basis. I love the simplicity of your recipes. Totally doable for someone with an insane graduate student schedule like myself. I’m excited to try some of these.

  2. says

    What a great post Sonnet!
    My best friend , Lisa, works for Trader Joe’s and she loves it. She swears by the quality of their products.
    I love the ideas and recipes in your blog post.

    Unfortunately, there is no Trader Joe’s on the island we live, but I love it when Lisa sends me care packages full of cool Trader Joe’s products.

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas!

    Cheers..
    Ice

  3. says

    Thanks so much for this post! I barely wandered into the TJ in my area and didn’t know what to buy! These recipes will come in handy in the future :)

  4. Jodi says

    Hi Sonnet. They just opened a TJ’s very near to my home (THANK GOODNESS!) and I’m starting your meal plan today! Thank you for providing vegetarian suggestions as well. Eating my sweet potato hash and eggs as I type this! My question is: can we have ANYTHING else outside of your list? Coffee? Fruit? I can’t believe I’m going to be eating clean and non-processed for 5 days! I need to do this! Thanks in advance!

    • Sonnet says

      Hi Jodi! Of course – you’re welcome to eat other snacks, foods, or drinks that feel good to you. These were just my suggestions and what I typically eat during the week, but it’s completely open to adaptations and additions of your own. Congrats on getting a TJ’s! I love that store! :)

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