I was able to make a trip to Trader Joes today, my favorite grocery store for healthy eats. It is a little out-of-the-way, so I don’t get to go as often as I would like, but Trader Joes offers the best of both worlds: healthy and cheap! I stocked up with healthy food for the week and got several items that I will be eating as part of the 150 Healthy Foods in 150 Days Challenge. I spoke with the manager there to get the low down on the quality of their standard of quality on their beef, chicken and dairy products. OK, so I got the inside scoop for you guys…..turns out that you have to be careful about selecting “natural” products from some national retailers because the government does not have a mandate on the requirements for labeling an item “natural”. But, Trader Joes has a higher standard when it comes to what they will label “organic” and “natural”. When their product is labeled natural or organic you can be assured that the animal is not fed any antibiotics or growth hormones and the animal is raised on a vegetarian diet.
On a disappointing note, Trader Joes does not sell “grass-fed beef”, but they do offer a great selection of “organic” and “free-range”. I bought a natural, organic, free-range whole chicken to make for dinner this week. I also bought their Applewood Farms turkey, which is antibiotic, hormone and nitrate-free. Many foods, especially cured meats such as bacon and hot dogs, use nitrates to preserve color and maintain microbial safety. Nitrate is harmless, but it can convert to nitrite, which can form nitrosamines, a powerful cancer-causing chemical, in your body. Whenever possible, look for nitrate-free preserved meats.
I also bought lentils, which I’ve never had. It is one of the 150 healthiest foods and it has the highest fiber content of any legume, so I had to get it. Plus, one our fellow bloggers, who is following this blog, provided me with a recipe for a tacos with lentils and I definitely want to try it out!
Each time I go to Trader Joes I have to get their strawberry Keifer because it is my daughter’s favorite drink! Did you know that you can use Keifer to substitute oil in baked goods? Keifer is on the list of 150 Healthiest Foods, so check out my post later in the week for a great recipe using Keifer.
The prices at Trader Joes are pretty reasonable, but some items are out of whack. For example, they had spring mix and fresh baby spinach for only 1.99 a bag! That is cheaper than Wal-Mart. But, their strawberries were almost $5.00 for a small container, so I passed. Harris Teeter often runs specials for 2/5 on strawberries, so I’ll take advantage of that deal. Overall they are pretty reasonable, I got a weeks worth of groceries for $123.68.
Oh yeah, I also got something new called a “Fruit & Vegetable Wash”. Has anyone ever used this? It says that it is proven to remove pesticides, waxes and chemicals. I figure if I’m making the extra effort to eat healthy and buy organic, I should invest in a cleanser that will remove those harmful substances from my fresh fruit.
Got some favorite products you buy each week? Please share!