My Trader Joes Trip and the Inside Scoop on Their Labeling

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!

6 thoughts on “My Trader Joes Trip and the Inside Scoop on Their Labeling

  1. Yes, i was with you on this Trader Joes trip. Of course you got the last two strawberry Kiefer’s!! Oh well. I hve been drinking that for years (since early 1970,s) when athe only place you could find it was the “health food” stores, right alongside the Earth shoes! Haha If you go to Trader Joes don’t miss the frozen 3 pepper mix green, yellow and red peppers cut and frozen for only $1.69, a steal!

  2. I also have purchased the commercial Veggie Wash product in the past then found this on Tipnut.com

    Homemade Vegetable Wash: Recipes
    Homemade Produce Wash Recipe:
    1 cup water
    1 cup vinegar
    2 TBS baking soda
    2 TBS lemon juice

    Directions:

    Mix ingredients then pour in clean spray bottle. Spray fresh vegetables & fruit generously. Sit for 5 minutes then rinse off well.
    Note: Make sure to first mix ingredients in deep container since there will be some fizzing from the baking soda & vinegar.
    There are also these Fresh Fruit & Veggies Washing Tips:

    Sprinkle wet fruit and veggies with baking soda then gently scrub and rinse. This cleaning method safely removes dirt and residue off produce. Mentioned previously on this page: 50 Quick Tips For The Kitchen.
    A mix of 50/50 vinegar and water sprayed on fruit & veggies also works as a good produce cleaner. Let sit for a few minutes before washing off.
    Fruit & Veggie Soak Recipe:

    1/2 cup vinegar
    3 TBS salt

    Mix ingredients to dissolve salt then add to sinkful of water (stir to mix). Soak fruit and veggies for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove, pat dry.

  3. OMG, I too LOVE Trader Joe’s!! It’s a bit of a drive for me so I don’t go as often as I’d like but whenever I go it’s such a special treat 🙂

    One of the most AWESOME things I’ve found there is “Better’n Peanut Butter.” I LOVE PB, but even the healthier versions in stores have a LOT of fat. This tastes absolutely DELICIOUS…it is a bit expensive but so freaking good you won’t care on the splurge once in a while…LOL!!

    Two Tbsp. = 100 calories with only 2g of fat!! Yes, that is 2g of NON-SATURATED fat per TWO Tbsp. of this amazing stuff! Oh, and to go with it, I also found “TJ’s Organic Superfruit Spread”…a blend of morello cherry, red grape, blueberry and pomegranate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get nearly enough of the “superfruits” in my diet so I feel like at least this helps a little…AND it’s also delish!!

    I’m always SO surpised to see how much cheaper they are on certain things…even cheaper than Walmart! Organic cereals, Kashi and lots of other things.

  4. I would give my eye teeth to have a Trader Joes closer to my home. As it is I have to drive about 1 1/2 hours to get to the closest one, which is near Philadelphia, so I don’t go nearly often enough. I have a number of “favorites” that I buy from them. They have a product called Island Soyaki that makes a marvelous marinade for chicken. I first tried it as a sample at the store mixed with coleslaw, peppers, pea pods and almonds and loved the taste. I also love their Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar, and their Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. On of my favorite aisles at TJ is the nut and dried fruits. I always buy several bags of their toasted, slivered almonds when I got there and keep them in the freezer. LOVE TJ’s!!

    As for the grass fed/free range meat, this is something I would like to try. I live in Lancaster County and am surrounded by farms, and I believe some of the farms sell grass fed beef, I just need to get on the ball and buy some!

    • Oh yeah, their Island Soyaki is wonderful! I love to marinate my chicken in the island soyaki and serve it with their chicken dumplings and chicken egg rolls. Delish! I’ll have to try their garlic mustard sauce! Thanks for sharing!

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