Winter has finally crept up into reality, and that means hibernation is in full effect in our old Racine coach house. Apple spice candles? Check. Apple TV? Check. But the most important thing to have at home during Chicago winter? A kitchen stocked with food.
When it comes to grocery shopping, everyone has their preferred process. That could mean making a detailed list of just the things you need to save money or waiting until your fridge is empty, your stomach is growling, inevitably ending up with 5 containers of pre-made sushi. Whatever your strategy- stand by it, grocery warriors.
Growing up in Ohio, ‘Kroger’s or bust’ was instilled in me from a young age. Occasionally my family would go to Monnette’s to support a local business and get some fresh veggies, but that’s about as adventurous as our shopping got. When I finally moved out of the college dorms and my sorority house, it became seemingly more difficult to decide between six packs of Labatt Blue and having a healthy stocked fridge. Now that I’ve been on my own for two years and have been actively taking an interest in my body (including what I put into it), I’ve come to learn the ins and outs of getting deals when it comes to shopping healthy. That being said, my preferred store happens to be Trader Joe’s.
When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck in a healthy way, Trader Joe’s just can’t be beat. As my go-to grocery store for the past few years, I’ve begun to acquire a list of items that I purchase almost everytime I make the trip.
Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip
I consider my roommate and myself dip connoisseurs. We always like to grab a different dip every chance we get and this has become a regular guest in our fridge. Paired with soy sauce flavored crackers, it’s light enough to eat in bulk.
This avocado oil has quickly replaced Trader Joe’s Sunflower Oil in our kitchen. Not only is this the healthier option across the boards to common olive oil, it also is much better for frying.
Chili & Lime Seasoning
Julia and I go through spices like we’re being paid for it. Our spice cupboard looks like Wrigleyville after a Cubs game. While we’ve usually been rainbow peppercorn and cayenne fanatics, this seasoning has replaced them both.
Savory Thins Crackers
These were introduced to me about a year ago(Thanks Lisa Schell!) and I have had them stocked in my cupboard ever since. I don’t know if it’s the saltiness or the fact that they go with just about anything, but I tend to buy these in threes.
Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon
Those who know me know that protein is where I usually fall short on a nutrition scale, but this bacon makes it easy to get meat into my diet. It’s very thick and perfect for wrapping around dates!
A wise pinterest graphic once said “I only like pasta and like 4 people.” This is the perfect ravioli for those with a sweet tooth. I try to pair it with just a little alfredo and veggies (asparagus and brussel sprouts are my go-to.)
While Trader Joe’s frozen section has several winners, this is usually what I use to meal prep for the week. It’s practically dummy proof to make and two bags gives me 4 tupperware bowls for the week.
This was my first purchase at Trader Joe’s so it deserved a shout out. Whether you’re into healthy clean-eating or not, these little guys are absolutely addicting.
Hot & Sweet Chili Jam
One of the first grocery trips we made after moving into our place in Lincoln Park, Julia and I grabbed this just to try it out. We’ve come to find out that Hot & Sweet Chili Jam + cream cheese + Wheat Thins = what life is all about.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Burrata, Prosciutto and Arugula Flatbread
Butternut squash risotto.
Do you have a one stop shop go-to grocery store? What’re your favorite items at Trader Joe’s? What are you willing to splurge on at different higher-end stores? Comment below!