Short on time for cooking during the week? Here are 22 items that will make life easier so you can still get a healthy, delicious, and satisfying meal without all of the unnecessary fuss.
Produce & Refrigerated
- Tofu ($2.49) – High-quality plant protein doesn’t get much more affordable or versatile than extra-firm tofu. This particular one is low in added moisture so it doesn’t need to be pressed before cooking.
- Peeled Garlic ($1.99) – garlic is a staple ingredient in most kitchens but can take time to peel, chop, clean up, etc. Save time with this pre-peeled version without missing the freshness like you do with the jarred stuff.
- Chicken Poblano Ravioli ($3.69) – this is the only convenience entreé I included on the list because it’s relatively low in sodium (370 mg); there’s a nice dose of fiber (5 grams) and protein (12 grams). Add vegetables and your favorite sauce for a delicious 15-minute meal.
- Riced Cauliflower ($2.49) – cauliflower is still hot you guys! This product is finely shredded into a “rice” shape for a really convenient way to include more cruciferous vegetables in a meal. I use it in 15-minute fried rice (<– find the recipe in my vegetarian meal prep guide).
- Washed & Shredded Kale ($2.69) – kale is one of my favorite vegetables to sauté and add to scrambled eggs. This is a major time-saver.
Spices & Dry Goods
- Canned Anchovies ($1.59) – I put anchovies on nearly every pizza I make at home, and also love adding it to pasta for a salty and savory twist (with some awesome nutritional benefits as a bonus). I also love how affordable this is.
- Farro ($1.79) – farro cooks in 10 minutes and makes the perfect base for a grain bowl or side dish.
- Israeli Couscous ($1.99) – quick-cooking with an awesome chewy texture. It cooks in just 12 minutes.
- Seasoning Blends: Mushroom Umami ($2.99), Chile Lime ($1.99), Everything-But-the-Bagel ($1.99). – TJ’s is famous for their creative seasoning blends (here’s a bunch of ways to use EBTB). The cool thing about these is that they take an average meal or snack over the top. Perfect if you don’t have time to layer flavors.
- Hemp Hearts ($5.99) – these are my secret weapon when I want to add some protein and staying power to breakfast (like in this smoothie!). The nutrition facts are impressive and they add a nice textural component too.
- Brown Rice ($3.49) – brown rice is great, but it takes FOR-EV-ER to cook. The instant pot makes it quicker, but these frozen packets (there’s three in each box) cook in just 3 minutes in the microwave.
- Mexican-Style Fire-Roasted Corn with Cotija Cheese ($3.29) – this corn is super delicious. I love that I can add a simple piece of fish and side of greens and call it a meal.
- Shelled Edamame ($1.99) – it’s always nice when you can find shelled edamame for a quick and hearty protein – just heat and serve!
- Mango Chunks ($2.49) & Blueberries ($1.99) – TJ’s has a nice assortment of frozen fruit and I find their prices to be really reasonable. Grab a couple of bags as a backup for when you run out of fresh, or for smoothies of course.
Snacks & Fun Extras
- Fig & Olive Crisps ($3.99) – these fun crackers are so flavorful and have a great texture. They make a fun and unique snack when paired with a sharp cheese and some fruit.
- Unsalted Dry Toasted Sliced Almonds ($3.49) – did you know that toasting nuts increases their flavor significantly? Buy them pre-toasted and you can skip that extra step once home. You’ll want to sprinkle them on everything!
- Pepita Salsa ($2.99) – besides snacking, a unique salsa can take rice and beans from boring to interesting.
- Balsamic Glaze ($2.99) – making balsamic glaze from scratch can be time-consuming and if you burn it, you’ll end up with a mess of a saucepan (not that I would know). Keep this bottle in your refrigerator and you’ll always be able to add a fancy finishing touch to a dish, like these proscuitto wrapped peaches.
- Harissa ($2.69) – this is a recent favorite product that adds serious kick! Use it as a condiment for anything Mediterranean. My favorite is this Orzo Chickpea Bowl.
What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s items? Share away in the comments!
Want more nutrition tips & recipes?
Subscribe to my bi-weekly emails. I'll recap what's new on the blog, plus share exclusive healthy living tips and resources!