This week I took my $70 grocery budget and went to the one and only Trader Joe’s. This specialty store isn’t my first choice of grocers here in Chicago. Their produce is almost always more expensive than my local supermarket, Mariano’s, and they don’t often have everything I need. But I know that for many people Trader Joe’s is the best option when it comes to healthy, affordable food so this week I challenged myself to only shop at TJ’s while staying within my budget. The outcome? Success!
“Healthy” and “Clean Eating” mean something different to everyone. To me, I define these terms as eating whole, unprocessed foods, focusing mainly on vegetables, fruit, meat, and fats like avocados and nuts. If something comes in a package, the ingredient list should be short with all items I could find in my own kitchen if I were going to make it from scratch.
So without further ado, here are the clean ingredient items I bought at Trader Joe’s. This, along with items we already have in our pantry and some leftovers from last week, will feed Ty and I for the next 7 days.
Clean Eating at Trader Joe’s (on a budget!)
- Kale $1.99/10oz bag
- Cauliflower $2.49/head
- Red Pepper $.99 each
- Green Pepper $.89 each
- Sweet Onion $.79 each
- Lemons $.49 each ($.98/2 small)
- Grape Tomatoes $2.49/lb
- Avocados $2.99/4 small
- Bananas $.19 each ($.95/5 medium)
- Mushrooms $1.79/10oz
- Whole Chicken $1.49/lb ($7.54 total)
- Chicken Legs $1.49/lb ($2.61 total)
- Ground Turkey $2.99/lb
- Sweet Italian Pork Sausage $3.99/lb
- Ingredients: pork, water, sea salt, evaporated cane juice (sugar), spices, spice extractives, paprika
- Note: This isn’t the cleanest sausage, especially considering the sugar, but the price was much cheaper than other pork, beef, or packaged chicken sausages.
Dairy & Refrigerated
- Eggs $2.69/dozen
- Whole Milk $3.99/half gallon
- Plain Greek Yogurt $2.99/16oz tub
- Ingredients: grade a pasteurized skim milk, cream, live & active cultures
- Note: I usually buy full fat dairy because it’s less processed and contains all the natural nutrients, but Trader Joe’s full fat Greek yogurt had less protein and more sugar per cup than the low fat variety.
- Whole Wheat Pitas $1.49/4-8″ pitas
- Ingredients: 100% whole wheat, water, sesame seeds, wheat gluten, yeast, salt, distilled vinegar
- Raw Cashew Pieces $5.49/lb
- Ingredients: cashews
- Note: These are cheaper than buying Trader Joe’s whole cashews.
- Coconut Oil $5.99/16oz jar
- Ingredients: organic unrefined coconut oil
- Note: Unrefined coconut oil is much less processed than refined.
- Natural Creamy Peanut Butter $2.49/16oz jar
- Ingredients: peanuts
- Note: Trader Joe’s also sells salted natural creamy peanut butter as well as crunchy salted and unsalted natural peanut butter.
- Fine Sea Salt $1.59/26oz container
- Ingredients: sea salt
- Note: I like to buy course salt to refill my grinder at home, but the price difference between the fine ground sea salt and the course Himalayan sea salt (with grinder) was significant.
Total Spent: $64.41
Curious what I made with these groceries? Read my Trader Joe’s Meal Plan!
Don’t shop at Trader Joe’s? Check out these stores!