Trader Joe’s is a great resource for people looking for convenient and affordable food that is diabetes-friendly and healthy.
The first Trader Joe’s was opened in 1967, and the business has grown to over 500 stores across the United States. They are known for their affordable branded products and offer great customer service, with a full refund guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase. The atmosphere is light and friendly with store managers referred to as “captains” and employees as “crew members”. Their Hawaiian shirts and friendly service make this a place you want to go back to.
I have a Trader Joe’s within walking distance of my house but do not take advantage of it enough. There are delicious frozen meals, fresh fruit galore, and tasty desserts that won’t put you over budget. Every time I return, I see more low-carb options! They also offer great wine and fresh flowers, making it a great source for more than just dinner.
I reached out to the diabetes online community and the Diabetes Daily forum members to get their recommendations on what to try next. Trader Joe’s is really worth a trip! Here are my top choices:
1. Turkey Burgers
These turkey burgers are made with a combination of white and dark meat, rosemary, and salt, and contain zero carbs and a whopping 22 grams of protein. They are also extremely convenient as you can cook them without defrosting them. These burgers come in a pack of 4 (think ahead, make two and throw the second over salad for lunch) and cost only $3.29, not much for a few cheap meals. Be sure to check out their salmon and shrimp burgers too!
2. Spaghetti Squash Nests
Gluten-free and vegan, this is a great alternative to traditional pasta, which is laden with carbs. These taste absolutely delicious and are light in flavor, so perfect to add your favorite sauce and protein of choice. Coming in at only 6g net carbs and 40 calories per serving, this is the perfect quick noodle fix to keep in your freezer!
3. Cauliflower Gnocchi
Don’t be fooled by the fact it is made with 75% cauliflower, it tastes like classic potato gnocchi. This delicious entree is made for Trader Joe’s in Italy, giving it a little more clout. For 16g net carbs, you can enjoy an authentic tasting pasta-like dish.
4. Cauliflower Thins
This is a terrific gluten-free and low-carb alternative to wraps, rolls, and sandwich bread. It only contains 1 gram of net carbs yet packs 9 grams of protein, which will help hold you over until dinnertime. And make sure to get creative with this, these doughy thins can be turned into pizzas, tacos shells, and crisped into chips for your favorite sauce or dip.
5. Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese Bites
These bites are made from butternut squash, macaroni, a blend of cheddar and gouda cheese, and some seasonal spices. They are fried and make for a delicious appetizer or side. Coming in at only 18g carbs, this is a unique treat you can definitely sink your teeth into.
6. Egg Frittata with Swiss Cheese and Cauliflower
This is one of my favorite recommendations, to which a store employee agreed, as she excitedly told me she eats them two or three times a day! Coming in at only 10 grams of carbs and an impressive 25 grams of protein for two, this is a great low-carb, high-protein way to start your day that will keep you satiated until your lunch break.
7. Chewy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Bars
With only 12g net carbs, this Trader Joe’s protein bar rivals its competitors in taste and in price too. It can be tough to find good (and affordable) lower-carb snacks to eat on the go. This great granola bar packs 10 grams of protein, a healthy afternoon snack for kids or anyone else that won’t mess with your blood sugar.
8. Organic Freeze-Dried Berry Medley
If you are looking for something sweet without a ton of sugar to add to your smoothies, shakes, yogurts, and such, look no further. One entire bag only contains 29g of carbs (along with 9g of protein), so you can feel free to use this generously to add some sweet flavor and healthy goodness to any of your favorite recipes.
9. Jicama Wraps
Jicama is a secret low-carb weapon, a root vegetable with a clean and mild flavor. These wraps are tasty and healthy substitutions for taco-sized tortillas. They’re incredibly light: just 15 calories and zero fat, making this a perfect holder for whatever protein and veggies you choose!
10. Cauliflower Pizza Crust
This low-carb, high-fiber alternative to the real thing will keep your blood sugars stable and is quite tasty. Top this base with any of your favorite pizza toppings to make a delicious meal for you or your family.
This list just scratches the surface of what healthy finds Trader Joe’s has to offer. Please keep in mind that their offerings do change seasonally and while some of these are not linked to their website, I spoke with a manager who confirmed they are all still offered. Please be sure to also check out their dips, cheese spreads, and fresh produce.