Kid-Friendly Food at Trader Joe's

This week, I am excited to feature a fellow foodie friend of mine, Ashlee Rowland. She has generously written the following post for us on kid-friendly foods at Trader Joe’s. She also created an easy shopping list for you to use when at Trader Joe’s to help you avoid some of the impulse buys and instead, optimize what is in your cart with some of her top picks! I know you will enjoy the simple yet smart ideas Ashlee shares, especially as we get into the Back to School season and need nourishing ideas on hand.

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Ashlee is from Alaska and is a sustainability and wellness travel blogger. She is a Holistic Nutritionist and dedicates her time to simplifying wellness, even on the go. You’ll find her traveling the world in her sprinter van with her husband and rescue pup, Gilligan! Be sure to go say hello — @simplholistic!


This downloadable guide to kid friendly food at Trader Joe's is perfect for this week’s shopping trip. Best of all, it has a lunchbox approved section that makes packing lunches for school and field trips effortless. 


Kid-Friendly Finds at Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is packed with snacks, meals, produce and cultural finds. While I love TJs, not everything is healthy there... actually, a lot isn’t healthy. So, I created this guide to show you my well vetted favorites from TJs. Everything in this guide and blog post is gluten-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free. You’ll learn about actually healthy finds you can feed yourself and family with confidence.

What to look for

  • Organic

  • Grass-fed

  • Pasture raised

  • Pesticide-free

  • No color added

  • No flavor added

  • Whole food ingredients

What to avoid/limit

  • Refined sugar

  • Artificial sugar

  • Sugar alcohol (erythritol, maltitol, etc)

  • Maltodextrin

  • Caramel color

  • Artificial flavors/colors

  • soy/corn/canola oil

  • Conventional animal products 

A rule of thumb

Most of the time when you’re in Trader Joes, the premade meals are likely to be filled with added ingredients; most of which you’re better off avoiding or limiting. There are - of course - exceptions to this like a few of their TJs dressings, dips, bars and coconut milk. I will talk more about this below. The biggest thing you can do is read read read labels. Don’t go by “natural” or “healthy” labels on the front, they aren’t regulated terms and do not mean as much as they are marketed to. 

I like to look for simple ingredients so, if I am buying chicken I look for: organic chicken, sea salt and seasonings. Rather than this: chicken, maltodextrin, soybean oil, corn starch, seasoning, canola oil. Choose whole foods over packaged foods and you’ll be one step ahead, always.

 
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Kid friendly food at Trader Joe's

Now, I get it, your kids may want the sweet treats, chocolate ice cream and bread, but you can choose to offer those less often, opt for healthier alternatives, or make these items at home with them. If you have the time to make bread, you can buy almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, baking soda and oil from Trader Joe’s. Maybe they want candy? Buy cacao powder, coconut oil, cashew butter and maple syrup and before you know it you’ll have healthy chocolate cups they helped make! Plus, they are both school lunchbox friendly. Just swap the nut butter for sunbutter if you school doesn’t allow nuts!

In a perfect world, you would have all the time in the world to make bread and chocolate cups but this is real life! Trader Joe’s luckily has healthier options for some of the items I listed above. For instance, you can buy their sourdough bread if you don’t have the time to scratch make it at home. Their freezer section is filled with fruits, vegetables, fish and premade meals that *can* be nourishing. You want to look for healthier items like Cauliflower Crust, Cauliflower Gnocchi, Organic Vegetable Foursome with New York Steak or the Organic Superfood Pilaf. Refer to the list above for ingredients I personally avoid.

Products I love (in the guide) with pictures

  • Organic ketchup

  • Plantain chips

  • Organic oats 

  • Organic Valencia Peanut Butter

  • Grass fed Collagen

  • Organic raw almonds (heavily sprayed food)

  • Coconut aminos

  • Coconut milk (one of the few brands without gums!)

  • Organic tahini

  • Organic chicken

  • Organic applesauce

 
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Here are a few of my favorite recipes I’ve made with 100% of the ingredients from Trader Joe’s, woo hoo for only one shopping trip!

Almond Butter Energy Balls

Overnight Oats

Whole Foods Frittata

 
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To get your hands on tried & true Trader Joe's products that kids can't get enough of, download the free grocery list. Perfect for school lunches, after school meals and field trips, this list will help give you simple ideas to get started with from Trader Joe’s. Plus, they're all gluten-free and simple to prepare at home!