Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Each Whole30 prep involves a field trip across the mighty Mississippi to St. Louis to visit Trader Joe's (and Whole Foods if I'm not sick of humanity yet). Five years ago, this was a MANDATORY excursion. You couldn't really complete a Whole30 without visits to these two stores. But since my first Whole30 in 2014, the grocery game has CHANGED. You can absolutely complete a Whole30 by visiting only Walmart. Not kidding. That place has upped their game. More to come about that in a future post. So more out of habit than necessity, my sister-in-law and I jumped in the Pilot, grabbed some DD and headed over to the big city to grab our goodies.
I am a strange combination of frugal and foodie. So while its hard not to buy ALL the compliant offerings at TJ's, I was thrilled to be able to check many things off my list as "can-buy-later-at-ALDI".
Ok, let's talk about the frozen food section. While the deli/fresh food/produce sections of TJ's and Whole Foods typically get a lot of love on these type of lists, I cannot justify the butternut squash zig zags. I'm a freezer meal girl. ALL THE WAY. I have THREE freezers. Two attached to refrigerators and one free-standing deep freeze. I live in the smack middle of the country and live up to the reputation.
If you only buy one thing at Trader Joe's, let it be the Chili Lime Chicken Burgers. There is nothing better than opening your freezer and seeing a box of these sitting there ready to save your unprepared rear end. They are raw, so you actually need to cook them, which makes an unholy mess of spattering fat, but let me tell you. Top these bad boys with a fried egg, some homemade guac (more on that later) and a side of roasted potatoes and your hunger dragon will take a back seat for a couple hours. I bought three boxes.
The turkey burgers are new to me this year. Their only real flavor comes from rosemary, which isn't my current favorite seasoning, but for the price and the convenience, they were worth a shot. Stay tuned for a review!
I am stupid excited about the Shakshuka Starter. This is one of my favorite breakfast (or dinner!) recipes (especially with some crusty bread). I have tried to create this meal when hangry during a previous Whole30 and my husband can tell you how well that went. Or not.
The carrot and mushroom medleys were purchased purely for emergency meals. This may sound weird to a Whole30 newbie, but its a real thing. You're starving. Your people are starving, and you have nothing prepped. You need food so you can think. And to avoid a felony. So a couple extra bucks for some convenience veggies is totally worth it.
We are HUGE fans of veggie spirals, especially sweet potatoes (I'll share my favorite quick, comfort meal using swoodles soon). So while I'm comfortable making my own spiral veggies, I feel compelled to try these just to be able to report on them.
Can't wait to try the chicken sausages - these are an indulgence to have on hand to either eat alone as the protein in a meal or as part of a sheet pan or skillet meal. I'm hoping they are a nice change of pace from the Aidells ones we usually buy at Walmart.
Coconut Aminos (the Whole30 substitute for soy sauce) - you can't find a better price!
Unsweetened Coconut Flakes - hard for me to find, and necessary for one of my favorite recipes - Nom Nom Paleo's PB&J Energy Balls!
Coconut Milk/Cream & Almond Flour - you can never have too much, and these prices are awesome.
This hot sauce is my husbands FAVORITE - he literally did a little dance when I brought more home tonight.
Green chilies - the southern California girl in me needs these on hand to shake up scrambled eggs or ground beef on a moments notice. ;)
Everything But The Bagel Seasoning - its as good as the hype. Get some.
CHOMPS - trying these compliant meat sticks for the first time! We are pumped.
Ok, I saved the salsas for last. I bought three red and three green. Why, you ask? Because they are LIFE. I use the GREEN salsa to make: guacamole - just add avocados OR pork carnitas - pork shoulder plus salsa plus crock pot. I use the RED salsa to make Mexican chicken - two large chicken breasts plus salsa plus instant pot. My husband just likes to have them on hand for spicing up dishes as needed.
I am much more restrained at Whole Foods. Not only did I spend a good chunk at Trader Joe's, I really don't need much here. Frankly, I could probably get all of these things on Amazon or Thrive. But we're across the river, so we might as well!
The Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo is $10. I know. But hold your judgement. Get yourself a rotisserie chicken from Sams or your local grocery store. Discard the skin and pull the meat. Add a half cup of this mayo, one chopped avocado, some sliced cherry tomatoes and you have yourself a super yummy chicken salad that is fast, flavorful and satisfying. I can usually get quite a few meals out of one jar.
Whole Foods has a new relationship with Amazon Prime that I don't understand, but it resulted in getting these compliant breakfast sausages half off, so they will taste all that better on New Years Day! You can never go wrong with the Applegate brand.
I'm a huge Tessamae's Fan. I'm so grateful to have compliant store-bought dressing and condiment options that are also yummy! I was sad not to find the new to-go packets today, but I will look online. They are going to be a game changer in the "bring-your-own-dressing" game.
Ok. The real reason I ventured into Whole Foods today is the smallest jar. Nom Nom Paleo's Magic Mushroom Powder is a sleeper hit when it comes to amping up flavor. You don't think you need it and then you don't think you can live without it. Ms. Nom Nom is pretty simple in her recommendations for this flavor additive: wherever you use salt, use this. It makes a surprisingly big difference in almost every meal I make during Whole30 and I always feel a little healthier as I sprinkle it into my soup pot, scrambled eggs or burgers.