Weight loss doesn’t have to be expensive! While cheap, unhealthy foods are plentiful in our culture, with a little research, we can find affordable, clean, and healthy foods too. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to shop for groceries that are friendly to both my waistline and my wallet. Try my top ten picks for weight loss foods at Trader Joe’s.
1.) Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
One of my favorite foods at Trader Joe’s is the two-pound tub of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt for $4.99. This weight loss gem is just 120 calories per cup and provides your body with 22 grams of protein. It’s thick, creamy, and delicious without any of the thickening or sweetening additives most other brands include.
This calcium-rich choice strengthens bones, protects lean muscle mass, and helps to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
2.) Organic Edamame
Rich in the soy protein that helps to alleviate menopausal symptoms, these delicious little pods come in a 12-ounce bag for $1.99. They give your body nine grams of clean protein for just 100 calories per serving, and make the perfect, easy addition to increase the protein intake of a weight loss lunch. A few minutes on the stove or in the microwave, and they’re ready! I also find that any food that requires a little more effort to eat helps me to slow down and register that I’m full more easily.
3.) Raw Sliced Almonds
It’s difficult to find affordable raw nuts that aren’t packed with sodium, sugar, or preservatives. Trader Joe’s offers a bag of raw, sliced almonds for less than $4.00 that are pre-sliced to make the perfect little salad, yogurt, or desert toppers. One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that including almonds in the diet actually reduced appetite in participants without making any other adjustments to the diet.
4.) Small Whole Green Lentils
For less than $2 per bag, you can make a healthy base for amazing weight loss salads, bowls, and soups for the week. These small green whole lentils contain 170 calories, 12 grams of protein and 14 grams of dietary fiber per serving. They keep your blood sugar stable longer and can be dressed up with a variety of produce, spices, sauces, and meats for endless flavor combinations. Since they take a little longer to cook, I usually make a whole pot at the beginning of the week. They keep in the fridge really well!
5.) Wild Silver Coho Salmon Portions
Wild salmon is a wonderful source of lean protein and health-promoting omega-3s. The only thing prohibitive about this delicious weight loss choice is the price. At most grocery stores I’ve visited, a small portion of wild salmon can cost almost as much as an entire meal at a restaurant. At Trader Joe’s, they offer a frozen portion for $8.99/pound. I can usually find a package that will serve two for around $6.00.
6.) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding excessive sugars or calories to your diet? I add a tablespoon of this to smoothies, warm almond milk, and protein powder to make chocolate shakes, unsweetened hot chocolate, and protein bites that are completely guilt-free. A 9-ounce container goes for less than $3, and a tablespoon of this unsweetened cocoa only adds 10 calories. Try some in my No Sugar Added Iced Mocha Smoothie.
7.) Frozen Organic Blueberries
One of the richest sources of antioxidants available, these delicious little berries help to prevent the formation of new fat cells and encourage the body to tap into excess body fat for energy. They also protect against chronic inflammation and are beneficial for brain health. The only problem with blueberries is that they also frequently appear on lists of produce with the highest amounts of pesticide residue. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s sells a bag of organic frozen blueberries for just $3.99.
I add a cup of these to my delicious Blueberry Coffee Weight Loss Smoothie.
8.) Fresh Mint
In the summer, I like to add this fresh herb to everything—salads, lentils, fruit-infused water, smoothies, and more. A package that contains just enough to last for the week for my family costs a mere $1.49. Try it in my easy, refreshing Pineapple Mint Smoothie that also fights inflammation and bloating!
9.) Brown Rice Pasta
One of the best swaps I recommend for weight loss is transitioning to whole grains from refined grains. Refined grains, like white bread, pasta, and rice, move through the digestive tract quickly. They spike the blood sugar, but contain no fiber or protein to sustain that energy, leading to crashes and cravings shortly after digestion. Whole grains, on the other hand, are rich sources of dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, and protein that keep you feeling full and energized much longer than their processed counterparts. In fact, one study conducted at Tufts University found that through switching to whole grains, healthy adults burned an additional 100 calories per day through making no other adjustments to the diet.
Trader Joe’s makes a delicious pasta substitute from just two ingredients: brown rice and water. At $1.99 per bag, it’s an absolute steal.
10.) Jasmine Green Tea
Need a healthy, metabolism-boosting, zero calorie way to crush a craving? Trader Joe’s offers a box of green tea with jasmine for a mere $1.99.
Green tea is a potent source of antioxidants and catechins, including one called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In studies, this compound has been shown to provide metabolic benefits by slightly raising the metabolism and increasing fat oxidation. It is also a natural source of caffeine, which will increase fitness endurance if consumed just prior to a workout.
I love the delicate floral flavor of jasmine added to this weight loss drink. Just don’t add any sweeteners!