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I Hated Trader JoesUntil I Discovered These 8 Healthy Items

When I kid, I used to make fun of my mom for going to multiple grocery stores because some had better prices on things than others. From an economic standpoint, dont you save more time (time being money!) by just getting everything in one place? When Im grown-up, none of this bouncing from store-to-store, I thought.Iam going to be efficient, I thought.

Well, I thought wrong. Things change, and Idespite my best effortsam slowly turning into my mother. Because adult me has to, you know, pay for stuff and as a general rule, I prefer to pay less. I even startedgoing to Costco. But even before I started making a concerted effort to be thriftier, there was one place I gave up a long time ago: Trader Joes.

(Stop throwing things at me, you can see from the title that it didnt last!)

Backstory: I learned about Trader Joes living in NYC. My TJs was the Union Square one, AKA the busiest TJs location in the country (according to the store manager who used to come to the bar where I worked for well-deserved drinks). Shopping there was overwhelming. Like you couldnt move around overwhelming. So I swore off Trader Joes.

But a few months ago, I was killing time at our local mall and thought Id give TJs a peek. Wow. First of all, a TJs in Birmingham, Alabama is (duh) a lot less busy than my old store (though still stress-inducing), and second, there are killer deals on healthy staples secretly lurking in those aisles. Even despite the fact that I cannot stand going anywhere near a mall, TJs has become a regular part of my grocery shopping routine. Here are the items that make mall-exposure worth it.

At my local Publix, tempeh is $3.99. I just thought that that was how much it costs until I came across TJs awesome organic tempeh for $1.99. I dont often eat meat or fish, and tempeh is my favorite, so that right there makes a trip so worth it.

I LOVE Daves Killer Bread. I dont love that my local Target charges $5.99 a loaf for it. And okay, its not a direct 1:1 nutrition match, but TJs Organic Seeded Bread is darn tasty and makes a heck of an avocado toast. Plus, its just $3.49.

Last year, I started seeing super-firm,pre-pressed tofuin my Publix and it changed my weeknight dinner lifebut I could only find it at one store. This year, TJs introduced their own version, its always in stock, and its fifty cents cheaper. Win-win-win.

Im a big believer in super veggie-packed pizzas with pesto as a way to clean out the crisper. I used to buy the whole wheat fresh pizza dough from Whole Foods for $4.99 per 16 oz., but now this 16 oz., $1.19 TJs version is my jam.

So the flavor selection isnt as huge as at a traditional grocery store, but at $2.69 vs. up to $3.99 at my local, Ill take TJs tasty buch.

Sure, I know I can make my own. But since TJs has it at $2.49 (versus $3.99 on sale at my local Publix), Im gonna use the extra time I save to make a cup of tea. Speaking of which

I really am becoming my mother, because I like a cup of tea to help me drift off to sleep at night. Well Rested herbal tea has a similar blend to the brand I used to drinkat $2.29 per 20 bags versus $5.55 for 16!

I eat a LOT of lentils. And theyre delicious. But at my local Publix, a 16-oz. bag of organic green lentils is $3.55. TJs has the same for just $1.69, making mylentil curryobsession just a bit more budget-friendlyjust like my mom would say.