Affordable groceries are an important part of any dancer’s meal prep and Trader Joe’s makes it easy to find exciting options that are both nourishing and delicious. To help you navigate these options, I’m sharing my 10 favorite TJ’s staples! The best part? They’re ready-to-eat. Simply toss them in your meals or as part of a balanced snack.
Ready in a pinch and packed with nutrients, lentils are a nutritious option when served warm or cold! One ½ cup serving packs in protein, potassium, folate, fiber, and iron. Add your favorite sautéed veggies for bulk and variety. Lentils are also considered low glycemic, which means they’ll provide a steady pace of fuel for your longer and more strenuous dance days.
Organic Dehydrated Carrots
With only 2 simple ingredients (carrots and sea salt), these are a perfect option to pair with your favorite dips like hummus or guacamole. Carrots are abundant in vitamin A, which keeps your skin bright, boosts your immune system, and even strengthens your eyesight.
Freeze Dried Blueberries
Did you know that freeze-dried fruit offers the same nutrient profile as their fresh and frozen counterparts? Blueberries are particularly high in antioxidants, which play a role in muscle recovery. Freeze drying fruit makes it the perfect addition to your homemade trail mix. Pair with your favorite nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate chips!
Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds
Peanut butter is a perfect snack when paired with pretzels, fruit, or toast. This peanut butter has an added bonus of flax and chia; both boost the omega 3 content of your nut better and give you a bigger nutrient bang per bite! Peanut butter is also a great source of protein, which plays a role in building strong bones and encouraging muscle recovery.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
A TTP pantry staple, this seasoning allows you to add flavor and complexity to your favorite meals. It pairs well with scrambled eggs or as a topping on your avocado toast. The inclusion of sesame seeds even adds a source of heart-healthy and energizing unsaturated fats. Looking to get creative? Sprinkle on grilled chicken for extra flavor!
Nuts, especially walnuts are a nutrient-dense option and perfect either on their own or as part of a balanced recipe. One serving offers up to 2.5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in reducing inflammation resulting from strenuous exercise (like dancing!)
Fully Cooked Organic Quinoa
A superfood in the TTP kitchen, quinoa is both high in dietary fiber and considered a complete protein. A ½ cup serving provides you with 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber. For dancers struggling with gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease, quinoa is a great gluten-free option to add to meals and salads.
Jicama is particularly high in prebiotic fibers, which promote gut health and aid in digestive regularity. Jicama is also high in vitamin C, making it a perfect option for your post-class recovery snack. Jicama’s unique texture and neutral flavor makes it similar to a potato, but as crunchy as a pear. Dip into your favorite hummus and pair with a whole grain cracker for a perfect afternoon snack.
Pitted Salted Manzanilla Olive Packs
Olives are high in monounsaturated fats, which support heart health help you stay fuller longer during intense dance days. The added salt is particularly beneficial to replace lost electrolytes on hot and humid days, but pair with unsweetened coconut water to stay hydrated throughout! Electrolytes are essential for your body to maintain fluid balance especially after working hard in the studio!
Mini Dark Chocolate Bars
Pre-portioned as a convenient and packable sweet snack, these bars dark chocolate bars are a great way to satisfy a sweet craving while on-the-go. Dark chocolate is high in flavanols, which helps to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Some research has found dark chocolate to boost brain function. Another benefit? Dark chocolate can also promote satiety!
Article written with the help from student Caitlin Alfano. Expert reviewed by Rachel Fine.