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A well-stocked pantry is an awesome thing. It makes meal prep easy and can help you stay on the healthy eating track. Everyone knows that eating unprocessed foods in as close to a natural state as possible is best, but you can’t always make it to a farmers’ market. That’s where clean-eating pantry staples are a lifesaver. The real challenge is trying to stock a *clean* pantry on a budget. Luckily, the same Trader Joe’s that brings you affordable wines has got it going on in the organic staples department. Whether you’re new to clean eating or hitting the reset button, you’ll HEART these clean-eating pantry essentials for under $5.
1. Trader Joe’s Albacore Solid White Tuna ($1.70-2.30): Tuna is a great protein staple to have on hand in a pinch, and it’s not just for noodle casseroles anymore. A tuna risotto with fresh veggies is both hearty and healthy.
See: Tuna Risotto Pie
2. Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil ($1.70): Add one more item to the list of things that taste delicious on toast. Sardines are high in Omega-3s — giving our hearts and brains exactly what they require to function optimally.
3. Spanish Organic Extra Virgin Garlic Flavored Olive Oil ($4): Every clean-eating kitchen needs a good supply of olive oil in the pantry. It’s great for making your own mayo and SOOOO delicious in herb-infused dips.
4. Trader Joe’s Spices of the World Turmeric ($2): Turmeric-laden golden milk dominated everyone’s Pinterest and Instagram feeds this summer, and with good reason — the spice reduces inflammation, heals digestive issues, regulates blood sugar, and can even help shrink belly fat. When you’re jonesing for a sweet, comforting treat at night, grab some turmeric, coconut milk, and honey and you’re *golden.*
5. Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth ($2): No food in this house, you say? If you’ve got some broth in the pantry, you’re in possession of one of the most versatile ingredients around. Use it to add richness to rice or noodles, braise some fish or meat and veg, or make a quick one-pot meal.
6. Trader Joe’s Unsalted Crushed Tomatoes ($1.60): If you’ve got a can of crushed tomatoes, a dab of olive oil, and some garlic and herbs, you’re 20 minutes away from homemade marinara sauce. Pour it over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious meal.
7. Trader Giotto’s Tuscano Marinara Sauce ($1.80): Don’t be shy about utilizing a clean jarred marinara when you can find one at this price. It’s perfect for jump-starting a no-fuss baked pasta recipe.
8. Trader Joe’s Organic Beans ($1): If you’ve got a can of beans on hand, you know what that means? You’ve got hummus. Homemade bean dips have *all* the flavor of store-bought, without the unhealthy canola oil and additives.
9. Trader Joe’s Whole Green Lentils ($1.70): Lentils are economical, sustainable, easy to prepare, and full of protein and fiber. They’re also super hearty and delicious. Every *clean* pantry should have some on hand.
10. Trader Joe’s Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread ($3.50-3.70): Think clean bread means made from scratch? Like Voltaire said: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A clean-eating sprouted bread means there’s always a way to serve up some avocado.
11. Trader Joe’s Basmati Rice Varieties ($3.30-4.50): When you’re casting around for a comfort food requiring few ingredients, if you’ve got rice, you’ve got congee (kahn-jee). Congee is a Chinese porridge that’s often eaten for breakfast but is just as delicious and filling any time of day. All you need is rice and some stock or even water. The rest of the “fixings” like protein, vegetables, and herbs and spices can be whatever you have on hand.
12. Trader Joe’s Raw Cashew Pieces ($5): Nuts are a healthy grab-and-go snack, and you can make your own nut butters, nut milks, and sauces with them. Cashew cream makes an awesome dairy-free sauce to pour over pasta.
13. Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli ($2): Pasta has gotten a bad rap lately, with all the grain-free eaters, but when paired with the right ingredients, it makes for an inexpensive and healthy meal. If you’re in doubt, rice pastas these days taste just as good as the wheat versions.
14. Trader Joe’s Chia Seeds ($5): When the cupboard is bare, you’re going to thank us for reminding you about chia seeds. With chia seeds on hand, just scrounge up some canned coconut milk and fruit and you’ve got a delicious breakfast or healthy, filling snack.
15. Trader Joe’s Just Mango Slices ($3): Dried fruits that have no added sugar, like TJ’s Just Mango Slices, are great to have around as a natural sweet treat. Even in winter, mango slices are like a blast of sunshine to your tastebuds.
16. Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter (Ghee) ($4.80): The healthiest fats for your *clean* pantry are olive oil, red palm oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter or ghee. Ghee — a butter that’s had all the casein (dairy protein) removed — has all the yummy browned-butter taste of the real deal; plus many food-allergy folks can tolerate it.
17. Trader Joe’s Organic Oats & Flax Instant Oatmeal ($3.50): Oatmeal is good to have on hand — it makes a great breakfast and is hearty enough to eat for dinner in a pinch. A savory oat bowl will keep you cozy, toasty, and completely satisfied through an evening of Netflix binging.
18. Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Salted Peanut Butter ($3.50): Whether you’re a smooth or crunchy gal, you’ll be delighted to find a jar of peanut butter in the pantry when all else fails. It’s great on toast or fresh fruit slices — or eaten straight from the jar with a spoon.
19. Trader Joe’s Organic Tricolor Quinoa & Organic White Quinoa ($5): When you’re looking for a high-protein, one-dish meal that everyone in the house will love, you can’t go wrong with a quinoa bake. In a pinch, quinoa is also delicious just cooked with a bit of chicken broth, butter or olive oil, and some herbs and spices.
20. Trader Joe’s Thyme Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette ($3): There are very few *clean* store-bought salad dressings, because few manufacturers will spring for olive oil. You want this one in your life right now. And if you thought salads are just for summer, think again.
21. Organic Rice and Quinoa Hot Cereal ($3.69): Smooth, creamy, and nutty, this organic rice and quinoa cereal is the ideal way to start your morning. Try it sweet with maple syrup on top, or savory with scallions and a poached egg.
22. Heart of Palm Medallions ($1.99): If you’re looking for a quick salad add-in, these heart of palm medallions will do the trick.
23. Unsweetened Sunflower Seed Spread ($4.99): Try this spread in place of peanut butter in sandwiches, cookies, and even swirled into oatmeal.
24. Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce ($2.99): Coconut aminos are often a go-to soy sauce substitute for those with gluten allergies. A little shake adds savory flavor to all your stir-fries.
25. Organic Fair Trade Cacao Powder and Organic Maca Powder ($3.00-$4.99): Add antioxidants and flavor to your smoothies, porridge, and baked goods with these pure, sugar-free powders. The cocoa powder has a rich chocolate flavor, while the maca powder adds a nutty taste to your meals.
26. Peanut Butter Protein Granola ($3.49): With a whopping 11 grams of protein per serving, you’ll want to keep this granola on hand for quick, satisfying breakfasts. Serve with your favorite milk or over low-fat Greek yogurt for an even bigger protein boost.
27. Organic Tahini ($3.49): Whisked into dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies, tahini is a true workhorse in the kitchen. This jar has just one ingredient, so you can feel good about what you’re eating.
28. Whole Grain Crispbread ($2.99): Mashed avocado just found its new best friend. Loaded with seeds and whole grains, this crunchy crispbread goes with just about everything.
29. Dried Fruit Bars ($.69): When you’re craving something sweet, these dried fruit bars come in handy. They contain no added sugars, just the natural sweetness that comes from the fruit itself.
30. Organic Purple Maize Flakes ($3.69): Purple maize and brown rice give these cereal flakes big flavor. Eat them like traditional cereal or crush them up to use as a crunchy breading on chicken breast.
If you love these budget-friendly clean-eating foods, follow us on Pinterest for more.
(Photos via Trader Joe’s)
(Additional reporting by Justina Huddleston)