Take a peek inside my grocery cart for this week’s Slimming World Grocery Haul – Trader Joe's and Aldi. Perfect items for anyone following Slimming World or a healthy eating programme.
In case you are new and stumbling across my blog. I am originally from the UK, live in Canada, but am also close enough to the US, that I am able to grocery shop there too. Which means I have so much variety!!
Last week we did another trip to the US as I really want to go to Trader Joe's, it's my favourite grocery store across the border.
It's a small grocery store and they don't do any branded foods, just their own products, with some really amazing choices.
I was actually after a frozen cauliflower pizza base that they make, but sadly I think my luck is out on ever getting my hands on it now. It is never in stock at my closest store.
We also popped into Aldi, as everyone loves Aldi and they have some really great produce. When they first opened in the US, I wasn't too impressed, but they are veering more towards healthier foods now, and even have a great organic range. Perfect for grabbing store cupboard ingredients too like tomato paste, crushed tomatoes etc.
So despite not getting the cauliflower pizza crust I really wanted to try, I did get some other great things.
1.Trader Joe's Curry Chicken Tenders
When I spotted these at Trader Joe's and worked out they were syn free, I was keen to give them a try, but I have to be honest, the curry flavour was a bit weird and I didn't really like it. Rather disappointing.
However not one to waste food. I made up some of the curry sauce of my Chinese Chicken Curry and added the chicken pieces to that and it was much much nicer, that weird curry flavour wasn't so dominant.
2. Trader Joe's Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Chicken Sausage
Finding low syn sausages in the US can be pretty hard going. Sausages don't seem to as much as a thing as back in the UK, instead, they prefer hot dog type sausages.
So I was surprised to find these at Trader Joe's at only 0.5 syns per sausage.
Be careful if buying these though, that you get the right one, as they do a hot dog type sausage in a similar flavour and those are higher in syns.
They don't really work as a breakfast sausage with the usual, egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and beans, but I love adding these to pasta dishes or casseroles. They have a great Mediterranean flavour.
Why not try them in Sausage Tomato and Spinach Pasta - delicious!!
3. Trader Joe's Kohlrabi Salad Blend + Broccoli and Kale Slaw
I love the salad bags that Trader Joe's have to offer, great variation and perfect for adding speed foods to your plate.
The Broccoli Kale Slaw does come with a little bag of dressing, dried fruit and seeds, which of course is syns, but I just take that out and store in the fridge, it comes in handy if I need a dressing and toppings for a salad when we have guests.
These add a great crunch to a meal when eaten raw, I much prefer crunchy greens over soggy lettuce. But they are also really great used as a stir fry mix for noodles and Asian inspired dishes. Plus as they come in handy bags, they are super quick, as you can just open the bag and dump in the Wok, no need to stand there chopping lots of vegetables.
Grocery stores all over the US and Canada have similar type bags, as I get one or two each week regardless of where we shop. But these ones are obviously specific to Trader Joes.
Luckily for those of you in the UK, there are heaps of different variations of stir fry bag mixes, much more choice than we ever get here.
Also if you buy broccoli, don't ever cut off those stalks and throw them away, if you julienne them really thinly or grate, they are perfect in stir fries.
4. Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower
I spotted this bag when browsing the salad bags at Trader Joe's and at only a couple of dollars for the bag, I threw one in the cart.
If you have ever made Cauliflower Rice, it can be a messy job, so this will, of course, skip that whole part.
I love cauliflower rice, it is perfect with curries instead of rice for a delicious speed side dish or if you grind up, even more, you can use as a crust for pizza. But to be honest, if you are going to make a pizza, you may as well buy a head of cauliflower, as I find you need it a lot more of a finer crumb for it to work well.
Not sure how to cook cauliflower rice? Then give this Roasted Cauliflower Rice a try. It's my favourite way to make it. I know it can be cooked much quicker in the microwave, but it really isn't as nice as roasting it.
Rice Cauliflower tends to be a little more pricey here in Canada, so I tend to buy a head of cauliflower when they are on offer at the food market. I then can make up a few trays of my Roasted Cauliflower Rice, as it's perfect for freezing.
In the UK riced and spiralized vegetables are becoming more and more popular, with many trying to eat healthier and reduce their carb intake. So they are a great alternative, just weigh up the price, as to whether it is cheaper to buy already rice/spiralized or do it yourself. As they can often be really over priced. I like convenience, but not when it is costly.
5. Trader Joe's Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage
Another low syn sausage from Trader Joe's and this one are one of my favourites. If you like link type sausages, there are quite a few different variations to choose from, including some spicy ones.
These are 2 syns per sausage and are great in all kinds of dishes. Plus unlike the other ones I posted above, these go perfectly with eggs, beans, mushrooms etc for a delicious breakfast.
6. Trader Joe's Flavoured Fat-Free Greek Yoghurt
I must admit to not being a huge fan of fat-free flavoured yoghurts, most of the syn free ones, have too much of an artificial sweetener taste, which is generally something I try to avoid. For a flavoured fat-free yoghurt, the ingredients are not too bad in these and they are only 1.5 syns for the pot. I only checked these flavours, some of the other's may vary in syns.
These are really creamy and lovely. The Coconut cream one would be perfect in a curry if you need that slight creamy coconutty flavour.
Sometimes you have to spend a few syns for something that tastes great and these are definitely worth it. Quite filling too, so you could actually have half with some fruit for a snack and then have the other half later. Can you tell that is what I did with the top one before I even had a chance to take a picture?
7. Trader Joe's Fat-Free Plain Greek Yoghurt
Fat-Free Plain Greek Yoghurt, is my favourite kind to buy. Much nicer ingredients and you can just add your own fruit and a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
If you really do not like the taste of some flavoured yoghurts, then I recommend giving it a try.
8. Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus
I love hummus and regularly make my Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus, which is divine btw!!
But when I spotted this variation at Trader Joe's I just had to grab some to give it a try, because as well as loving hummus, I also love edamame beans.
Firstly I should comment on store bought dips and spreads. Although many contain a free ingredient, like edamame in this instance, they do not qualify for a Free Food allowance on the syn calculator. So with that in mind, this one is 3 syns per 2 tbs.
Now onto this hummus. Omg, it is so good. Lovely fresh flavours and a perfect low syn snack, with some veggie crudites or if you want to spend a few more syns you could serve with some crackers.
A Heb serving of pita bread, cut into triangles and baked sprayed with a little spray oil, is perfect for dips like this too.
I am totally going to have a go at making my own version of this, so watch this space.
9. Trader Joe's Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
As much as I absolutely love my Syn Free Crispy Golden Hash Browns, sometimes if I don't have any prepared and no time to make some, it just isn't going to happen and that's where these come in handy and guess what this bag is SYN FREE.
Of course, I actually prefer my own hash browns, but these are a great alternative.
I just spread it out on a large tray, spray over the top with some spray oil and bake in the oven till golden, while that is cooking, you can sort out the rest of breakfast. Nice and easy!!!
10. Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta
I thought this pasta looked really yummy when I spotted it, it's syn free and will be great in a shrimp or chicken dish.
It actually comes with a little recipe on the back which you could follow too if you are lacking inspiration. I'll be sure to come back and update what I actually make with it.
11. Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Cookies Dunkers + Quadruple Almond Butter Cookies
A trip to Trader Joe's just isn't complete without grabbing at least one tub of their amazing cookies.
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dunkers were the kids choice and 8 syns for 2 or 4 syns for one, so not too bad syn wise.
Then there is the Quadruple Almond Butter Cookies, these are so yummy and have a lovely almondy flavour, with a perfect crunch. Then are 6.5 syns for 6 mini cookies. I've been enjoying one or two crumbled onto fruit and yoghurt for a slight crunch or even on top of my oatmeal - yum!!!
11. Trader Joe's Crackers
Can't beat some savoury snacks too and these are all yummy.
The 3 Cheese Wafers are 3 syns for 33 - YES you read that right 33 wafers, on their own they are quite mild, but you could top them with all kinds of goodies, for a delicious movie time snack.
Some ideas are with some of these dips:
Also, great topped with a healthy extra of cheddar or laughing cow and some relish, pickle (for a few extra syns).
The Mini Edamame Crackers are also great used as mentioned above and are 6 syns for 38 chips, that a whole lot of chips to dip or top - yum!!
Lastly those darn Mochi Rice Nuggets - seriously addictive and really crunchy. These are a bit on the higher side syn wise, so not something you would probably want to use your syns on often. They work out as 7.5 syns for 10 crackers.
12. Trader Joe's Store Cupboard Must Haves!!
I love to grab some of Trader Joe's Baking Powder whenever we go, it comes in a nice handy tub, with a little straight edge for levelling off your tsp. Because you should be levelling off that spoon whenever measuring ingredients. If you don't you could be adding a whole load of syns you are not accounting for.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. How can I resist a seasoning that has all the yumminess of my favourite Everything Bagel. Sprinkle this on anything and everything it's so good and only 0.5 syns per ½ tsp.
Umami Paste - I have touched on this before in a post about using fish sauce in recipes, which is perfect for packing some umami into a dish. Umami basically is known in Japan as a "fifth taste" and refers to a savoury taste. So if you want to pack some amazing flavour into dishes, squeeze in a little bit of this paste which is 1 syn per teaspoon.
Taco Seasoning - .The majority of the time I make my own seasoning mixes, as I have a huge selection of jars with various different spices to choose from. But I grabbed one of these last time I was at Trader Joe's as the ingredients looked pretty good. (I am always checking ingredients lists, as I try to eat clean 80% of the time, allowing that 20% on snacky foods which generally don't have good ingredients.
It's handy for mixing into some ground beef when you want a quick meal and is super tasty. It's 0.5 syns for about a tsp of the mix and you use about ½ a packet per 1lb (455g) of meat, which equates to 3 syns. So not many syns at all for a serving.
13. Trader Joe's and Aldi Cereal Bars
Unfortunately, none of these qualifies as a healthy extra b choice
Trader Joe's Fiberful Granola Bars - Rolled Oats and Peanut Butter - these have 9g of fibre and are are 6.5 syns a bar. Definitely my favourite of the 3
Aldi Elevation Caramel Nut bars - these looked good, but sadly I didn't really like these at all. They are also 6.5 syns a bar.
and lastly Aldi Millville Chewy Bars, a great box to grab for some low syn cereal bars, at only 5 syns per bar.
14. Trader Joes and Aldi Canned Items
I also grabbed a few canned products on this grocery shop.
Aldi is great for stuff like this, so grabbed some of their crushed tomatoes (great replacement for passata for those in the US), diced tomatoes, tomato paste and corn.
In Trader Joe's, I always grab their Reduced Fat Coconut Milk, as it's great for curries and soups etc. I love to use it in my Lentil Curry. Light coconut milk can vary in syns, this one is 3.5 syns per ¼ cup (65ml)
I also grabbed some of the pitted black olives from Trader Joe's which are 1.5 syns for 2 tbs, as I want to make my Chilli Cheese Fries.
Some organic vegetarian chilli which I work out at 3.5 syns for 1 cup (240ml) which I grabbed for emergency meals.
and then lastly in the canned items, some of Trader Joe's Fat-Free refried beans which are syn free, great for any Mexican inspired dish and only.
15. Aldi Specially Selected Raw Honey
I love honey and Raw is a much better option if you can find it, so when I spotted this one at Aldi, it went straight in the cart. At the farmers market near where I live in the Summer, you can usually grab some from local farms, but this is a good option for when it isn't available.
Honey at 3 syns per tablespoon is great drizzled on oatmeal, yoghurt, in baked goods, savoury dishes like this Honey and Mustard Chicken or toast with some slices of banana - yum!!
16. Aldi Specially Selected Mussels in Tomato Garlic Sauce
Mussels are not for everyone, but these a lovely, only a few good ingredients and perfect over some linguine with some additional fresh chopped tomatoes, for a delicious meal. Only 1.5 syns for ½ the box too.
17. Aldi - Appleton Farms Gourmet Thick Sliced Hickory Smoked Bacon
So we all know from meat or bacon to be free on Slimming World, it has to have all fat removed and with that many assume that is the only kind of bacon you can have, but you can actually have streaky crispy bacon so long as you syn it and at 2 syns per slices this one is amazing. It was a little on the pricier side, but I could tell from the cut it was going to be good.
This is surprisingly only 2 syns per slice, perfect for a delicious breakfast with all the usual breakfast ingredients, like eggs, baked beans etc.
I also oven bake mine, by placing it on a rack over a foil lined baked tray, which means more fat drains underneath, this would probably reduce the syns even more in this, but I still syn at the 2 syns a slice just be sure.
Don't be scared to use your syns on things you enjoy, nothing is off bounds and that is exactly what your syns are there for.
18. Aldi Loven Fresh 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
On Slimming World, 60g of any 100% whole wheat bread is a HEb and these are just under 60g for a bun, so perfect for a burger night, like my Big Mac and Fries Fakeaway
19. Aldi Great Buys!!
and I can't finish off this post without mentioning these two great buys I got at Aldi. The non-stick pan which works on induction heat, so great for my recipe videos I will be bringing you was only $12.99 and the colour coded chopping mats just a few dollars, each one coloured so you can keep them for certain food items, like meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables etc. You can find similar on Amazon like these Kitchen Craft Colour Coded Chopping Boards.
Don't forget to check out my other Grocery Hauls