12 Best Keto Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s
You can stock your fridge and pantry with plenty of low-carb and keto-friendly foods at this favorite stop. These are nutritionists' favorites.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is a popular version of the classic low-carb diet. But keto’s carb count is ultra low: Just 20 carbs per day. The focus of this diet plan is getting lots of fat (80 to 85 percent of your daily nutrients), some protein (10 to 15 percent), and those few grams of carbs (5 percent).
Keto dieters can experience a great deal of weight-loss success like these folks, but each person’s journey is different. In your first weeks, you can expect to drop about two pounds per week. That tends to be water weight initially (true with almost any diet), but then the lack of carbs forces your body to burn fat for energy and you start to shed pounds. At that point, the amount of weight you lose each week will vary based on your diet, your level of exercise, and your starting weight.
One of the best things about the keto diet is how easy it can be for people to shop and cook. No fancy shakes, bars, or meals. You can—and should—eat real food on the keto diet. Trader Joe’s has a wide assortment of keto-friendly foods that will help you meal plan and stick to your goal so you have the best shot at real results.
Keto-friendly vegetables are few and far between—cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, to name the few. So when you find good options for these low-carb plant foods, it’s a good idea to incorporate them into each meal in creative ways. Sauerkraut is one such food.
“Raw sauerkraut is sold at Trader Joe’s now, and an especially delicious option is their Raw Sauerkraut and Pickled Persian Cucumbers,” says Rachel Fiske, NC, CPT-NASM, a member of the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living. “Fermented foods are really important to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, and with keto sometimes you end up not eating enough veggies. Enjoy a quarter to a half cup of raw sauerkraut per day.” Sauerkraut also happens to be one of the best probiotic foods you can get.
“Pesto is one of the most diverse and delicious keto-friendly sauces and it’s hard to beat Trader Giotto’s Genova Pesto,” says Samantha Morrison, a health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness. “Besides the fact that it’s delicious hot or cold, you can pair it with tuna, chicken, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and so much more. As an added bonus, the garlic increases your body’s natural energy levels, helping boost your metabolism and lose weight efficiently.”
Beef and chicken
“Grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken are sold at many Trader Joe’s at a much lower price than a Whole Foods or other health food stores,” Fiske says. “Keep in mind though that keto is a moderate protein diet and high fat, so be sure to balance out your protein with plenty of non-starchy veggies and a wide array of delicious fats.”
“One of my current favorite fun finds is the Mushroom Medley Alfredo Sauce we spotted on our last trip to Trader Joe’s,” says Collin Morgan, a keto lifestyle enthusiast and a frugal living expert at Hip2Keto.com. “At only three grams of carbs, this is a yummy addition to lots of veggies and sides. I can’t wait to slather it on some Brussels sprouts.”
No keto diet is complete without avocado in many forms. Guacamole, you’ll soon see, is the easiest go-to dip for snacks or dinners. Keep it on hand for a fast snack when hunger strikes. “Fresh ready-made guacamole—it doesn’t get better than that,” Fiske says. “Avocados are a keto staple food, and sometimes you don’t have the time to make your own guacamole or fresh avocados are a small fortune.” Learn 5 things that happen to your body when you eat avocados every day.
“Trader Joe’s sells a seasoned Smoked Salmon Trio pack, a win for keto-dieters because it’s carb-free, super flavorful, convenient, and it packs in plenty of healthy essential fatty acids,” says Lindsey Toth, MS, RD with Swanson Health. “I like it atop Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks to add a little low-carb crunch.”
Fat is king in the keto diet, but you still need to be selective about the types of fats you eat. Look for options that provide the most flavor with the least processing. Use them where the flavor really counts, like sauteing veggies or frying eggs. “Ghee is an incredibly tasty, traditional Indian cooking fat, also known as clarified butter,” Fiske says. “It’s a great keto-friendly fat when cooking at high temperatures, similar to butter and coconut oil.” Not sure about ghee? Here are 8 reasons to swap butter for ghee.
Even on the keto diet, there will be days when your creativity (or energy) wanes. That’s when it’s good to have a no-fail keto-friendly option waiting on you in the freezer. “With only four grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein, Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burger patties are a flavorful option,” Toth says. “Try them in lettuce wraps or use large grilled Portobello mushrooms as buns to get a boost of energizing B vitamins and selenium—an antioxidant.” For an extra Southwest kick, top a patty with guacamole. It’s an unbeatable keto combination.
Keto welcomes bacon as a rich source of fat while low in protein and almost no carbs. That means it’s a great option for breakfast, easy to add to lunches, and is even an option at dinner. “What keto dieter doesn’t adore bacon?” Fiske asks. “Trader Joe’s offers nitrite-free bacon that is super affordable and can be enjoyed in the morning with eggs and non-starchy veggies.”
Keto eaters can’t have traditional rice—carbs, of course—but you can have riced cauliflower. These tiny shards of cauliflower have a toothsome texture and chew that’s a close second to the starchy side. Keep several bags of Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice on hand. Look for their stir-fry cauliflower rice options, too. With the rice and a serving of meat, you can make a keto-friendly dinner in no time. You can also make your own cauliflower rice—here’s a guide, along with tips for turning other superfoods into scrumptious comfort dishes.
Keto snacks are essential for getting more fat (and fewer carbs) into your daily diet—and Trader Joe’s Mozzarella Rolloni is a perfect option. Each mozzarella snack stick is wrapped with deli meat (prosciutto or salami) for precisely one net carb but loads of flavor. The rollonis are also a great addition for parties or social gatherings when you aren’t sure you’ll have a keto option available for you.
This is a treasure trove for keto dieters: Almost all cheese, unless it’s flavored or wrapped in a sugary crust, is keto-friendly. So you can do almost no harm to your diet by trying out the many, many kinds of cheese Trader Joe’s sells. “Trader Joe’s has plenty of low carb cheese to choose from,” Toth says. “I especially like their carb-free burrata or manchego.” Still unsure of where to start on the keto diet? Follow this keto diet menu for beginners.