A Nutritionist’s 5-Day Trader Joe’s Meal Plan for a Busy Work Week

WRITTEN BY Carrie Gabriel

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You’ll want to print this one for your fridge. 

When it comes to eating healthy foods, the optimal choice is to buy groceries and cook for yourself. If you find it to be challenging, I’m here to help! Here’s a shopping list for a Trader Joe’s meal plan to eat healthily through even the busiest work week.

5-Day Trader Joe’s Meal Plan & Shopping List

5-Day Trader Joe's Meal Plan - WELLNEST

Why These Meals?

In general, I see people most satisfied by their meals if each one includes a lean protein, a healthy fat, a complex carbohydrate, and a vegetable. Whole grains are going to contain the fiber that helps keep you fuller for longer periods of time while maintaining optimal digestion. Healthy fat will also add flavor and keep you satiated and energized. A lean protein is ideal to maintain weight and develop and sustain muscles. Vegetables are great for these same reasons and contain crucial vitamins and minerals our bodies need.

Tips for Meal Planning

First, always plan out your meals ahead of time. Meal planning gives you a clear idea of the ingredients you actually need instead of what just sounds good in the moment.

Planning meals in advance not only saves you time and money, but it helps you waste less food by realizing you can utilize ingredients in multiple ways.

Finally, customize your list based on what YOU like to eat. If you don’t like quinoa and black beans, you certainly don’t have to buy them. Just make sure you have all your bases covered by including complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, lean proteins, and fresh produce.

Trader Joe's Meal Plan Recipes - WELLNEST

Recipes

Here’s how to prep the items listed above:

Chicken Thighs

Heat oven to broil. Place foil or parchment in a baking pan and lay out the chicken thighs. Season with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

Ground Turkey

Add two tablespoons of olive or avocado oil to a skillet at medium heat. Add the ground turkey. Turn the heat up to high. Add a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper, plus any other seasonings you like. Stir until the color goes from pink to brown (about five minutes) and remove from heat.

Egg Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together six eggs, a quarter cup of almond milk, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add in a quarter cup of feta, one cup of spinach, and stir. Pour the egg mixture into nonstick six-muffin tray and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cups are solid and slightly brown on top.

Oatmeal Bake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the banana in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add two eggs, a three-quarter cup of almond milk, a quarter cup of maple syrup, and one teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until well combined. Next, add two cups of oats, one cup of frozen blueberries, a half cup of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cinnamon. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Spread into a nonstick 10″ x 7″ casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Black Beans

Super simple! Rinse and drain the beans from the can. I like to mix them with two to three tablespoons of salsa and add to meals as a complex carbohydrate or vegetarian source of protein.

Quinoa

Boil four cups of water and a dash of salt. Add two cups of quinoa. Let it simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Cook until all the water is absorbed into the grain. Add with lentils or beans for a complete protein, or mix it with a salad.

Lentils

Heat two cups of water or broth to a boil. Add one cup of lentils. Cook on medium heat for 35-40 minutes. Lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein and are also starchy, so they fulfill the carbohydrate element of a meal as well.

Broccoli

There are a few ways you can prepare broccoli. First, you can cook chopped broccoli in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water for two and a half minutes. Another option is to heat two tablespoons of olive or avocado oil in a skillet and sauté broccoli for two to three minutes. Finally, you can toss the broccoli in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roast it in an oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato

For fries: Preheat the oven to a broil. Slice the sweet potatoes into fries. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for five minutes. Then flip the fries and cook for another seven minutes until crisp and slightly browned.

For a baked sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use a fork to puncture the sweet potato all over. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tender.

Cruciferous Crunch & Healthy 8-Veggie Mix

Both of these are an economical way to have a variety of vegetables in salad form! You can sauté these mixes on the stove or throw them in a bowl and toss with a dressing of choice. I recommend lemon juice, olive oil, and dijon mustard.

Zucchini

I love making zucchini noodles with a spiralizer, but you can also thinly slice a zucchini down its length for a similar effect or just chop it into cubes. Sauté with olive oil for three minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add marinara sauce and cook for another minute.

What About The Weekend?

This Trader Joe’s meal plan should yield some leftovers to pick at throughout the weekend. Chances are you’ll also want to mix in some dining-out options to share with friends. After such a successful work week of healthy homemade meals, we’d say you deserve it. Just remember to order something that covers all of the same major food groups. Bon appétit!

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