Real talk: Cauliflower rice is a total pain to make — but it's also in every diet plan out there. So the geniuses at Trader Joe's did all the hard work and came up with a great pre-packaged option.
Luckily, they didn't stop there — they continued dreaming up crazy-delicious, super-cheap foods that fit in with any low-carb diet your heart desires. Here, five R.D.s share their fave low-carb TJ finds that'll help you stick to your diet plan. (Even better news: Some are even available on Amazon!)
Ricing your own veggies is messy and, if you don't have a food processor, hard. These baggies of already prepped veggies make it a no-brainer. “Cauliflower rice is a great, low-carb stand-in for rice in any dish like stir-fries, curries, or tacos," says Jessica Beacom, R.D.N., and Stacie Hassing, R.D.N., L.D., co-founders of . Cauliflower and broccoli rice will also boost your fiber intake, making you feel fuller, longer.
Riced Cauliflower per 1/5 package, ⅔ cup: 25 cal, 0.5 g fat (0 g sat), 4 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 25 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Riced Broccoli per 1/5 package, 1 cup: 35 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 6 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
This cauliflower rice stir-fry tastes like it was made from scratch, and it only takes six minutes to heat. “With only seven grams of carbohydrates and 50 calories per one-cup serving, low-carb eaters can enjoy several cups of this stuff without consuming a wild amount of carbs," says , head of nutrition and wellness at . The dish also offers two grams of fiber per cup — an important consideration for anyone going low-carb since fiber consumption is often reduced when you cut out whole grains, explains Clark.
Per 1 cup: 50 cal, 2 g fat (0 g sat), 7 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 190 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Omelettes. Chilis. Frittatas. Tacos. Salads. You can put this cheese on basically anything. Pro tip: Look for the sharpest cheese you can find. “Opting for a sharper tasting cheese means you need less to get the same amount of flavor,” say Beacom and Hassing.
Per ¼ cup serving, 1/12 container: 110 calories, 9 g fat (5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 190 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 7 g protein.
This pouch is basically your permission to get your cheese fix anywhere, anytime. “With one gram of carbs per serving, and [their being] high in fat, these make for a perfect, filling snack,” says , a dietitian in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
Per half-package: 170 cal, 12 g fat (8 g sat), <1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 310 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 15 g protein.
Nuts are naturally low in carbohydrates. That’s why Beacom and Hassing love adding a sprinkle of these nuts to salads or stir-fry dishes for a bit of a low-carb crunch.
Per 1 ounce serving, 1/16 container: 180 cal, 1 g fat (1 g sat), 5 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.
“Olives and olive tapenade are a great way to add loads of flavor to your favorite proteins without adding carbs,” say Beacom and Hassing. Try them on a lettuce wrap with turkey and sliced cucumbers for a super quick, protein-rich, low-carb snack.
Per 5 olives, ½ half a pack: 25 cal, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), <1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 220 mg sodium, <1 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Great in stir-fries, in smoothies, and for dipping veggie sticks, almond butter is a delicious low-carb dip or add-in, says Clark. “TJ’s Creamy Almond Butter is more affordable than other almond butters, and it offers a variety of micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and riboflavin,” she says. Plus, it has no added sugar — major win.
Per 2 tablespoons: 190 cal, 17 g fat (1.5 g sat), 7 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.
“Snacks can be a challenge for anyone watching their carb intake, and these mini bags of trail mix are an excellent, portable option because they offer a mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and protein,” says Clark.
Per 1 baggie: 210 cal, 14 g fat (2 g sat), 16 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.
Seeds and seed-based products really hit the spot when you want some crunchy, sweet nuttiness, say Beacom and Hassing. “The only caveat we have is that you need to watch your portion sizes with seeds and nuts because they can add up quickly. Using them as an ingredient in a salad or stir-fry rather than a snack will help you control your portion.”
Per ⅓ container 3: 120 cal, 9 g fat (6 g sat), 8 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 45 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein
These carrot spirals only have two ingredients: carrots and sea salt; plus they've got half the carbs and more nutrients than typical pasta, says , R.D.N., a Chicago-based dietitian. Her recommendation: Sauté them and dress them up with olive oil and a little bit of (also from TJ's).
Per 1/4 container: 35 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 8 g carb, 4 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, <1g protein.
When you're eating low-carb, sliced cheese beats sliced bread, and TJ’s has a great cheese selection. “I love that they offer different types of cheeses that are super hard to find at traditional supermarkets,” says Clevenger.
Per 1/7 package, 1 ounce: 120 cal, 10 g fat (5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 7 g protein.
“These individual turkey burgers are a quick and versatile source of lean protein. They can be defrosted and crumbled into soups, stir-fries, or cauli-rice bowls,” says Clark. Plus, as you reduce your carb consumption, adequate protein intake will help boost satiety, she says.
Per 1 burger, 4 ounces: 180 cal, 10 g fat (2.5 g sat), 0 g carb, 0 g sugar, 280 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 22 g protein.
It's so easy to eat more than a handful of nuts (the recommended portion). To the rescue: These pre-portioned packets of almonds, which are easy to take with you when you need a quick bite on the go.
Per 1 baggie: 210 cal, 16 g fat (1 g sat), 9 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 9 g protein.
Move over, zucchini noodles; broccoli slaw is where it's at. "This is a great reduced-carb substitution for pasta because it has a spaghetti-like consistency. And it only takes a minute or two to cook,” says Clark.
Per 1 ¼ cup, ¼ container ounces: 25 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 5 g carb, 0 g sugar, 25 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
These chips are crunchy, salty, and chock-full of nutrients like vitamin A (important for immunity), so they're great for when you’re craving a salty snack on a low-carb eating plan, says Clark.
Per 1/2 container, 1 ounce: 150 cal, 9 g fat (1 g sat), 11 g carb, 4 g sugar, 220 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein.