I went on a clean keto food hunt today just for you! I received a message from an Instagram follower who needed help sifting through the aisles at Trader Joe’s, her favorite place to grocery shop, for solid keto-friendly options. Of course, I was up for the challenge! There is nothing more fun for me than perusing grocery stores in search of the best, cleanest, healthiest products they have to offer so that you don’t have to waste your time doing the same. Leave it to the nutritionist and foodie in me to do the dirty work.
I managed to come away from Trader Joe’s with a pretty fantastic list of 40+ food items that I found to be keto-friendly AND real food ingredients. Win! I love that most of Trader Joe’s products are affordable too so this list makes a great reference for those following a keto diet on a budget. Please keep in mind that there may be some shortcuts made in terms of food quality, but these products could still be great options when pennies or time are tight.
WHAT IS CLEAN KETO?
Finding the supposed “healthy” products that contain potentially harmful ingredients is an even more intriguing aspect of this job. In my opinion, Trader Joe’s is notorious for products that seem great at first glance only to turn to the ingredient label and find plenty of chemicals, gums, acids, processed oils, and sugar in all forms.
This leads into the discussion we need to have around food quality and what I consider “clean” keto. The products listed in this post, and any other information I provide about keto food choices, are all based on real food ingredients only. There is not nearly enough discussion about food quality in the keto community. I firmly believe this causes people even more health issues as they make the switch to a keto diet without concern for the quality of the foods that make up their new low-carb, high-fat diet. So, there may be some items missing from this list that you would think make the keto-friendly cut. While they might be considered keto based solely on their macronutrient ratios, they do not make the clean keto cut because of the ingredients used. Let’s take a look at the criteria I use to determine if it’s a clean keto product.
CLEAN KETO CRITERIA:
- Animal products from properly-raised animals
- No gluten or grains
- No refined sugars
- Grass-fed, full-fat, raw when possible, dairy
- Organic ingredients when possible
- No soy or soy derivatives
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Preservatives derived from real food ingredients only and kept to a minimum
NOT CLEAN KETO:
- Processed sugars: sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, etc.
- Refined flours and starches: unbleached flour, wheat flour, rice flour, modified food starch, corn starch, etc.
- Processed, denatured oils: canola oil, soybean oil, safflower/sunflower oil, vegetable oil, etc.
- Gums, fillers, and additives: dry milk powder, carrageenan, xanthan gum, etc.
Please note: This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have these ingredients, it just means that in your quest for a clean keto lifestyle, you are searching for alternatives that don’t contain these ingredients and keeping these ingredients to an occasional basis.
Last thing to mention before we get into this epic list: Remember to consider the items on this list as options that may or may not work in your version of a keto diet. Some people can eat more carbohydrates while others need to minimize them to feel their best. What works for you isn’t necessarily what your neighbor should be doing. Keep an open mind with these products and if you’re interested in including them on your plate, test them! Have a serving, then notice how you feel afterward. If you’d like, check your ketones to see if you remained in ketosis. With this information, you can then make an informed decision as to whether that product becomes part of your keto diet or not. What I’m trying to say here is, there’s no need to be the keto police!
40 CLEAN KETO PRODUCTS AT TRADER JOE’S
It’s always such a big win in my book to find sources of good quality, properly-raised meat products, even better if they’re a good deal! For those tight on time, the frozen burger patties and fully cooked pork belly make for easy weeknight meal staples. Grab some Chomps beef sticks to stash in your purse, desk, or glovebox for a healthy grab-n-go option!
Grass Fed Angus Beef Burgers
Ground Buffalo Burgers
Wild Alaskan Salmon Fillets
Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon
Chomps Grass-Fed Beef Sticks
Of course, you can get all kinds of produce at Trader Joe’s, but what I love are the great frozen veggie options they’ve come out with over the past few years. All of these can be cooked up in a flash as a quick and easy side dish that pairs well with anything.
Antipasto Mediterranean Vegetables
Organic Riced Cauliflower
Organic Rainbow Cauliflower
NUTS AND SEEDS
There’s nothing like a solid scoop of nut butter or a handful of nuts to get your healthy fat intake up for the day and Trader Joe’s makes some really great nut butter. It’s hard to find raw almond butter these days, so I was pumped to see it available here and with only one ingredient; almonds. Stock up on chia seeds and hemp seeds for your puddings and overnight hemp cereals. And, don’t forget the tahini so you can make this cauli-hummus!
Mixed Nut Butter
Raw Almond Butter
Organic Chia Seeds
Just A Handful Of Almonds
Finding great healthy fat options is always fun too, especially when they come in single-serve packets like these coconut oil packets. Trader Joe’s also carries everyone’s favorite butter, Kerrygold and the best coconut cream. It’s SO hard to find coconut cream that doesn’t contain other gums and additives. TJ’s makes it happen!
Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter
Organic Coconut Cream
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Packets
CONDIMENTS AND SPICES
For me, the most important thing when it comes to cooking delicious keto-friendly meals is adding the flavor! Sauces, salsas, spices, and dips are all key pieces to success with a flavorful keto diet, especially when fat is the main ingredient. Trader Joe’s has great salsa options that pair well with chicken thighs or pulled pork. Their Everything But The Bagel Seasoning is amazing on eggs and roasted vegetables. And, of course, we can’t be keto and NOT talk about guac! Just put it on everything and you’ll be a happy camper.
Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Blend
Roasted Garlic & Herb Butter Spread
Miyokos Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
Organic Coconut Aminos
Hatch Valley Salsa
Dairy-Free Cashew Fiesta Dip
Chunky Spicy Guacamole
Avocado’s Number Guacamole
If you’ve been on the hunt for raw cheeses, Trader Joe’s usually has a decent selection. They also have the perfect snack portions of almonds and olives already divvied out for you to grab and stash in your purse or backpack. The frozen coconut chunks would make a great summertime cool down option or as a base for a fatty smoothie. And, of course, I had to include chocolate.
Just A Handful Of Olives
Just Coconut Chunks
Raw Asiago Cheese
Greek Olive Medley
Montezuma’s Absolute Black
One of my all-time favorite kombucha brands has landed in Trader Joe’s! Drinking ¼ of the bottle at a time is all you need to get the healthy gut benefits it provides with its probiotic power. For those looking to kick a soda habit once and for all, Spindrift will make it happen. Or, if you’re looking to make some low sugar cocktails, it makes the perfect mixer!
Brew Dr. Kombucha
Organic Coconut Milk
Spindrift Sparkling Water
And, last but not least, don’t leave the store without buying yourself a gorgeous bunch of flowers! It’s the ultimate form of self-care to buy yourself something beautiful to look at throughout the day. A bouquet of flowers always does the trick for me and Trader Joe’s has wonderful ones at the best prices in town! Always buy yourself flowers.