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Trader Joes for diabetics?

My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes... Trader Joes has just recently opened in our part of Florida and we've yet to go. Is there anything there worth making the (hour-long each way) trip for when we're low-carbing it? I know they have lots of frozen stuff, is any of it low-carb/diabetic-friendly? We're eating lots of vegetables, lunchmeat/meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, and not much processed... He says I should eat what I want, but I'm doing the same as him just with a bit of bread added for carbs. No point going if all I can do is look at the shelves and drool.

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  1. We eat "less carb" in our house, not "low carb". We still eat bread, rice, etc but in small quantities. I do a lot of our shopping at TJs because of the quality and prices.

    They have a great selection of nuts and trail mix. We love their Spicy Egg White Salad (try it on half a toasted Sandwich Thin). Their Smooth & Creamy hummus is great -- we always have a container in our fridge. They sell a great low-carb tortilla too that we keep on hand for fajitas and wraps. (note: I'm in SoCal so I don't know if the tortillas are regional or not). The frozen Eggplant Cutlets are great -- I like them with some marinara and fresh mozzerella melted on top. Their frozen indian entrees are great and very authentic -- we always have a few in our freezer. The new Lamb Koftas are DH's new favorite.

    1. You can eat anything when you are diabetic, just less of some things.

      Learn to read labels and enjoy your Trader Joe's. Plenty of choices in every aisle with high quality and low prices.

      [I know my blood sugar is controlled with 20 grams or less of carbs per meal; lots of testing when first diagnosed. Your husband should be hovering around a threshold. Stick to it, add fiber to each meal to feel full and you'll be enjoying this new way of eating and shopping.]

      1. whether it's worth making the drive is a function of what other options you have closer.
        they have a good, well-priced cheese section.
        they do carry nuts and seeds, but can't imagine that you don't have those available at any nearby grocery store. same story with lunch meat and eggs. every convenience store sells lunch meat and eggs, yes?

        what do you have available to you closer?
        if the answer is "not much" that is one thing. . . .

        1. Don't underestimate the frozen fruits and vegetables at TJ's. Not the prepared ones, but the plain ones. Mango chunks, blueberries, very cherry blend, strawberries, haricots verts, broccoli, corn, tri-color bell peppers, artichoke hearts, etc. They also have a very good selection of dried fruits and nuts. Cheese and dairy, pasta sauces with no sugar added, excellent quality olive oils, vinegars, etc. They will also have some seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables that will appeal.

          You can explore here:
          and also look at the Frequent Flyer under Product News to see what they are featuring now.

          1. IMO, TJ's low carb tortillas are far superior than any brand I can buy at Publix (which is the only grocery store near me in FL). I'm not a low carb person, but I happen to really like the TJ's low carb tortillas, so when I drive to TJ's (also an hour from me in FL), I buy all they have on the shelf and keep them in my freezer. The other item that I buy in large quantity at TJ's is cheese, because of the huge selection and the great prices compared to Publix. Hard cheeses will keep for months in your fridge.

            1. It's not really about where you buy, it's what you buy. Start looking at the labels, it's a great first step. Careful on the lunch meat, usually has a lot of sugar in it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: treb

                Applegate is a great brand for deli meat, also sold at TJs.

              2. Thanks everyone... sounds like it's still worth a trip. I'll have to make him take me down there when he's feeling a bit better. His sugar was massively high at diagnosis, so we really can't eat 'anything just less', we have to do it very carefully for at least a month or so...

                6 Replies
                1. re: Kajikit

                  I find very little at TJs in terms of their prepared foods that's not too carby for me. But they have a good selection of wild caught frozen fish and shrimp, which work really well for us. And good prices on Greek yogurt, cold cuts, eggs, milk, and especially nuts, which you might want for his driving hours. Oh, and cheeses and cheese sticks.

                  1. re: mcf

                    mcf---be careful with shrimp @ TJ's. I know you are big on food purity. I looked at some of their product from South America and to me it sure looked like it was loaded with added phosphates, undeclared on the label. Excessive "sudsing" when run under water and cooking up to a glassy translucence instead of opaque are the usual indicators of presence of these chemicals. I can't say for certain because there is no definitive test available.

                    1. re: zackly

                      I think those are the Argentinian ones? Very weird texture, not labeled as such.

                      1. re: mcf

                        I'm hooked on the Argentinian shrimp and haven't had any issues nor does the ingredient list include TSP.

                    2. re: mcf

                      I go there for staples - grass fed meat, cheese, vegetables, nuts, Applegate deli meats, chicken sausages, olive oil, Kerrgygold butter, coconut oil. None of the prepared foods land in my cart either.

                    3. re: Kajikit

                      I suggest your husband see a good nutritionist. It's going to take more than meds to get him back on track.

                    4. I have aTJs within walking distance of my home. I buy lots of stuff there (hubby is T1 diabetic) but virtually none of TJ's prepared foods. Mainly staples like their Spanish olive oil (good price and taste), flash-frozen wild caught fish (as mentioned by mcf), some produce that is better priced than our local supermarket chain (limes, lemons, avocados), cheeses (as others have mentioned), and bottled fizzy water. I shop there because of good quality products at good prices. For the cost of gas for a 2 hour drive, I'd stay closer to home and pay more.

                      1. That is a long drive..... There are certainly options there but if you have a store closer with good prices on nuts/seeds and sales on proteins it may not be worth the gas money and time. You would need to bring a cooler of course.
                        TJs saves me considerable money because i live in an area where the others stores are all consistantly much more expensive, just depends if that's the case for you too.

                        1. I'm also diabetic and shop at Trader Joe's. I don't shop there as much I did previously but that's due to convenience and the lines in NYC. I tend to avoid a lot of the prepared foods/frozen dinners because they aren't worth the carbs to me even though they all look delicious. I'm genuinely envious of people who post here with all the stuff they buy that I know will put me in tailspin if I ate it. Here's what I normally get there:

                          + Greek yoghurt - usually Fage but sometimes TJ's house brand too.
                          + Nuts - whole almonds and cashews are damn cheap
                          + Frozen Fish
                          + Tinned Smoked Trout - delicious, smoky fishy crack in a can
                          + Tinned sardines in olive oil
                          + Oils - olive oil and sesame oil. I may start buying coconut oil there.
                          + Condiments - not that much though, because I don't use them often.
                          + Yogi Ginger Tea - it's only $3 there as opposed to $5.50 everywhere else.
                          + Jarred olives or jarred roasted red peppers
                          + Kerrygold Irish butter
                          + Cheddar
                          + Applegate Farms cold cuts. They're only $3.69-$4.39 here vs. $6-$7.50 everywhere else.
                          + Eggs
                          + Various fresh fruits and vegetables depending on what they have

                          Every once in a while when I'm truly craving it, I'll get low carb tortillas or some whole grain bread if I really want a grilled cheese sandwich. I need to dive into the their frozen vegetables more, but I'm generally not a frozen vegetable person. Overall, if you don't buy a lot of the frozen meals, you'll be fine. Shop for "real" food and the basics and you'll do well.