This blog is in no way affiliated with Target. It is not sponsored, nor am I receiving payment in exchange for you purchasing any items from this post. Except for the advertisement that pops up in the feed. Click on that and help a girl pay rent. (P.S. It's me. I'm the girl. Help me pay rent).
This post commemorates the first of my "hidden healthy treasures you can find at stores you would least expect healthy food at" series. Ok, I know. Don't roll your eyes at me. It's a working title.
I used to be the Target girl. I practically lived there. Need new workout gear? Let's go to Target. Need some cheap as heck kitchenware? Oh, Targets like 5 minutes away. New sponge? Target. I honestly will never forget the moment I was having a mental breakdown my sophomore year of college and I was on the phone with my brother (who lived 15 minutes away at the time) and he said, "Isa. Why don't I just pick you up and we can go to Target for 5 hours?" I kid you not. That was our conversation, verbatim.
The point is, I used to freaking love Target. Now, not so much. I'm more of a weekly farmers market type of gal with an occasional grocery trip run to restock on anything that I run out of. I like to shop local, fresh and organic, you see. And then some maniac (my mother) reminded me of my Target obsession, and I had an epiphany:
Could there be healthy, I mean truly healthy, items you can find at Target?
Let me tell ya, friends. I was surprised.
1. Nut Butter
99.9% of grocery store almond and peanut butter has added sugar. Even at Whole Foods, you have to dig to the back of the shelf to find the one brand that's affordable with no added sugar. Target has both: affordable + no added sugar. A double freaking whammy. Added bonus, it's o r g a n i c and affordable.
2. Riced Veggies
I'm a major proponent for riced veggies. I think it's a fun way to eat vegetables and it's super easy to make for dinner and feel gourmet AF, plus all you have to do is pop open the bag and put it on a pan. The most effort you'll put in is maybe finding the scissors that were supposed to be in the kitchen (sore subject) or reenacting salt bae. The Green Giant brand of riced veggies at Target (pictured) has nothing but cauliflower, mushrooms and asparagus in the ingredients. No added preservatives or weird junk. Plus, now that we know cauliflower is darn good for you, we might as well cook it for every meal.
3. Organic Seaweed Snacks
You're probably thinking, "LAME," but seaweed is darn good for you. Especially if you're a lazy thyroid victim like me. It's rich in iodine, which is a necessary nutrient for proper thyroid function. Seaweed snacks are also loaded with vitamin C, A and calcium. Vegans, pay attention, because sea veggies are another way to get plant-based B12 :) Hoorah!
4. Birch Benders Paleo Pancake Mix
I can't remember how my love for Birch Benders came about, but it is well deserved. Birch Benders Paleo Pancake Mix is so fluffy, you honestly can't tell the difference between that and a non-paleo pancake. While it's not vegan because it does have eggs, the ingredients are pure nonetheless. All you have to do is add water to the mix and pan fry like a normal pancake!
5. Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Cucina Antica is always a pleasant delight to see. It seems so authentic. It's likely the hand-written branding, but it could also have to do with the fact that they import tomatoes from Italy to legitimately add to their recipe. So.darn.pure. No preservatives, no added sugar, no cheap inflammatory oils. The Tomato Basil flavor consists of imported Italian tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, salt, basil, white pepper and black pepper. Like I said, so darn pure.
6. Organic Chia Seeds
You can find chia seeds everywhere nowadays, but it's hard to find them at the right price.
"Swoooop" - Target. Yes, you can find affordable organic chia seeds at Target. I add about 2 tbsp to my smoothie every morning for fiber, calcium (SPOILER: chia is a great source for dairy-free calcium!) and healthy anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat. #superfood
7. 100% Pure Avocado Oil
Avocado oil might seem like a new trend, but it's here to stay. At least in my kitchen. While olive oil is absolutely freaking remarkable in terms of health benefits and, specifically, what it can do for our heart health, avocado oil has a special place in the kitchen too. Olive oil is best consumed raw because the fat is least likely to oxidize and turn into free radicals in our body, while avocado oil is best to cook with because it has a higher smoke temperature (meaning it will take more heat exposure in order for it to oxidize). Extra virgin olive oil & coconut oil have a smoke point between 324-374 degrees F, while avocado oil has a smoke point of 450-550 degrees F.
8. Pacific Organic Vegetable Lentil & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Pacific brand soups are generally safe for your cart. They're made in recyclable, toxin-free packaging + rarely have added sugar (later, inflammation!) As a plant eater myself, I often consume lentils as a protein source because they are the third most abundant protein source out of all legumes and nuts. They are also abundant in soluble fiber (which most Americans are deficient in) and therefore help to balance blood sugar, promote weight loss and lower cholesterol.
9. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate
Ok maybe this isn't a healthy healthy item, but it's one to recognize. Endangered Species Chocolate is made with entirely ethically traded and natural ingredients. They donate 10% of their profits to wildlife conservation efforts. When you invest in Endangered Species Dark Chocolate, you are helping farmers in West Africa make a living and viable future. Endangered Species helps these farmers by rebuilding local infrastructures, providing health insurance and supplying education opportunities for children. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate is also dairy free, unlike other major chocolate brands. Make sure to always check the label! Also not healthy, but I should probably mention... Target sells vegan Haagen-Dazs. Who knew that was a thing?!
10. Organic Frozen Chopped Kale
I typically buy a range of fresh leafy greens at the farmer's market or a super green blend in the refrigerator section at Trader Joe's and then freeze it, because frozen greens are much less potent with the same amount of nutrients as fresh greens in a smoothie. AND you don't have to worry about using it all before it goes bad. Target luckily has pre-packaged organic frozen chopped kale, which would be so easy to just throw in a smoothie or on a pan with some avocado oil for a little stir fry. Yum. #hungry
11. Suja Organic Plant Protein Milk
This was a new discovery for me. My go-to milk alternative is Ripple Pea Milk or Pacific Foods Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp Milk, but I thought I would give Suja's milk a try. Forewarning: it is more expensive than the former options, but the reason I was inclined to try it is because of the ingredients (surprise, surprise) and nutritional facts. With a quick look at the nutrition label, I was able to discover that it has just as much protein as dairy milk, plus it has added fiber (acacia fiber, a personal favorite fiber supplement) that outweighs the carbohydrates, making it have virtually -1 net carbs. I also loved that it has a little bit of added healthy fat from the sunflower seed butter (sunflower seeds are also food for the #thyroid) and 8g of protein per serving, which is more than a single egg!
12. Vegan Baking Ingredients
Among the plethora of pantry and refrigerator staples, Target also has a shelf of Bob's Red Mill vegan and plant-based baking staples like almond flour, egg replacer, ground flax seeds, coconut flour, 1-1 gluten free flour replacement, all the good stuff!
In addition to all these fun and affordable healthy items, you can also find the below at a really good price (Target brand tends to be cheaper, and has organic options):
Organic Vegetable Broth
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Organic Protein Powder
Organic Vitamins (feel free to reach out to me directly for recommendations)
Organic Pea Milk
Plant-Based Protein Bars (feel free to reach out to me directly for recommendations)
Fresh & organic leafy greens
Vegan frozen entrees
The list goes on. So as you may have already noticed, I was relatively impressed. That being said, shopping at Target does prohibit limiting the amount of waste we endure. After my mini shopping experience, I realized how much I bought that was packaged in plastic or boxed. This is where farmers market or local community farm shopping comes in handy because you can bring your own reusable bag and load up with items from the bulk section (where you just scoop into reusable jars or bags) and/or go bagless! Especially because produce bags aren't recyclable, it's worth the mindfulness.