15 Best Trader Joe's Foods to Stock Up On, According to Dietitians
Trader Joe's winning combination of quality ingredients, affordable prices, a variety of healthy products, and a carefully curated selection of signature seasonal items is hard to resist. Despite having to wait in the occasional long line (which does tend to move at a rapid pace), this grocery store chain's potential to add more savings to your wallet while subtracting inches from your waistline through its delicious selection of foods makes the in-person visit to TJ's well worth the effort.
However, the huge, often crowded storefronts as well as its vast array of standard and seasonal product offerings can sometimes make shopping at Trader Joe's seem like sensory overload. In my experience, if you don't walk into TJ's with a clear idea of exactly what you want, it's easy to find yourself listlessly bobbing and weaving through the aisles for hours on end with your arms full of random products you're less than confident about really needing. Worst of all, getting caught up in the hustling pace of Trader Joe's, especially during peak shopping rush hour times (i.e., weekdays after work, or Saturday and Sunday afternoons), could leave little opportunity to fully process the nutritional value of the items you might be adding to your cart. Fortunately, we know a number of dietitians who are also big fans of TJ's.
"I love Trader Joe's and almost always shop there for cooking demos with my cardiac rehab patients!" says Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES.
To help you get the most out of your next visit to Trader Joe's with more vitamin and nutrient-packed choices to help round out a well-balanced day of eating, we asked Berger along with a few other dietitians about their must-have TJ's grocery picks. These beloved dietitian-approved Trader Joe's grocery picks can help inspire further refinement of your own usual shopping list—and for more advice to help you make smart, nutritious buys while grocery shopping, be sure to also check out 15 Best Costco Foods to Buy, According to Dietitians.
Truffle Marcona Almonds
"I absolutely love the Truffle Marcona Almonds," says Berger. "Pair them with a fruit and you have a great hiking snack that gives you a satisfying dose of flavor, protein, healthy fats, fiber, and carbs."
Trader Joe's Rolled Oats
"Trader Joe's has their own brand of rolled oats," explains Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our Expert Medical Board. "Oats are a good source of beta-glucan fiber that is good for heart and gut health. Oats also contain polyphenols including a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which can help fight inflammation. These rolled oats can be used to make overnight oats, energy bites, and you can grind them to make flour for a nutrient-rich base to your baked goods.
Trader Joe's Egg Bites With Cheese, Spinach, & Kale
Those who love a good frittata for breakfast or brunch but are short on time to prepare one must try Trader Joe's Egg Bites Cheese, Spinach & Kale. These protein-rich egg bites are great grab-and-go nosh able to fill you up and keep you energized through lunch.
"If you are looking for a pop of protein at breakfast or for a snack, Trader Joe's egg bites are a great solution," suggests Goodson. "With 150 calories and 12 grams of protein per serving (two egg bites), this is a great way to power your day with protein. Plus, all you have to do is heat them up!"
Cauliflower Crisps Snack
For savory snackers looking to dodge the saturated fats of classic potato chips while upping the ante on their daily veggie and/or fiber intake, Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps are the way to go.
"With 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving, Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps Snack are a great swap for chips. Plus, the first ingredient is cauliflower!" says Goodson.
Frozen Acai Bowls
"Acai bowls at a restaurant can run you over $10 a bowl. But getting pre-made frozen ones at Trader Joe's will put you back around $4 or $5, max," Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, tells Eat This, Not That!
"These bowls are packed with antioxidant-rich acai berry puree along with other wholesome ingredients," adds Manaker. "In a pinch, these bowls help meet your fruit quota for the day in a delicious way. Top this bowl with some nut butter and chia seeds for a balanced dish."
"Envy apples have that balanced sweetness that you expect from an apple," explains Manaker. "But they aren't only a naturally sweet addition to snack boards and recipes that provide an antioxidant and fiber boost. These apples have a flesh that stays white longer, making them a perfect option if you like to pre-slice or chop your apples—especially if you don't enjoy eating apple slices that start browning quickly. Also, these apples are a great choice for making homemade apple chips," she suggests.
"Freeze-dried strawberries are a crunchy treat that contains no added sugar and the same nutrients that fresh strawberries offer," says Manaker. "They have a longer shelf-life. Also, they are great snacks to bring when you don't want to worry about mushy and smushed berries but you still want to enjoy some fruit!"
"Having steamed lentils on hand makes for a simple plant-based meal with almost no prep required," advises Manaker. "From power or grain bowls to salads to even soup, these lentils add some serious plant-based proteins and fiber to many healthy dishes."
Vegan Kale, Cashew, & Basil Pesto
"This pesto is vegan-friendly and is made with quality ingredients that elevate my Caprese sandwich in seconds," says Manaker. She also notes the versatility of Trader Joe's pesto.
"Yes, the obvious way to enjoy this pesto is over pasta," says Manaker. "But I love using it as a sandwich condiment instead of mayo or as a dip for a hearty cracker. I will sometimes even use it as a marinade for fish or chicken."
"KIND bars are made with whole ingredients," explains Manaker. "They are a perfect snack to carry in my purse for when days fall off the rails and I need something nutrient-packed and satisfying ASAP."
"The combo of protein, fiber, and good fats make these bars my go-to satisfying snack on busy days," she adds. "I love stocking up on these so I have a supply to toss in my bag so I have a good-for-you snack on hand when the hunger pangs strike."
Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning
"I absolutely live by Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning in the kitchen!" says Caroline Leslie, MS, RD, LD, RYT, and owner of Whole Self Nutrition. "One part of healthy eating is making sure your food tastes good and this seasoning makes any savory dish delicious. I love it on eggs, avocado toast, and roasted veggies."
Organic Vodka Pasta Sauce
"Trader Joe's creamy vodka pasta sauce is something that I never leave the store without," says Caroline Thomason, RD, LDN, CDCES. "I love having a variety of sources on hand to make a weeknight dinner prep as easy as possible. Oftentimes, I will pair their pasta sauce with their red lentil penne pasta for a huge boost of fiber and protein to my weeknight meals."
Dorot Gardens Crushed Garlic & Ginger Cubes
"The frozen garlic and ginger cubes are my time-saving secret," Melanie Marcus MA, RD, tells Eat This, Not That! From stir-fries to soups, they're perfectly prepped and full of flavor."
Hearts of Palm Pasta
"Hearts of palm pasta is my go-to for Monday night dinner when I just don't have the energy to even boil water," says Marcus. "They're low carb and the entire container has only 60 calories. [Also, it has] 5 grams of fiber!"
Organic Dark Chocolate Half-Coated Rice Cake Thins
"The rice cake thins are a nice change up from my usual dark chocolate treat, and so much easier than making them at home!" says Marcus.