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The Best & Worst Fall Foods at Trader Joe's—Ranked!

Here's what to pick in TJ's patch, and what to skip.

From prepared meals to sweet treats, Trader Joe's has an abundant harvest of fall foods on its shelves. "Pumpkin Palooza" as they called it started on Sept. 7, and now a few weeks later everything is as ready as a full orange pumpkin in the patch waiting to be picked.

Since there are dozens of pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, butternut squash, and maple-flavored items available, we turned to registered dietitian, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, nutritionist in private practice, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU, and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board Lisa Young, PhD, RDN to look at which items are the healthiest to enjoy on a brisk autumn day and which you should avoid like your least favorite piece of Halloween candy.

And for more info about what to get and what to skip, here are The Best & Worst Trader Joe's Foods—Ranked!

Worst Trader Joe's Fall Items

Pumpkin Bisque

trader joes pumpkin bisque
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
1 CUP PER SERVING: 390 calories, 27 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (4 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 4 g protein

The Pumpkin Bisque seems like the perfect warm and filling meal but Dr. Young says "a 1 cup serving contains nearly 400 calories and 40% of your saturated fat for the day. I'd skip this and enjoy the autumn harvest soup instead."

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

trader joes pumpkin cheesecake
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
PER SERVING (1/6th OF THE CAKE): 430 calories, 25 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 250 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (1 g fiber, g sugar), 6 g protein

What Trader Joe's calls a "creamy dessert…made with loads of rich, smooth cream cheese, impressive amounts of real pumpkin," Dr. Young calls a flop. She says to pass on this one because "460 calories for a slice is quite high." Instead, "opt for something less decadent, unless of course it's your favorite!"

Related: 4 New Menu Items You'll See at McDonald's This Fall

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Bites

trader joes butternut squash mac and cheese bites
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
3 PIECES PER SERVING: 230 calories, 16 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 5 g protein

Obviously, fried food isn't the best pick anyway, but a "puny portion" of the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Bites (which is just three pieces!) is high in calories and fat thanks to the heavy cream and oil in the ingredients, Dr. Young says.

Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

trader joes pumpkin alfredo sauce
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
1/4 CUP PER SERVING: 90 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2g sugar), 1 g protein

This creamy combo of cheese and pumpkin is also high in calories and fat because of heavy cream, but it's also low in fiber and protein which help keep you full. Dr. Young would skip this, she says, and opt for one of the items below instead.

Best Trader Joe's Fall Items

Fall Leaf Tortilla Chips

trader joes fall leaf tortilla chips
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
16 CHIPS PER SERVING: 130 calories,7  g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, >1 g sugar), 2 g protein

"If you love chips, try these," Dr. Young says about this appropriately shaped snack with a crunch as satisfying as real fall leaves. "They contain fiber without saturated fat and added sugar," she adds, while noting that "The pumpkin and carrot powder give it a great zest" in addition to giving them color.

Related: The Best & Worst New Coffee Drinks This Fall, Dietitian Says

Autumnal Harvest Soup

trader joes autumnal harvest soup
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
1 CUP PER SERVING: 150 calories, 8 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (4 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 3 g protein

Swap the Pumpkin Bisque for what TJ's calls "a medley of some of our favorite chunky harvest produce (including smooth butternut squash, semi-sweet pumpkin, and slow-simmered California tomatoes), seasoned with earthy autumn herbs like rosemary and sage, and finished with rish heavy cream."

Dr. Young says this fiber boost is "very heartwarming and yummy" and gets her seal of approval.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

trader joes pumpkin spice coffee
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

The addition of cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice to this coffee give it a fall flavor without added calories, fat, carbs, and sugar—no dense pumpkin spice coffee creamer needed.

"What an aroma, and the added spices can help boost health, even if just slightly," Dr. Young says about this pick.

For more info about what's happening at the TJ's near you, read these next:

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda