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The Worst Holiday Foods at Trader Joe's, According to Dietitians

These groceries are not on the nice list.

The holidays are all about eating and drinking and being merry, but some foods can leave you feeling stuffed as a stocking on Christmas morning. While Trader Joe's has tons of festive foods, not every one of them are on the nice list of top dietitians.

Here's what Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board members Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, of Real Nutrition, and Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and a nutritionist in private practice, recommend shoppers skip during those last-minute holiday trips to Trader Joe's.

Related: The Best Trader Joe's Foods of 2021

Truffle Cream Filled Gnocchi

trader joe's truffle cream filled gnocchi
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
Per 1 cup: 220 calories, 9 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 580 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 6 g protein

Cauliflower Gnocchi's festive cousin Truffle Cream Filled Gnocchi sounds like an upscale pasta dish fit for family feasts. However, both Young and Shapiro don't recommend it.

"This dish is high in saturated fat as well as sodium and offers very little nutritional value. Not worth it unless you are a real gnocchi lover," Young says.

"[It] contains 25% the daily recommended amount of sodium without any additional seasonings," Shapiro adds. "Not ideal for someone with heart issues or high blood pressure!"

Chocolate Passport

trader joe's chocolate passport set
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
Per 1.6 oz: 570 calories, 41 g fat (26 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 29 g sugar, 8 g protein

Another Trader Joe's food to skip this year is the Chocolate Passport. While it brings together lots of flavors from all over the world—like fruit, wood, flowers, vanilla, and more—it is also high in calories, fat, carbs, and sugar. Young and Shapiro both say it's a pass.

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Candy Cane Joe Joe's Ice Cream

trader joe's candy cane joe joe's ice cream
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
Per 2/3: 290 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 85 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 33 g sugar, 3 g protein

It's no surprise to see ice cream on this list, even during the holiday season. Though filled with two of the most popular ingredients of the month (chocolate and peppermint), this option is very dense.

"At nearly 300 calories and more than 30 grams of sugar for a 2/3 cup portion, I'd pass on this one and enjoy a piece of candy cane dark chocolate instead," Young says.

And Shapiro, noting that the second ingredient listed is cane sugar, agrees.

Peppermint Brownies

trader joe's peppermint white chocolate brownies
Courtesy of Trader Joe's
Per 1 brownie: 130 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 65 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 1 g protein

Trader Joe's brags that its Peppermint Brownies are better than Sugar Plums. One serving of this dessert is a better option than others, but it depends on what you eat with it, according to Shapiro. "[It] may spike blood sugar unless paired with supplemental protein and fiber snack," she says.

For more on what's happening in the holiday section of your favorite grocery store, check out:

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