14 Items to Buy at Trader Joe’s
A Registered Dietitian shares her favorite 14 items to buy at Trader Joe’s and her favorite healthy ways to use them.
If you follow this blog or my social media at all, then you know I am a die-hard Trader Joe’s fan.
I do about 85% of my weekly grocery shopping at good old TJ’s and just love trying out their new products.
People that are not TJ shoppers often ask what the heck I buy when I go there, so I thought it would be fun to do a post on my favorite (current) items to buy Trader Joe’s.
The Items I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
1. Cruciferous Crunch Collection
This has become my go-to bagged salad mix. I like that it’s hearty, which makes a really good base for winter salads. It’s also packed with healthy, nutritious greens like kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli so I feel good when I eat it.
2. Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts were everywhere in 2017 and I became a fan, but only if they are shaved or cut very small. I don’t care for whole brussels sprouts, so I really like these shaved brussels from TJ’s because it saves a step and they come out so crunchy when roasted in the oven. This recipe for Braised Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Aioli from Hunger Thirst Play has become a favorite at our house…so good!!!!
3. Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing
This dressing is handy to have on hand and full of flavor. It packs a bit of a punch and truth be told comes out very thick, but also has a similar taste to miso dressing you get at Japanese restaurants. I also really love that it is made with fresh, simple ingredients. That being said, it doesn’t last very long once you buy it and it is little pricey (in my opinion), ringing in at almost $4 a bottle. But it’s hearty enough to use for dressing up kale and other fibrous greens.
4. Steamed Lentils
I am totally team lentil. They are hearty, nutritious and make Meatless Mondays super easy. That being said, a lot of dry lentils require a long cooking time. These steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s are pre-cooked and can be found in the refrigerated section (by the produce). They can be eaten cold (great on salads) or warmed up in the microwave for 3 minutes.
One of my favorite ways to prepare them is with Curry Caramelized Onions or simply to heat them up in the microwave and then add prepared bruschetta (see next item) and serve. So simple and so good!
5. Prepared Bruschetta
The perfect blend of tomatoes, basil and garlic, this sauce is so good! I add it to cooked lentils (see above), scrambled eggs or on pasta. In a pinch it’s great on grilled chicken to make a delicious dish!
6. Fresh Lemons
I always throw a couple lemons in my cart when grocery shopping, even if they aren’t on my list. I add them to water, make vinaigrette, or use on grilled chicken or salmon.
The lemons at Trader Joe’s are always less expensive than my local larger grocery store so I pick up a couple every time I go.
7. Ground Turkey/Chicken
I can’t count the number of times that ground turkey or chicken has saved me at meal time. It goes great with scrambled eggs in the morning, making turkey/chicken burgers for lunch or meatballs for dinner. It cooks quickly and the whole family likes it so it’s a win-win for me.
This middle eastern inspired bean salad is so tasty and great for you! An easy way to add protein and fiber to your meals, I typically just eat right out of the container and pair it with a salad at lunch or serve alongside steamed salmon for dinner.
9. Frozen Wild Salmon
We are huge fans of salmon in my house and the frozen filets from Trader Joe’s are so handy! Relatively inexpensive, they fit nicely in our budget (~$6 per 8oz portion) and make dinner delicious and simple. We have had this salmon baked, formed into burgers and grilled, roasted, broiled and everything in between. You can always find one in my freezer and it’s a staple on my grocery list.
10. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Blend
A cult favorite at Trader Joe’s. I’ve written about this delicious seasoning blend before, but it deserves another mention. Plus it’s only $1.99!
This seasoning blend is so full of flavor and adds great flavor to so many dishes! I love it on top of scrambled eggs but it also adds so much great flavor to grilled chicken, on top of salads, and on avocado toast. Do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of this if you see at your local store.
11. Latin Style Black Bean Soup
My friend Sarah got me hooked on Latin Black Bean Soup years ago and it has become a staple in our meals. When I don’t have time to make a batch, the packaged soup from Trader Joe’s is my equally as good stand in. So much flavor and it’s so creamy and thick without having any added cream.
12. Single Serving Manzanilla Olives
I love green olives…to me they offer the perfect salty bite. These prepackaged olives are the perfect snack on the go. They are shelf stable, so you can just throw a pack (or 2) in your purse and have them when you get a craving for something salty or just need a little snack to tide you over. Plus they cost about $0.99 each, so you can grab a few and stock up.
13. Dijon Mustard
I great up in a mayonnaise family…I felt like we bought it in bulk. Once I got older, I tried to break my mayonnaise heavy sandwich addiction and this dijon mustard totally did the trick. It’s semi-spicy which makes it stand out compare to there dijon mustards I’ve tried. It adds so much flavor to sandwiches, tuna salad, roasted chicken and baked salmon. You can always find a jar of it in our fridge.
14. Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
I had the hardest time finding unsweetened coconut at my local grocery store but good old Trader Joe’s always had this in stock, at a reasonable price.
I love added this coconut to my morning smoothies, or sprinkling over sliced apples topped with peanut butter. If you are coconut fan, you will love this unsweetened version that offers the same great coconut flavor, without the added sugar.
To keep it real, I also would like to share the items that I always buy at other grocery stores (usually Safeway)…
Items I don’t Buy at Trader Joe’s
- Sliced Bread – I’ve tried a few different types of bread from TJ’s and I am not a fan. I find them too dense and also find that their baked goods don’t have a very long shelf life.
- Peanut Butter – my kids just don’t like “natural” peanut butter or almond butter and that is the only type that Trader Joe’s carries.
- Fresh Fish – I am a big fan of the frozen fish selection at TJ’s but their fresh fish is not my favorite. It’s pre-packaged and a bit limited. So I purchase fresh fish elsewhere so that I can have a bigger variety and also select the amount I want to buy.
- Italian Parsley – this might seem very specific but my local TJ’s only sells the curly type of parsley which I can’t stand. I use a lot of italian parsley in recipes, so I end up getting it somewhere else.