For those of you who watch my Instagram stories, you know I’m a bigggg Trader Joe’s gal. I’m there once a week, but I go HAM (hard as a mothaf*cker, in case you’re wondering). I’ve posted a couple insta stories of what I’ve gotten but for those who don’t follow me (which should probably change..) I decided to do a post to share with y’all my Trader Joe’s must-haves!
First off, I’ll start with a convincing argument of why you should be shopping at Trader Joe’s. When they first built a Trader Joe’s near my house in Kansas City when I was in high school, my mom was ecstatic. Like I said, I was in high school, so I obviously did not understand the hype of just another grocery store. However, once you walk into one of these stores, you realize it’s not your average neighborhood supermarket. With employees sporting Hawaiian shirts, practically begging to help you, you feel a little more at home than you would at any other store.
To me, the most unique thing about TJ’s (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis) is the fact that most of their products are private label. This means that most of their items are a Trader Joe’s brand rather than, say, Kraft or Hostess. After a quick stop on Wikipedia, I learned that TJ’s only has 4,000 products, while a regular grocery store may have up to 50,000 products. That’s quite a difference. However, studies have truly proven that more choices aren’t always better (sorry, my nerd is showing) and TJ’s has been proving that time and time again.
Another interesting thing about the grocery store is that unlike many of your huge supermarkets, there aren’t any rewards programs or coupons (sorry, extreme couponers). However, you don’t really need any of these because Trader Joe’s has figured out how to buy cheap and sell cheap, keeping costs super low. The one exception to this is TJ’s “Fearless Flyer,” which comes out each week boasting ridiculously low prices and promoting their unique products (umm, jalapeno limeade? I’m down).
One last thing for all of my health-conscious readers: According to Wikipedia (my high school English teacher is totally going to cringe at me citing Wikipedia),
“Trader Joe’s has said its private-label products contain no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives, no colors derived from anything other than naturally available products, no genetically modified ingredients, no partially hydrogenated oils (adding trans fat), no MSG. In addition, its private label dairy products use milk from cows not given the artificial growth hormone rBST.”
You know what that means? Trader Joe’s is good. for. you. Damn straight. Alright, enough about the boring stuff. Y’all are here for the goods.
When I first thought about this post, I was just going to do a few favorites. But then I began writing and I was like, shit, I have a lot of favorites. So I’ve decided to do a whole list of items, divided by the section they’re in at Trader Joe’s. Now obviously, this isn’t an entire shopping list. I don’t have things like chicken breasts or pepper on here because you shouldn’t need help with that stuff. I’m only throwing on things I specifically love from Trader Joe’s and buy semi-regularly.
- Pre-Seasoned Brussels Sprouts: I feel bad for brussels sprouts because they always seem to get a bad rap. Brussels sprouts are good, people! And these are the best. The pre-seasoned and pre-chopped brussels sprouts take the hard work out of the preparation and are super yummy. I’ll usually toss these in olive oil and add in some seasoning and then bake them in the oven for 30ish minutes. So easy and so good!
- Organic Baked Tofu: People always think I’m weird because I buy tofu even though I’m not vegetarian at all (just wait till you see me scarf down an In-N-Out burger in like 2 minutes flat). My fondness for tofu started at Noodles & Co. back at home. I would always order sautéed tofu on my pesto cavatappi. However, in Fort Worth we don’t have Noodles (I’m literally contemplating starting a petition to bring one here) so I had to get creative. After a few failed attempts with non-marinated tofu (it’s a whole process of drying them, pressing them, sautéing them… just really annoying in general) I found this magical tofu. Already pressed and marinated, I usually cut it up into little squares, sauté them, then bake them to make them crispy. Perfect for salads, pasta, or by itself. It ain’t Noodles, but it’ll do.
- Watermelon Spears: this is kind of a no-brainer but their pre-sliced watermelon is to die for. I’ll bring it as a “dessert” for my work lunch so I have something sweet without eating something too sugary.
- Persian Cucumbers: I love to chop these up into fourths (long-wise) and have them as a snack at work. I’ve always been a fan of cucumbers and these make them that much more fun to eat!
- Synergy Organic Kombucha: I just recently started with this fad, and I actually like it. Not going to lie, Kombucha is an acquired taste. When I first tasted it, it was very vinegary and strong and I was not a fan. However, I finished the bottle and ended up liking it. There are so many health benefits, it’s hard to pass it up. I’ve only tried this flavor (really adventurous, obviously) but you should definitely try it at least once!
- Spindrift Sparkling Water (lemon): This isn’t your ordinary sparkling water. Imagine a La Croix but with 10x the flavor. That’s what this tastes like. I’ve tried the cucumber (wasn’t a huge fan, to be honest) and the grapefruit (much better) so now it’s time I try the lemon. The grapefruit one wasn’t your ordinary grapefruit “flavoring.” It was all the tart of a really grapefruit and would be absolutely perfect for a low-cal option to mix with your favorite liquor.
- Two Buck Chuck: Ah yes, the famous Two Buck Chuck. Technically named Charles Shaw, this wine is basically what made Trader Joe’s. Literally $2 for an entire bottle of wine is exactly what my college budget loves (ok, well technically in the state of Texas, it goes for $3. Check your state’s price here). If you’re a wine connoisseur, this may not be your cup of tea, but if all you want is a glass of pinot grigio after a long day of work, Chuck is there for you.
- Organic Tricolor Quinoa: Not much more to say than this is some good ass quinoa. If you’re a quinoa hater I dare you to try this and tell me it isn’t delicious.
- Everything But The Bagel Seasoning: GUYS. THIS STUFF CAME STRAIGHT FROM HEAVEN. I’m not kidding. This stuff is good on everything. I put it on eggs, pasta, avocado toast… you name it. This is a must have x100.
- Speculoos Cookie Butter: If you’ve never tried Cookie Butter, I am so sorry. This is God’s gift to man. I’m fully convinced. Imagine cookies but in a peanut butter texture. Ugh. Sooo good. I can’t even explain it to you, you’ll just have to try it yourself.
- Ghee (clarified butter): For those of you who have never heard of ghee (trust me, I hadn’t a month ago) it’s basically a better-for-you version of butter. You can check out the benefits here, but in short, it’s great for gluten-free folks or those who have lactose intolerances.
- Red Lentil Pasta: Hugeeee shoutout to Lauryn Evarts at The Skinny Confidential for making me try this. Lauryn raves about this pasta all over her Instagram, podcast and private Facebook group, so I simply had to try it. This stuff tastes like normal, carb-filled pasta, but is sooo much better for you. (Easy hack: put ghee and Everything But the Bagel seasoning on it)
Snacks & Sweets:
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: If I had to pick a top three from this list, this one would definitely make it. Just like a tasty Reese’s, these peanut butter cups are even better with a dark chocolate outside. They’re truly my guilty pleasure. I love putting them in my freezer for a cool, yummy treat.
- Cheddar Rocket Crackers: Most people know that I’m obsessed with goldfish. Always have been, always will. Well, ladies and gents, I’ve found its replacement. These are basically TJ’s version of goldfish but I think I might like them more. They’re also in cute rocket shapes (because they’re probably made for children… not 22-year-old college students) so that makes them even better.
- RxBars: If you follow any fitness or health guru, you’ve probably seen these. They’re all the rage right now. With simple no-BS ingredients, you truly know what you’re putting into your body. Although not as tasty as some protein bars I’ve tried (there are a plethora of flavors though!) they definitely fill me up before a visit to the gym or when the 3pm hunger hits. I’ve also heard TJ’s has the best price for them comparatively, but I’m not positive!
- Coconut Macaroons: Ah yes, another sweet treat. And another find from The Skinny Confidential! These are a yummy dessert that doesn’t have too much junk in them, if you’re able to limit yourself!
These are just a few of many of my favorite finds at Trader Joe’s. I’ve tried countless products from there and honestly rarely find something I don’t like (this is a dangerous, dangerous game). So now I’m curious, what are your Trader Joe’s staples? Or maybe what have you tried and hated?! Anything is fair game! Share in a comment below or tweet me with your opinions! As always, follow me on Twitter,Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, cheers bitches 🙂