The Goodie Guide to Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite markets. The prices can’t be beat and they have lots of great finds. I think everyone should have a guide to the goodies at Trader Joe’s. It is the kind of store you walk into and have no idea what to buy. Not because their items are so out of this world,  it’s because many of their items are private labeled and it is a crap shoot whether or not you are going to love what you are buying or have one taste and chuck it. After shopping at Trader Joe’s for over six years, I kind of have the knack for it. I have tried endless products, spent tons of money and have come home with some favorites and some throw-aways.

For the newbies and maybe not so newbies who haven’t tried everything …. Here are my GO TO TRADER JOE’S MUST HAVES!!!


Greg’s favorite cereal in the world is Trader Joes Gluten Free Granola (cherry maple nut). I once brought a bag home that was stale. I took it back and they exchanged it in a heartbeat.  Funny thing is I am not a returner. I normally would have just thrown it out but it was brand new and I shop there so frequently I figured I would schlep it with me the next time I went back.


My kids are very particular about Cheerios however I buy Trader Joe’s Honey Nut O’s and get away with it!



My trainer put me on diet. He told me at 10:30am to have two hard-boiled eggs and an apple. I am sure it is so simple to hard boil an egg but I took it a step further and bought the hard-boiled eggs in a bag. Taste the same, smell the same (lol) and no work needed, they are peeled!



My kids favorite although they only eat the vanilla and not the blueberry (they come in combo packs – we buy the vanilla/blueberry). I think they should make a pack of all vanilla..just saying. Also these are not just a kids favorite, have you had one of these? Creamy deliciousness!



If you go to Trader Joes and have to buy one type of cheese, THIS IS IT! Tomato with burrata in the summer….heaven. Trader Joe’s is incredible and HALF the price as any other market!


String cheese….this is it!



Have you had their apple cider? Guess what, they do not just have it in the fall! I buy it year round and my kids LOVE IT!


They also have yummy Almond Milk. I normally buy the more expensive one, Califia at Whole Foods, (yes it’s that good) but if I am in a rush and do not feel like making the extra trip, I will pick up the unsweetened almond milk at Trader Joe’s that happens to be very good. I bought it for years before Califia was born.



Lots of amazing items in this category. Where do I start? Dips? My fave is the Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. The problem is to how not to eat it all in one sitting. Great with carrots!


Edamame Hummus. I was first introduced to this hummus during a mahjonng game. I went out and bought it the next day and it is a has become a staple in my house.


Another favorite dip is this corn salsa. Tomato-less with a base of sweet corn, combined with finely diced red bell peppers, onions, jalapeño peppers, and sugar.


I am not suggesting you buy this but if you do, OMG. Let’s just say I can’t buy it because I have no self-control….Use it as a dip for pretzel  or apple slices. Melt a bit in the microwave and pour it over ice cream. Or keep it really simple and just use it as a dip for a spoon.


Have you had this mustard on a sandwich yet? O.M.G! (also a great addition to a stir fry, kicks it up a notch!)




I use coconut milk in so many recipes. Love that this one is LIGHT!

coconut milk


Tuesday is Turkey Taco day in my house!! I only buy the seasoning and taco shells from Trader Joes. I find they are the best around!


My kids eat a lot of pasta, I on the other hand try to stay away even though I would eat it every night if I could. Trader Joe’s makes this Turkey Bolognese that is just sauce, that’s it. JUST SAUCE. I actually like to eat with a spoon. But it is great over whole wheat pasta! If you make an entire box of pasta though I suggest adding marinara sauce to it and maybe some red pepper flakes!



If you are a frequent shopper at Trader Joe’s, you know that they have the best frozen section out there. There are countless items I love and believe me I have tried MOST OF THEM but if I had top choose my top, I would have to break them down into category…

Breakfast Items

The fastest way to make breakfast on a school morning. My kids would rather not eat so these do the trick!

French Toast Trader Joes



I personally LOVE their steelcut oatmeal. Also helps I do not have to make it on the stove for 3o minutes! (sometimes I do but this is great in a hurry)



Big fan of falafel. Although this is not my favorite falafel ever ( I prefer the real deal at a Greek restaurant), since I am never making falafel at home these are great! 10 minutes in the oven or toaster (DO NOT MICROWAVE) add some tzatziki, lettuce and a wrap and you have yourself a great meal! A little high in fat but who is counting calories?


Turkey Meatballs. Not much to say here…they are pretty great.


I don’t eat Mac & Cheese for obvious reasons but my kids love this one


the less guilty one, I heard, is not so bad either!


Trader Joe’s has the best potato pancakes, hands down! No need to run to the Jewish Deli!  These are delicious and only take a few minute to bake. Your guests will NEVER know the difference. A little bit of applesauce and you are done!


In the mood for a burger? Try the Chicken Lime Turkey Burgers!  These are four-ounce patties that have only six grams of fat each, along with a whopping 19 grams of protein! Chicken (white and dark meat), onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice and red pepper flakes give these burgers their moist texture and vibrant flavors – they’re extremely flavorful but not at all spicy.


Tell me there are truffles on the menu and I am in! When I saw this at Trader Joes I had to try it (on my cheat day). I highly recommend!


The reason for my post in the first place is my favorite brown rice that I found by accident! This is my new obsession! Tastes like fluffy sushi rice…


If you are buying the Ezekiel wraps, Trader Joe’s private labels them (same ingredients, same taste) at half the price!! A little birdie told me that!




Probably the best part of Trader Joe’s. One thing is better than the next!

My all time favorite chips on earth are these Veggie Flaxseed Tortilla chips. I am sure you are rolling your eyes because they are not potato chips or doritos but these are my picks so take it or leave it…


Popcorn? Their Kettle Corn is unbelievable!!!


Pretzels? I try not to buy these because I wind up eating them instead of my kids. (I prefer the chocolate but I think if I purchase the yogurt pretzels they are not as bad, I know they are, who am I kidding?)

Trader Joes Yogurt Pretzels

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Cookies – my kid devour these. I have to stock up on these weekly:

Dunkers are their go to snack before bed with milk. I don’t remember having dessert after dinner every night when I was a kid. Is that a new thing or was I deprived? lol

Trader JOes Dunkers

Their other favorite cookies are the charmingly chewy chocolate chip cookies!


One of the only Granola Bars my kids will eat are the Fiberful Granola Bars from Trader Joe’s (chocolate chip flavor)

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You can’t go wrong in the nut aisle of Trader Joe’s. I would buy the entire aisle but if I had to choose:

The proportioned nuts either almonds or the craisin mix!



I also use all of their nuts to bake with (sunflower seeds, etc).

I love their dried mango!! I try not to eat so much because of the high sugar content but still makes a great snack.


When I was doing P90x one of the suggested foods was Turkey Jerky. I never had it before and thought it would be vile. It is actually delicious and Trader Joe’s Turkey Jerky is quite good.


 Have you tried Trader Joe’s chocolate covered bananas? Oh boy! You will go bananas after you eat these!


I scream, you scream, We should all scream for these! They are heaven!



Lastly, I bake a lot and am now dependent on these three must-have’s from Trader Joe’s:

Coconut oil, not extra virgin but organic virgin will do at half the price!


I cannot live without Rolled Oats when I make cookies, granola bars and my special diet pancakes!


Almond Meal is a staple in my home for a million different recipes!



I do not buy my produce at Trader Joes but I do buy the bagged Kale for my shakes and the shaved Brussel Sprouts. Those are great sautéed with a little bit of olive oil!


Okay, that is a wrap! I will update my list as I try more products!

What are your favorite must-have’s at Trader Joe’s??

Share Your Thoughts

  1. pamb

    Let’s see…. I buy the sushi, refrigerated entrees like Greek chicken and BBQ chicken, freeze dried mango, unsweetened dried pineapple slices, frozen single serve entrees like hoke in parchment paper, and my FAVORITE frozen veggies: Cauliflower Romanesco Basilic.

    Clif/Luna bars are usually lower in price than in regular stores, and the flavored carbonated water is cheap, too.

    I agree about the potato pancakes: great all year round! And I buy bags of the chocolate drizzled popcorn to give to teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week (not a tradition to buy gifts where I live, so it’s just a little something).

    June 5, 2014 • 9:59 pm •
  2. Tamara

    you should try their cocktail mixers…their margarita “juice” is organic and delicious, barely sweet at all, and their organic lower calorie lemonade is amazing for cocktails…i have friends who swear by the mango cocktail mix. no crappy colors or corn syrup! also, their gyoza and dumplings from the frozen department (as well as the pizzas of course!)

    June 6, 2014 • 7:20 am •
  3. Marissa

    I’m obsessed with the chili lime chicken burgers! They are amazing! I also love those dried mangos. They are half the price of a regular grocery store as are their nuts. I’ve picked up their coconut oil, male syrup, and almond meal for outstanding price (and quality) as well! My other favorites are apple straws, so addicting, guilt free chunky guacamole, chicken Goyza, maple pecan granola, mini chicken tamales, and this multigrain bread that I usually can find. Have you had the mini peanutbutter cups – oh my gosh I can’t buy them because they’re gone in a second! Also, my dogs love their treats!! A great bargain and they seem fine! 

    September 1, 2014 • 12:59 pm •