Trader Joe’s is not just a grocery store. It’s our go-to for affordable wine (that will still impress guests), a favorite food sample destination (pre-pandemic, of course), America’s sweetheart of food stores, and my favorite place to score healthy products on a budget. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve had my fair share of emergency Cookie Butter runs, but I became a health coach in part because of my passion for nourishing myself with plants that make my body feel its best, in a delicious and satisfying way (because food is meant to be enjoyed). Trader Joe’s is full of hidden treasures that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Here are the 20 items I always have stocked in my kitchen that make healthy eating a breeze:
1. Jicama Wraps
Maybe you’ve heard of jicama as a salad bar staple to add some crunch without the calories, but Trader Joe’s did the impossible (again!) and turned the root veggie into a tortilla. The best part? It is literally that one ingredient: jicama. Think of it as a combo of hard and soft corn tortillas, with a bit of crunch but easy to bend and mold. At just 15 calories for two tortillas, you won’t have to think twice about having seconds or thirds on Taco Tuesday.
2. Green Goddess Salad Dressing
I’m not usually a big fan of bottled salad dressings, and much prefer to DIY with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar. However, sometimes we need a little change, and having an already-made delicious way to dress up greens for lunch can make all the difference in a stressful workday. Many salad dressings contain sneaky processed ingredients and added sugars, so I love this list of clean ingredients (avocado, fresh herbs, apple cider vinegar, garlic, etc.). Bonus: you can also use it as a dip or pasta sauce to sneak in the extra clean ingredients for little picky eaters (and no shame if “little picky eaters” means you, and not your kids).
3. Dark Chocolate Drizzled Plantain Chips
If you have a major sweet tooth or crave dark chocolate on the regular, I’m about to change your life. This newer TJ’s item has become one of my favorite go-to’s for both healthy snacking and desserts. With only 4g of sugar and a decently clean list of ingredients that combines chips (made out of bananas) and chocolate, this bag is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way, while simultaneously satisfying your snacking craving for all things salty and crispy. Satisfying two cravings at once? That’s the Trader Joe’s genius.
4. Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce
If you’re a soy sauce lover, it’s about time you hop on the coconut aminos bandwagon. This healthier version is free of gluten and soy, meaning it’s the perfect (more natural) option for people with any gluten and soy sensitivities or allergies. It also has one-third the sodium content of traditional soy sauce, making it the perfect guilt-free topper for all your stir-fries and sushi rolls. On top of the health benefits, it’s cheaper than other coconut aminos sauces on the market, and also happens to be certified organic (what can’t Trader Joe’s do!?). Order it online here.
5. Chickpea and Red Lentil Risoni
Is it just me, or is veggie-based rice all the rage these days? I love brown or wild rice as much as the next girl, but sometimes it’s nice to pack in even more legumes for extra protein and nutrients. Of all the veggie or legume-based alternatives out there, this one is my personal preference. It’s one of the cheapest options, happens to be certified organic (many aren’t!), and is made of chickpea and red lentils instead of just one, so you’re getting in a wider variety of nutrients. Make as any rice or orzo replacement, and you’ll never want to go back.
6. Shaved Brussels Sprouts
I always tell clients who don’t have the time or energy to cook to find ways to streamline the cooking process, like purchasing the prepared veggies at TJ’s. I particularly love the Shaved Brussels Sprouts because Brussels sprouts are particularly a pain to prepare. This packaged version is easy to toss into salads, stir-fries, sheet meals, etc. I’m also a fan of the Cruciferous Crunch collection, which is delicious in pasta or a creamy salad (see: the Green Goddess dressing above).
7. Dill Pickle Hummus
Before you scroll past this one because it sounds kinda gross, hear me out. If I had the immense privilege of being the person who names Trader Joe’s items, I probably would have gone in a different direction. This hummus is less of a combo of chickpeas and pickles as the name suggests, and more of a delicious, creamy, satisfying dip that tastes like vinegar, sea salt, and savory spices. It’s basically salt-and-vinegar dip (which sounds much better, right?). Either way, you will love this dip with veggies, crackers, or spread onto a sandwich.
8. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
OK, it’s so popular it’s basic at this point, but this EBTB Seasoning is one of the can’t-live-without products I always have stocked in my kitchen. A bagel sandwich is one of my favorite foods, so I love making some sourdough toast with vegan cream cheese, red onion, lettuce, tomato, and topping it all with the seasoning to satisfy my bagel craving. I also put the blend on popcorn, avocado toast, eggs, etc., for a flavor that I truly cannot get enough of (plus, I’m a sucker for a chic black-and-white label). Order it online here.
9. Cauliflower Thins
These genius cauliflower thins are one of the newer products, and I could not be more thankful for the powers that be (AKA whichever TJ’s employee had the idea to turn cauliflower into bread). Made of cauliflower (over 60 percent), eggs, parmesan cheese, and deactivated yeast, they’re a delicious alternative to bread, tortillas, etc., for anyone who’s gluten-free or trying to sneak in more veggies. Full disclosure: I sometimes eat them plain because they’re just that delicious.
10. Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are one of my favorite foods to eat when ordering takeout, but they’re difficult to find when trying to cook them myself. Of course, Trader Joe’s makes trying out new produce very convenient, thanks to their inventive products and perfect packaging. Roast a serving of these tasty peppers with a little lemon, olive oil, miso paste, and coconut aminos (see above), and I swear these will become your new go-to veggie. Forget boring carrot sticks and steamed broccoli: shishito peppers are my must-have side dish.
11. Frozen Wild Blueberries
Whenever I go to Trader Joe’s, I stock up on packs of these berries (like, there’s currently seven in my freezer). I eat blueberries every day because they’re so nutritious, and I swear they’re my #1 secret to glowy skin. Since these are frozen, I can continue adding to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods for months. Why do I love Trader Joe’s specifically? You guessed it: they’re cheaper than other certified-organic varieties.
12. Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a serious staple in my kitchen. I use it to cook, blend in my coffee, and slather all over my skin for hydration (don’t worry, I have a separate coconut oils for cooking and for beauty purposes). I love this one from Trader Joe’s specifically because it’s certified organic (I know, I’m predictable, right?) and cold-pressed (which means it might retain more nutrients than oils treated with heat). Another bonus tip: the Coconut Oil Spray is not one of my ride-or-die products like the Cold-Pressed Oil, but when you just want a spray, it’s way better than your average Pam.
13. Spicy Mexican-Style Riced Cauliflower
Come one, come all: the best new TJ’s meal is here, and no one is talking about it enough. The Spicy Mexican-Style Cauliflower is everything you want out of a quick lunch or simple dinner: lots of nutrients and lots of flavor. This genius new invention is a combo of riced cauliflower, other veggies like tomatoes and bell peppers, and flavorful toppings like cumin, cayenne, and lime juice. Oh, and don’t let me forget about the pickled jalapeños (isn’t the best part of any meal jalapeños?). Simply heat it up on the stove for a vegan side dish, or turn into a burrito bowl or add to a tortilla for a tasty meal you won’t believe is as healthy as it is.
14. Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta
Yes, I’m a health coach, and nutrition is ~my life,~ but I also love food. Extra emphasis on love. It’s not that any food is “off-limits” (we’re not meant to eat from a place of deprivation!), but I know I can find more nutritious and plant-based options of the foods I crave. The perfect example: Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta. I have a gluten sensitivity, so I try to stay away from the white-flour version anyways, but we can all afford to opt for whole grains like quinoa and brown rice that are loaded with extra nutrients.
15. Moroccan Mint Tea
If you can’t already tell, the #1 theme here is organic. I love knowing that this tea is not only full of superfood ingredients, but TJ’s took the extra step of ensuring the superfood ingredients are organic too. I drink this tea after meals or whenever feeling bloated (the mint can help soothe stomach discomfort or digestive issues). Pro tip: buy it in bulk because you’re going to want to drink it every day. Order it online here.
16. Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto
Pesto is one of my favorite sauces to DIY, but we can’t all be Martha Stewart 24/7. For the weeks that I have very little time to cook or prep my meals, I love this vegan-friendly version. Not only is this option dairy-free, but it’s also more plant-based than the traditional version, thanks to kale and cashews (no, you cannot taste the kale). Use the decadent sauce on top of bruschetta, with your favorite pasta, or as a dip for veggies.
17. Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Perhaps one of the most beloved Trader Joe’s products of all time, the cauliflower pizza crust revolutionizes fast food (and drunk food) by replacing greasy crusts with nutrient-dense cauliflower and gluten-free cornflour. I always have a plain crust in my freezer for when I want to get creative (I make a mean Mexican pizza with smashed black beans, cheese, lettuce, and vegan ranch), but also keep one of the Cheese Cauliflower Pizza Crusts for the nights when I only have time to pop something in the oven.
18. Chocolate Hummus
I know what you’re thinking: chocolate… hummus? Before you think I’ve officially lost it, hear me out. I don’t like to think of it as a hummus because the only similarity is that it’s made with chickpeas. However, it tastes much more like a delicious chocolate frosting than anything in the hummus family. With a base of cooked chickpeas and tahini (a sesame seed paste), it’s a genius way to sneak in some extra nutrients like fiber, protein, potassium, and iron.
Just a warning, I do not eat gallons of this stuff, thinking I’m eating my veggies. It still contains some cane sugar, so use it as you would any other dessert, but knowing you’re giving your body an added dose of nutrients while satisfying your sweet tooth. I like to use it as frosting for baked goods or as a dip with apple slices when I’m craving something sweet.
19. Unsweetened Coconut Chips
Another favorite solution when that snacking craving strikes: coconut chips. They can be used as a tasty topping on any yogurt, açai bowl, or cereal, or eaten on their own for a tasty snack. My favorite part (you guessed it!) is that they’re organic and unsweetened, so you know you’re only getting the good stuff. Another tip is to DIY a trail mix with nuts, cacao nibs, and these tasty coconut chips. You’ll never feel bored with your afternoon snack ever again. Order online here.
20. Manuka Honey
I love manuka honey for so many purposes. Not only can this kind of honey help heal minor wounds and improve common cold symptoms, but I also love manuka honey to help ease digestive issues and help balance the immune system. Oh, and I’ve been known to even use it to wash my face (now that’s a superfood). I love purchasing this honey from Trader Joe’s because it’s usually super expensive anywhere else. Not only does it come with an ingredients list that I trust, but it comes with a price tag I don’t have to think twice about.
What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s product?