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5 Must-Buy Foods at Trader Joe’s (and a Slight Obsession…)

trader-joesA new man has stolen my heart. And his name is Trader Joe. (Sorry, hubs!)

The smaller-scale grocery store offers pretty much everything that makes my heart go pitter-patter: organic foods made with non GMO-ingredients, fresh fruits and veggies, wine and foodie health foods ad nauseam. This past weekend, Trader Joe’s came to my ‘hood: Kansas City, Mo. And I could not have been more excited. I may have shown up for the ribbon-cutting, fighting the crowds to be the first to get my goat cheese and honey and case of two-buck Chuck…

While I’m relatively a Trader Joe’s newbie in that I’ve been to just a few locations in LA and New York a time or two, I already feel like TJ and I are going steady. So, read on for the top five things to buy at Trader Joe’s. (I know we’re in love, but it would just be mean not to share…)

5 Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

1. Greek yogurt. Ready to have your mind blown? The Trader Joe’s generic brand of Greek yogurt is about half of what you’ll pay for Greek yogurt anywhere else. Yeah, I know: AWESOME.

2. Wild sockeye salmon fillets. It can be freakin’ hard—and when you do, incredibly expensive—to get good quality, wild salmon (especially where I am in the Midwest). Trader Joe’s was the answer to my fishy prayers: $8.99 a pound for wild sockeye salmon fillets. Salmon burgers, here I come.

3. Unsulfured dried fruits. I know, I know. Eating fresh fruit is always better for you than eating dried, but TJ’s unsulfured dried mangoes, cherries and berries are ah-mazing. With nuts, in oatmeal or just on their own, they are one sweet treat!

4. Vinegars and oils. Hold on because I’m about to cram a lot of items in this one, but you can’t go wrong with Trader Joe’s oils and vinegar selection. Olive, sesame, coconut, walnut…it’s oil heaven. And you can buy balsamic vinegar (my favorite for salads) by the jug. The jug, people!

5. Two-buck Chuck cabernet sauvignon. Okay, so it’s $2.99, not $2, but it’s still cheap, and it’s still totally drinkable table wine worth way more than its price tag. Seriously, this is the definition of all good things in moderation!

What do you like to buy at Trader Joe’s? Wish you had one in your town? Tell us about it! —Jenn


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  1. Tish says:

    I KNEW this post would come…

  2. The Two Buck Chuck IS two bucks here in California. 🙂

  3. Lisa @LisaVFitness says:

    The greek yogurt is always fab, and I love their hummus quad–it has AMAZING parsley and green onion hummus! But I have a soft spot for their spinach lasagna and the fish nuggets. The spinach lasagna isn’t that bad for you, but stear clear of the fish nuggets–they are so yummy–but you’ll have to work out for hours afterward….

  4. Erin says:

    I totally stocked up on the Greek yogurt. I went to the Trader Joe’s that opened in Leawood this weekend. It was packed!!

  5. Heather says:

    We have tried NUMEROUS times, in our town, to get a Trader Joe’s here. Petitions, letters, Wish List in our local newspaper, Facebook pages, you name it we’ve tried it. Interestingly enough, Trader Joe’s has a criteria as to where they place there stores and it has to do with how close you are to a university, something about graduates and Scarborough Data, a market research firm, profiles the typical Trader Joe’s shopper as a college-educated, white homeowner with a median age of 44 and a median household income of $64,000. Almost evenly divided
    among married people and singles, females and males, two-thirds have
    no kids at home or well-educated greater than 36,000 residents possess a 4-year college degree, with a household median income of $50,000 – $70,000…if your area doesn’t fit, forget it.

  6. TS says:

    Natural peanut butter (only one I’ve found that’s literally just peanuts on the label)
    I get raw honey there, because it’s the only place I’ve found that doesn’t filter it.
    Frozen Indian food. It’s made in India. And it tastes good. And my parents are Indian, and picky!, so it’s good.

  7. TrueLifeDiva says:

    They have salmon patties, I think they come 5 to a pack. And they are only 80 calories each. Smear a little Wasabi mayo and you have a gormet salmon burger that is to die for :-D. Their low fat balsamic salad dressing is fab at only 25 calories a serving. And I agree, their greek yogurt is comparable to Fage at almost half the price.

  8. Heather says:

    Trader Joe’s rules! Five things I go specifically to buy:
    1. Natural Almond Butter (has flax seeds too!)–this goes great in one of their mini whole wheat pita pockets with a touch of their honey apple butter!
    2. Vanilla and blueberry goat cheese (amazing!). This is fab by itself or as a topping for one of their triple ginger snaps….
    3. Three layer hummus (one layer of original, one layer of cilantro, and one layer of roasted red pepper)(opa!). Yep, they have great pita chips too!
    4. Spicy guacamole topped with pico de gallo along with the spicy soy and flax tortilla chips (ole!)
    5. There is also an entire half aisle of different trail mix varieties–all so delightful that I couldn’t possibly select a favorite!

    In addition–they are the only store in my area of Omaha that carries my favorite Clif bar flavor–Peanut Toffee Buzz.

    Long story short–I love me some Trader Joes!

  9. Amelia says:

    My faves:

    1-almond butter, so good and so much cheaper!
    2-sunflower butter, it’s like candy
    3-horseradish hummus(!!!)
    4-the greek yogurt is seriously awesome and cheap

  10. Heidi says:

    We love TJ– some of our favorites are their pesto pizza, frozen mac and cheese, trail mix, peanut butter pretzels, corn chips, and licorice scotties in addition to the healthy stuff. Also great coffee. Their dark chocolate with sea salt is to die for.

  11. Vic Magary says:

    I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s organic dark chocolate. One bar lasts me the entire week. I have a small piece of the bar and a cup of green tea (also from Trader Joe’s) nearly every afternoon. Delicious!

  12. GiGi says:

    Healthy TJ Products that I BUY:
    – Arctic Char Fillets (new item)
    – Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant
    – Balsamic Grilled Onions
    – 1 pound bags of Spinach (so cheap – $1.99)!!
    – Turbot (so good, and seasoned healthfully, no weird ingredients!)


  13. I LOVE TJ’s too! I might have to fight you for him (hehe)! I have one about 10 mins from my house and I have been going there at least once a week for years! It’s my primary store. I am kinda obsessed too….but I love the organic, non-GMO, and allergy friendly options (I have milk and gluten allergies). I would add the unsweetened almond milk (best taste, consistency, and price of any I have tried), and the light coconut milk (only $.99!!!), oh and the organic avacados (4 pack for $4 – can’t beat it). Maybe you should do a top 20 list….

  14. Jessica says:

    In May, I moved to a building with an onsite Trader Joe’s. I hadn’t really shopped there before. It’s pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m there almost every day. Bags of washed organic spinach for $2? Yes, please.

  15. Beth says:

    ( just made a shopping trip there today! Their almond butter is a great deal. My boyfriend and I also love the cheese and chicken enchiladas that they have in their frozen section–2 enchiladas for $1.99. I also love their reduced fat cheese puffs (snack food I don’t have to feel totally guilty about) and their cheese section.

  16. Mary Sanders says:

    I LOVE Trader Joe’s!

    – Organic quinoa
    – Fresh veggies
    – Trader Joe’s salsa
    – The cheese selection!

  17. Jill says:

    Like Amelia I love the horseradish hummus and I love the cornichons!!

  18. Trader Joe’s is a great place. Hopefully others will take notice and improve on this concept.

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