The Best Trader Joe's Items Nutritionists Put In Their Carts

The popular grocer has high standards for GMOs, synthetic ingredients and sustainability. Here are some top picks.
Trader Joe's

Even if you don’t like grocery shopping, you probably love Trader Joe’s. Once you’ve survived the parking lot, remembered your reusable bags and dug out your grocery list, you know you’re going to find at least a few items that make you smile.

That’s certainly true for professional nutritionists, who not only like food but tend to seek out the “good stuff” — for taste, nutrition and value — on shopping excursions. Many of them told us they’re devoted TJ’s fans.

“They make food fun, as it should be,” said registered dietitian Chelsey Amer. “The names of their products alone are fun, let alone the incredible flavor combinations they think of. There are so many great options and always something new to try. Plus, prices are affordable, and there are tons of nutritious options to help you feel energized.”

RD Marissa Meshulam said she works with some people “who feel overwhelmed by cooking for themselves.”

“What I love about Trader Joe’s is that they provide a place that feels so user-friendly for so many of us,” Meshulam said. “They’re filled with shortcut items that make cooking at home much quicker and easier.”

As you’re swanning happily down the aisles, you still need to pay attention to what you’re buying.

“People may think everything they sell is healthy, but you do have to look at the labels and ingredients,” said RD Sharon Palmer. “Although they’ve created standards about GMOs, synthetic colors and flavors, and sustainability, the store is not free of highly processed foods.”

Meshulam offered this eco-conscious reminder: “So many of their products come wrapped in plastic unnecessarily, which isn’t good for our health or the planet. Just be conscious of what you’re choosing and try to buy more of the stuff that is not plastic-wrapped.”

RD Chelsea Amer’s top picks

Chocolate Covered Banana Slices: “You’ll go bananas for this poppable dessert that also contains more antioxidants and fiber than other desserts. While you could make these yourself, the ease of having them premade is worth it.”

Israeli Feta Cheese: “I lived in Israel for a few years, and I can attest that this cheese tastes just like it does in there — creamy, salty, but is still able to hold up well in a Greek salad or that viral baked feta dish from TikTok. A little goes a long way, and adding this cheese to meals is a great way to boost satisfaction.”

Red Argentinian Shrimp: “Shrimp are incredibly versatile and great in tacos, salads and burgers. These are the best frozen shrimp you’ll find. I always have an extra bag in my freezer.”

RD Marissa Meshulam’s top picks

Wild Caught Tuna Packets: “I love these for a quick, no-cook lunch option that has 22 grams of protein. The tuna in these packets is skipjack, meaning it is lower in mercury than other varieties of tuna. I mix it with some avocado and Dijon mustard.”

Trader Joe's steamed lentils
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's steamed lentils

Steamed Lentils: “Lentils are a super nutritious plant-based protein and fiber source. I love that they’re already cooked, so you can add them to your meal as is. I use them cold to top salads or heated as a part of a warm bowl with roasted veggies.”

Organic Herb Salad Mix: “I’m team ‘No Boring Salads,’ and this mix of organic greens and herbs is a big help. It provides great texture and flavor without having to buy a bunch of different things.”

RD Vanessa Rissetto’s top picks

Ancient Grain Lentil Soup: “It’s delicious, high fiber and decent on the sodium content.”

Frozen Rice: “Just put in the microwave for three minutes, right in the bag, and you have a starch with your dinner that you didn’t have to create from scratch, but which actually tastes good.”

Candied Pecans: “They’re low carb, high protein and awesome for salad toppings or a snack.”

RD Toby Smithson’s top picks

Almond Butter: “I put this in my shopping cart at every visit. I’ve found it to be less expensive compared to other grocers, and I love that there are only one to two ingredients: almonds and sea salt, or just almonds in the no-salt-added variety. It also contains less saturated fat than many other competitor brands.”

Trader Joe's jicama wraps
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's jicama wraps

Jicama Wraps: “This is a great way to increase your vegetable intake and have a low carb wrap with some added cool crunchiness. Two wraps are only 15 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber.”

Charlee Bear dog treats: “These are a favorite with our pups. They have just 3 calories per treat, only four ingredients, and do not cause any intestinal issues.”

RDN Jerlyn Jones’ top picks

Plantain Chips: “They’re a little sweet, salty and crunchy, plus they’re low in sodium and a good source of potassium, which is a nutrient most Americans don’t get enough of daily.”

Raw California Walnut Halves And Pieces: “They’re a powerhouse of important nutrients for good health. Walnuts are a rich source of magnesium, protein and fiber, and are high in omega-3 ALA, which may help lower heart disease risk. Add a handful to smoothies, salads, oatmeal and pancakes.”

RDN Bianca Tamburello’s top picks

Chomps: “High-protein snacks are hard to find, so I always pick up a handful of these for the week. The Original Beef Stick offers up a whopping 9 grams of protein for major filling power, with just 90 calories per serving. I liked to add diced Chomps to lunch salads for a protein and flavor boost.”

Trader Joe's vegan Buffalo style dip
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's vegan Buffalo style dip

Vegan Buffalo Style Dip: “This spicy dip makes snacking on veggies so much more fun. I love that it’s made with cauliflower, red peppers and carrots, rather than the usual cream cheese or sour cream. This makes it lower in calories and saturated fat than most Buffalo dips, but it still has all the deliciousness. Use it as a spread for spicy sandwiches and wraps, too.”

Vegan Spinach and Cashew Ravioli: “I always have a package of these in my freezer, ready for simple and delicious meals. Sautee the cooked ravioli with canned artichokes, cherry tomatoes and pesto for a tasty dinner in just minutes.”

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