I have to be honest here…I don’t shop at Trader Joe’s very often. I have nothing against Trader Joe’s whatsoever, I just have 2 Whole Foods and 2 Natural Grocers closer to me than 1 Trader Joe’s, so it’s sometimes forgotten about. Which is a shame because I love Trader Joe’s. I love the writing on the labels. I love the products they create. And I love the customer service there. It’s a grocery store chain that feels like a mom-and-pop store. And every time I walk in, I always find some new and delicious, all at reasonable prices.
The interesting thing about Trader Joe’s that I just found out when I started writing up this post is that Trader Joe’s has been around since the 1950’s in California. This store set out to save customers money and give them the best value without forcing the customer to be in any sort of club or to use special cards. They just work hard to keep costs low forever and always. And as you start walking around Trader Joe’s, you’ll quickly notice their prices are amazing and they have unique items that you can’t find anywhere else.
And something I love about their website is they include a list of their Gluten Free, Kosher and Vegan items. I’m not kosher nor am I vegan, but I know those are important to other people so I thought I would link them here. However, I am gluten free and this list was quite helpful! It’s nice to know what you can find before even walking in the store.
Ok, let’s get to this! If you are a Trader Joe’s fanatic and you have special items you love picking up every time you are there, please share in the comments below! I would love to know what you look for so I can grab those next time around! For me, whenever I’m heading into Trader Joe’s, I’m always buying flowers! Their flowers are always affordable, beautiful and THEY LAST! I get so sick of buying expensive flower and then they die within a couple days. That never happens with Trader Joe’s flowers. Which is helpful since I often buy flower for food photos.
One of the best parts about Trader Joe’s is their produce section. They make meal prep SO EASY! They have pre-chopped kale, vegetables already cut into noodles or fries or ribbons, carrots already peeled, brussels sprouts cut, and anything else you may need – all already prepped and ready for you to quickly cook. When I share posts like Easy Meals I Make at Home in Under 30 Minutes, I’m often relying on vegetables that are already cut and ready to cook. Sometimes, slicing and dicing can be the most time consuming (and annoying) piece of cooking and thanks to Trader Joe’s produce section, that piece annoying part is taken out completely!
When you walk in to Trader Joe’s, you’ll notice that 90% of what you find in the store is Trader Joe’s label and they’ve used their own label to come out with really cool products like their dressings that have no added canola oil. Or their nut butters that have all sorts of different nuts and/or flax seeds and chia seeds. It’s pretty awesome.
You can also find some amazing pantry staples for incredibly affordable prices! Some of my favorites include their 25oz maple syrup that lasts quite a while (unless I’m shooting pancake and waffle recipes) along with their olive oil spray (stop using canola spray!!) and their incredibly delicious buffalo ghee that has added spices in it! It’s such a tasty way to add flavor to vegetables and meat!
And when you’re looking to add flavor to dishes, Trader Joe’s has an amazing spice rack but I normally just reach for the Everything but the Bagel seasoning because it’s delicious on everything! Someone told me that they are discontinuing this. I’m not sure if that’s true and why they would even do that, but it’s a shame because this stuff is amazing. If that IS true, load up next time you are there! Another item that is super cool and delicious is their organic canned coconut milk! No added junk or gums in this coconut milk!
Now for snacks, because Trader Joe’s ROCKS at snacks. I like going to Trader Joe’s whenever I have an upcoming trip and know I’ll need some snacks on hand. They crush the snack game. In their cereal section, you can find some gluten free granolas that look delicious. I haven’t tried either of these yet, but I snagged a photo of both because they sounded delicious!
When I was in California writing my second book and in Pittsburgh writing my third, I often went to Trader Joe’s to grab bags full of nuts and different dried fruits. Trader Joe’s has THE BEST prices when it comes to nuts, seeds and dried fruits. You can find every nut under the sun, but I especially love the already roasted and peeled hazelnuts. If you’ve ever roasted and peeled hazelnuts yourself, you know it’s a time consuming pain in the ass. It’s worth it and it smells so damn good, but it’s annoying AF. And Trader Joe’s takes that stress out of making your own chocolate hazelnut butter from my third book. Plus they have dried fruit and freeze dried fruit and a ton of trail mix!
If you ever go to Trader Joe’s, their chocolate items are a MUST. They have some many delicious chocolatey treats, but I love the Dark Chocolate Honey Mints the most! It’s like a peppermint patty and only has 3 ingredients. They are a little bit like crack. And the perfect after dinner treat!
And if you want more snacks, not to worry, they have some great savory options! They have plantain chips that are absolutely amazing! And they have beet chips are are awesome too. Don’t be alarmed when your pee or other substances turn red or slightly pink. You’re not dying. You’re just filled with all sorts of vitamins and minerals!
And if you want to grab some drinks other than just boring water, Trader Joe’s has a couple of my favorites. They have a few flavors of Spindrift (which I’m insanely obsessed with) and they also have a brand called La Colombe which is NOT paleo in any capacity, but I love it for a little coffee treat sometimes! And it’s real damn good when you blend it into a smoothie!
Those are just a handful of the items I found and would or do purchase for our household. BUT again, I am not a Trader Joe’s aficionado, so if YOU have any recommendations or items you like to pick up while you are there, spill the beans! I’d love to hear what items make your life easier and cooking quicker! Can’t wait to hear what you guys grab when you head to Trader Joe’s!