Best of Trader Joe’s: What You Have to Try

People have their opinions and preferences when it comes to grocery shopping; I know I certainly do. If you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe’s located nearby, then I implore you to try these products out the next time you make a stop!

the best things to buy at trader joe's: flower display

Best of Trader Joe’s Deli & Produce

Fresh Flowers. You’ll usually see their selection of cut bouquets, succulent arrangements, orchids, and seasonal plants right when you walk in the door. The prices are fantastic, and so is the variety. Trader Joe’s is my go-to stop any time I need a hostess gift or arrangement for Mother’s Day, etc.

Greeting Cards. Their greeting cards are also inexpensive and different from the normal drugstore finds. Definitely grab a card when you’re picking up that succulent!

Pre-Cut Produce. While their general produce selection is great, I really love their pre-sliced options. The ‘asparagus saute’ pack includes asparagus, mushrooms, and red onions—it’s perfect to throw into a stir fry or serve on its own as a side for any meal.

Salad Kits. I can’t say that I’m a huge salad lover, BUT the Trader Joe’s salad kits just might convert me. You can grab a few of these and have lunches or dinner sides set for the week, with everything you need for the salad included.

Pre-Made Section. From individually wrapped burritos and sandwiches, to chicken salad and dips, Trader Joe’s deli section makes weekday lunches and grab-and-go a total breeze. The Wine Country Chicken Salad is great on toasted bread, and my sister loves the pre-made Pacific Salad.

Best of Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Section

Veggie Fried Rice. It’s safe to say that Trader Joe’s really shines in the freezer department. Their veggie fried rice can be a meal in itself, but pair it with the Mandarin Orange Chicken, and then you’re cooking with fire. It’s on par (and cheaper than!) Chinese takeout.

Rice Servings. Their frozen plain rice is also great. Grab a few boxes of these and heat in the microwave whenever a recipe calls to serve over rice. SO easy.

Individual Meals. Colloquially termed ‘Lean Cuisines,’ the options at Trader Joe’s are superior. I especially love the Tortellini Pesto and the Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese. They have lower calorie and gluten-free options here as well.

Turkey Burgers. These patties are so simple and easy to throw on the grill or in a skillet. Tasty and healthy, plus mild enough for those little picky eaters you might have running around.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal. I wish these boxes of frozen oatmeal came with more than just two servings, but these are great for winter breakfasts when it’s cold and you’re tired. And hungry. Mix in some milk and brown sugar for extra oomph!

Impossible/Meatless Options. While I admit that I have not tried any of their meatless options, I was impressed with *how many* were available. If you have a vegetarian in your family, Trader Joe’s is definitely a place to check out.

what to buy at trader joe's: granola bar display

Best of Trader Joe’s Pantry & Snacks

Nut Butters. There’s more than just peanut butter nowadays—everything from almonds to cashews to blends. Trader Joe’s had so many varieties, and at reasonable price points.

Organic Grape Jelly. I wish the jar was bigger! This jelly is the easiest I’ve found to spread on a piece of bread. And of course, it tastes delicious, too.

“Everything But the Bagel” Seasoning. What *can’t* you sprinkle some of this on to make it better? Avocado toast, salads, potatoes, eggs…it’s basically good on everything.

Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can find this giant tub in the freezer aisle above the bins. Add a few to your kiddo’s lunchbox, set them out for the easiest party snack ever, eat the entire thing in one sitting. Wait, what? (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies. Everything about the chocolate chip cookies applies to these too…except these should be considered educational material. They’re shaped like letters! You eat, you learn, it’s a win-win.

Trader Joe’s brand granola bars, fig bars, toaster pastries. The TJ versions of Chewy Bars, Fig Newtons, and Pop Tarts are stellar. I can’t say if they’re necessarily healthier, but that is neither here nor there.

child with cheese in shopping cart: what to buy at trader joe's
Author’s cute toddler, “helping” with the cheese

Best of Trader Joe’s Meats, Cheeses, & Deli

Stew Meat. I have several crockpot recipes that call for “stew meat,” which just means cubed beef. I don’t normally love the cuts of meat used in packaged stew meat, but Trader Joe’s is good! Sometimes it’s worth it to cut out the extra step of cubing beef for a recipe, you know?

Filet Mignon. Sometimes, for a special dinner, I’ll grab a pack of their filet mignon steaks. They are delicious, the price is comparable, and the portions are just right.

Spinach Tortellini. Trust me, grab at least two packages of this every time you go to Trader Joe’s. I swear it’s the best price for packaged tortellini anywhere, and it’s a kid-friendly meal. Add some Alfredo sauce and frozen peas to increase the veggie factor, and dinner is ready.

Avocado Tzatziki Dip. This pre-made dip is so delicious, I could eat it with a spoon! Pair it with carrot sticks, celery, pita bread, tortilla chips…a perfect snack or tailgate food! Same with the Everything But the Bagel Dip.

Assorted Cheeses. There are too many good cheese options to call them out individually! My shopping partner (see above) was partial to the Havarti with Dill. If you’re looking to make the ultimate charcuterie board, you *must* browse TJ’s cheese section.

Pizza Dough. The fresh pizza dough (in the deli section by the cheese, not in the frozen section) is super fun for making, obviously, pizza. Grab all the fun toppings from the sliced meats section nearby, plus some pizza sauce, and you are all set for a fun meal at home.

what to buy at trader joe's: cheese display

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the best things to buy at Trader Joe’s. They have so many amazing products! I’m always finding something new to try and love. Did I miss your fave? Comment below.

Don’t forget to check out our previous Trader Joe’s posts HERE.

Caroline was born and raised in Arlington and went to high school in Fort Worth. She met her husband Joe while they were in the 5th and 6th grades, respectively, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2012 with a degree in Chemistry. Caroline and Joe settled in Plano in 2016 with their rescue pup Buddy and welcomed their son William in July 2020. Caroline runs her own virtual assistant business, Just Ask Caroline LLC. When she isn’t in front of her laptop, you can find her reading, getting back into exercise on her Peloton, and slowly updating their house. You can find her online at CarolineKlobas.com

1 COMMENT

  1. I haven’t been to TJ’s in a few weeks and this is making me hungry and ready to go! LOL. Love their hatch Mac n cheese! Also love that their organic milk prices are more reasonable than other stores.

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