Before Monday, I hadn’t been to Trader Joe’s in months. I’ve been almost exclusively shopping at my local Sprouts, and completely forgot how wonderful TJ’s is.
Oh, Trader Joe’s, how I’ve missed you!
Let’s start with the front of the store and produce –
Right now, they have tons of seasonal goodies – succulents in cute sugar skull pots, decorative mini pumpkins, baking pumpkins, as well as their glorious selection of fresh flowers. Moving on to things you can actually eat – I love their brand of sprouted breads. I like them better than Ezekiel, but if you prefer the name brand they carry it also (they have very few name brands, so that’s a big deal). Also in this section are the TJ’s brand of low carb tortillas. Produce-wise, the most unique or well-priced items they have are seasonal squashes (acorn, butternut, and spaghetti amongst others), beets (fresh and pre-cooked), and cauliflower rice. Another great seasonal deal they have going on is for apples – that huge bag you see in the back there is 4lbs of japonica apples, which was $4. Other items that deserve a mention are bagged sweet potatoes, avocados (always a good bargain, less than $1 each), and bagged red onions.
Moving on to Dairy –
My favorite dairy item to get at Trader Joe’s is their low fat plain kefir. If you haven’t tried kefir before, you’re missing out! They have regular grocery items like cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, ricotta, cream, half and half, flavored creamers, juices, yogurt, etc. The most mentionable of which would be their unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plain kefir, and plain Greek yogurt.
Now, we’ll discuss the aisles –
The best changes on the condiment/dry goods aisle would be Trader Joe’s gluten free pasta (one quinoa/brown rice blend, the other black bean), pasta sauce, vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar as well as fancy salad vinegar), dijon and other specialty mustard, natural peanut and almond butters in smooth and crunchy varieties (nuts and salt only, no sugar), juice-sweetened jellies (only 2 or 3 specific ones, so read the labels), unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil (both solid and spray), and some of the best coffee you can get for a great price. Their baking items are also stuffed with THM-friendly items such as blanched almond flour, almond meal, coconut flour, canned coconut milk, stevia (both liquid and powder), as well as an array of budget-priced spices and blends (some, not all, sugar-free). Always available on their dry goods aisle, you’ll find raw nuts and seeds, flax, chia seeds, and oats.
On the frozen goods aisle, they have a new product (likely seasonal) that’s perfect as an E side – frozen julienne-cut root vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and beets). They sampled it with herbes de Provence (which they also have as a steal!), and they were delightful. Their frozen meats are also very handy – frozen shrimp and bagged chicken breasts and thighs (value-size), amongst others. They also have an array of frozen fruits and veggies – cherries, berries, peas, chiles, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.
Moving on to the “Deli” –
Trader Joe’s is a small chain, so they don’t actually have a “deli,” so much as a really awesome cheese case with a few different kinds and cuts of deli meat. Check them out though! My personal favorites are the blueberry goat cheese, New Zealand cheddar, cheesesticks, shredded mozzarella, sliced salami, sliced turkey, and rolls of turkey summer sausage.
NOTE* Near the deli, by the sampling counter, they are hiding a new wonderful item – organic blackstrap molasses! I know, I was shocked too, and if I didn’t have 2 bottles of it at home I would have snagged it.
Other dry goods –
Other great items that deserve mention are their baked blue corn chips, salsas (verde!), flavored (unsweetened) sparkling water, and WINE – SO MUCH WINE.
Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? What are some of your favorite items?