Published on May 28, 2019

As far as affordable supermarkets go, even registered dietitians agree that Trader Joe’s is where it’s at. Sure, the store is probably most well-known for its trendy creations (cough, cough, cauliflower gnocchi) and awesome treats, but the experts love it because of how accessible it makes healthy eating for everyone. Whether they’re in need of a low-fuss frozen meal that’s actually nutritious, inexpensive pantry staples, or even something sweet, dietitians can get everything they need to feel good and more right at TJ’s.

They also know how to make a little go a long way, because they were able to buy enough food to feed themselves for a week when given $25 to spend at TJ’s. Their picks include a mix of versatile basics, like frozen meatballs; eggs; and bananas—as well as a few indulgences, such as La Colombe cold brew and dark chocolate. So the next time you’re roaming the aisles and everything looks good, let the professionals guide you to the best products.

Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area

Bananas ($0.19 each)

“These are a staple in my diet. I often eat them with breakfast or as part of a snack—for just 120 calories per large banana, you get filling fiber and blood pressure–helping potassium. And they are such a great price at Trader Joe’s, so I buy a bunch of them.”

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning ($1.99)

“This is a delicious low-calorie seasoning, and I use it on so many things, from hard-boiled eggs and scrambled eggs to salads and more.”

Cage-Free Fresh Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs ($2.69)

“I’m all about shortcuts that make it easier to eat healthy, and I love that buying these eggs already hard-boiled saves me time in the kitchen.”

Luna Bar ($0.99)

“The price for Luna bars is great at Trader Joe’s, so even if I’m not stocking up on them, I’ll usually add at least one bar to my cart. Eating it on my way home helps me avoid that irritable hangry feeling without derailing my healthy eating.”

Trader Joe’s Tofu Spring Rolls ($3.49)

“I always grab a couple of these rolls, and one of them usually becomes my dinner the night I go grocery shopping. They make such an easy, healthy vegetarian meal because you get filling protein from the tofu and peanut sauce.”

La Colombe Triple Draft Latte ($1.99)

“This is usually my impulse buy at Trader Joe’s, because I love these frothy canned lattes but can’t normally find them in many of the grocery stores near me. This latte has three shots of espresso, so when I have it, I do have to watch my caffeine intake for the rest of the day.”

Maxine Yeung, R.D., trained pastry chef and owner of Wellness Whisk

Microwaveable Brussels Sprouts or Asparagus ($3.29 or $3.69)

“This is by far my favorite item at Trader Joe’s, as it always saves me when I’m in a pinch and don’t have time or energy to prep and cook some vegetables. The brussels sprouts and asparagus are lightly seasoned with olive oil, salt, and black pepper and take just three minutes in the microwave. They come out perfectly steamed and are flavorful and still have some crunch to them.”

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells With Marinara Sauce ($2.69)

“It’s really hard to find a frozen meal with a good amount of vegetables and fiber without going overboard with salt and saturated fat. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of frozen meals compared to most stores and brands, and these shells are probably the most surprising. For under 300 calories, this comfort food includes 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.”

Channa Masala ($2.29)

“If you love Indian food, Trader Joe’s has a unique selection of tasty frozen Indian meals that are really convenient to keep stocked in your freezer for those times you want a quick hot meal without having to travel to pick up some takeout. My go-to choice is the channa masala, which tastes like restaurant-style masala, is loaded with chickpeas and spices, and has 6 grams of plant-based protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving.”

Cauliflower Gnocchi ($2.69)

“For pasta lovers, the cauliflower gnocchi is a great alternative, as it’s lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber (6 grams per serving) yet has a similar texture to traditional gnocchi.”

Kale Broccoli Slaw ($2.99)

“A lot of grocery chains make ready-to-go salads, but Trader Joe’s still has my go-to choices. Instead of traditional cabbage, this slaw contains broccoli, kale, and radicchio, for different tastes and textures, and a mix of sunflower seeds and slivered almonds for protein.”

Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition

Eggs ($3)

“I always buy a dozen eggs because it’s a great nutritional bang for the TJ’s buck. I hard-boil half the sleeve for a grab-and-go breakfast when I need it, and use the others to make veggie scrambles when I have more time in the morning.”

Two Bags of spinach ($6)

“I double up on spinach bags because they are a great price, and I go through the bags pretty quickly!”

Frozen Turkey Meatballs  ($4)

“These high-protein meatballs are always in my freezer because they’re great to add to pastas and veggie sautés for some delicious protein. TJ’s version keeps the sodium relatively low compared to other frozen turkey meatball options.”

Crunchy Raw Almond Butter ($7)

“Almond butter can be pretty pricey, so finding out how delicious and affordable TJ’s raw almond butter is was a lifesaver. I like my nut butters crunchy, but it also makes a creamy version, if that speaks to you.”

Dark Chocolate 72% Bar ($2)

“I love a little sweetness after dinner, so dark chocolate is a pantry staple for me. TJ’s has a great pack of three 72% dark chocolate bars that makes my sweet tooth very happy.”

See more food ideas:

Junk Food Cravings, Begone—These Healthy Recipes Will Satisfy

Your Healthy Grocery List, On Any Budget

Mindful Eating Is Way Easier Than You Think

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