Trader Joe’s shopping list

by aquietfancy

I had a plan today, a good one too. We had beer chicken tacos for dinner tonight, and I wanted to share with you the tastiest way to make shredded chicken with booze. But due to some photo uploading problems, we’re just going to have to wait (trust me, it’s worth it).

So instead, I thought I’d maybe share some of my favorites from Trader Joe’s. I’m not a Trader Joe’s expert; it’s not really affordable cooking fare when you are a college student. But if you are careful about the deals and know what items are worth the bucks, it can still be a kind of bargain.

When I last went to TJ’s I looked online for a shopping list of the best TJ’s items and didn’t find quite what I was looking for. I hope this helps for someone planning their next trip, especially if your TJ’s is as far away as mine (it’s only far because there used to be like five within a ten-minute radius of my house…oh Southern California).


Don’t go to Trader Joe’s for your produce. The selection is often very limited, not high quality, and they use so much freaking plastic, and that unhipness is seems so unlike TJ’s. (The upside of this, though: you don’t need to try to pry apart the plastic produce bags.) However, there are a few things I really like from this section:

Packaged kale, pre-cut: because who wants to cut kale?

Bagged lettuce heads: these guys stay fresh much longer than lettuce maybe should. Reuse the bag.

Basil: don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure this is a much better deal than I get at my Fred Meyer/Ralphs

Snap peas: much fresher than the ones I usually find


Greek yogurt, 0%: as good as Fage, but less expensive

Vanilla & cream/blueberries & cream yogurt cups: dessert-worthy and won’t leave you craving something worse

Grated Parmesan & Romano: the bag will last you weeks…very good deal

String cheese: all good


Artichoke hearts: yep, they made the list.

Mochi: a little pricey, but a wonderful treat (this brand is not unique to TJ’s)

Mahi mahi: I don’t care if it’s fresh or not fresh or not (get it?)

Chicken gyoza: make your own dipping sauce, 3-minute meal

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina: this is so delicious, but a little small for 2 people like the bag claims


Milk chocolate peanut butter cups (I prefer dark chocolate usually, but peanut butter just goes better with milk chocolate)

Vegan chocolate chip cookies (I’m not sure if they have these still, but they were so good!)

Everything else:

Trek mix: There are several kinds now. I get the one with three variations of chocolate chips, almonds, cashews, cranberries, and golden raisins (the unhealthy one). And I eat this very meticulously. It’s best if you take out one of each goody in here and pop the whole handful in your mouth. If you do this, you run out of almonds fast. Buy unsalted almonds.

Trek mix granola (I think called Trek Mix Simply Almonds, Cashews, and Cranberries): delicious

Powerberries: A new discovery. Skeptical of the healthful power they supposedly possess, but I don’t really care…

Freeze dried mango: pure and unsweetened goodness

Tortellinis and mini raviolis: a childhood-turned-to-adult(ish) favorite

Reduced fat cilantro salad dressing: so good on top of lettuce, sunflowers seeds, diced tomatoes, and cotija cheese

Asian style spicy peanut vinaigrette: guaranteed to boost your salad cravings

Tomato basil marinara: cheap and tasty

Cookie butter: next to the peanut butter. Tastes like cookies. You can put it on anything, but don’t put it on everything or you might shorten your lifespan drastically. It’s real bad for you.

Tomato and red pepper soup: my favorite thing about TJ’s, hands down. If they had a warehouse store, I’d buy it in cases.

Unsalted peanut butter pretzels= straight shots of peanut butter (I mean this in a very, very good way)


I could actually add about 30 more things to this list, but I think that would defeat the purpose of it.