Dietitian Grocery Haul: My Trader Joe’s Essentials

dietitian trader joe's essentials feature image

One funny thing about being a dietitian is that people become really interested in what you eat and what you buy at the grocery store. I don’t mind, because I also LOVE to watch grocery hauls and read reviews about what’s trending in the food world. And not in a judgy way – I get just as excited to learn about the new seasonal ice cream flavor as I do to see how people meal prep for the week.

So, here’s a glimpse into MY shopping cart – the Trader Joe’s essentials that I grab every time I go.  

A little disclaimer before you scroll away: I live 45 minutes from Trader Joe’s (sad, right?!). So, this isn’t where I buy the majority of our produce/fresh foods. There are a few fresh foods I always grab, but for me, TJ’s is a once a month stop where I grab mostly snacks and freezer faves.

So keep that in mind!

trader joe's teeny tiny avocados dietitian staples

1. Teeny Tiny Avocados

These avocados are the PERFECT size. Plus where I live (read: the midwest where avocados aren’t local), this is a good price!

Tip: Put your avocados in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe. You’ll squeeze a little more time out of them!


trader joe's frozen sweet potato fries

2. Sweet Potato Fries

These are always stocked in my freezer. They’re perfectly crispy and not heavy on the salt. Plus they have 3g of fiber per serving!

If you’ve never put fries on your salad, you’re missing out. We’ve been making burger bowls (kinda like a burger in salad form) a lot for dinner, and these are the perfect filler.

And if you prefer to make your own fries – sometimes I do too! Just depends on what I’m feeling and how much time I have.


trader joe's strawberries

3. Frozen Fruit

I know, you can buy frozen fruit anywhere, but I really love the quality of these strawberries – ESPECIALLY for the price. These are $2/bag where I live! I always buy a couple bags to use for smoothies. I also love the frozen mango – it will make your smoothie so creamy!

You can also make your own chia jam with frozen berries to use on toast, in oatmeal or on yogurt.


4. Silver Dollar Pancakes

This is purely a convenience buy. I have two small kids and believe it or not, I’m not always up for cooking breakfast from scratch 😉 So sometimes I make a huge batch of my own pancakes to freeze, but these are great too.

Here are some easy ways I add a little more nutrition when we eat these:

  • Spread with nut butter
  • Sprinkle with hemp seeds
  • Add a side of fresh fruit
  • Make a dipping sauce with Greek yogurt and nut butter (YUM)


trader joe's ground chicken

5. Ground Chicken

My local grocery store doesn’t always have ground chicken and when they do, it’s pretty expensive. So, I always grab some at TJ’s.

I mainly use this to make meatballs – this recipe is my fave. After they’re cooked, I put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them before putting them in a freezer bag for storage. Then, I always have a quick source of protein to pull out of the freezer. Sometimes I add veggies (diced super small!) to these before I bake them.

trader joe's essentials yogurt

6. THE Yogurt


This is the best, creamiest yogurt…ever. Before you come for me about the amount of sugar in this little cup, this isn’t our “every day” yogurt. We mostly eat these as a sweet snack or freeze them as popsicles (def do this). But if my kids DO ask for “the Trader Joe’s yogurt” for breakfast, I simply load it up with other goodies like protein and fiber-rich granola, seeds and fruit.

trader joe's essentials gyoza chicken potstickers

7. Chicken Gyoza Potstickers

One of my favorite Trader Joe’s essentials for quick lunches. The key with these is to let them “sear” before you steam them so they get that nice crust on the bottom. Then, I like to dip in a soy sauce-sriracha combo with a side of steamed veggies and/or rice.


trader joe's veggie fried rice

8. Veggie Fried Rice

The easiest side ever. Sometimes I make this to go with my Chicken Gyoza Potstickers, but most of the time I just crack an egg or 2 in the same pan and call it a meal (one cup of this rice and 2 eggs = 18g protein with basically no effort!).

trader joe's essentials dark chocolate peanut butter cups

9. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s who? These are my husband’s pick but I always sneak a few 😉.

kids plate with homemade pizza veggies and fruit trader joe's essentials pizza dough

10. Pizza Dough

I love making my own pizza dough… but I don’t love having to plan ahead to make my own dough… you know? I always pick one of these up to have a fun DIY pizza night with my kids. Sometimes they even experiment with some veggies because OF COURSE they taste better when you’re making your very own pizza.

Sometimes I get the frozen Naan to make personal pizzas.


11. Bamba Peanut Snacks

I buy these for my kids but tbh I snack on them sometimes too. I like that they have 5g of protein and 2g of fiber per serving, with no added sugar. They’re easy to take on-the-go and just all around very kid-friendly and usually mess-free. Oh and I think they’re $1 a bag?! I’ll take 7.

12. Cheese

Any cheese. The feta is my go-to because the price is always SO good, but I love wandering this section of the store and letting TJ’s tell me what I need.


trader joe's essentials scandinavian swimmers

13. Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers

Last but not least, my favorite candy. These are better than Sour Patch Kids and I will die on that hill. There’s no sugar coating (see what I did there) the nutrition info on these – I mean, it’s candy. But that doesn’t mean I guilt myself for enjoying it every now and then.

What Trader Joe’s essentials did I miss?!

Tell me some of your faves that I need to try next time I shop.

breanna woods ms rd dietitian signature

10 thoughts on “Dietitian Grocery Haul: My Trader Joe’s Essentials”

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  1. Taylor says:

    For quick veggies, we love the baby corn and baby zucchini’s. They are fun for me and my kid to eat, and is an easy “steam in the bag” veggie side! And the other is the steamed pork buns. I’m a sucker for those. And OMG that yogurt. It is so good! Super excited to try these other finds though. Most of them we haven’t tried yet, so pumped!

    1. Steam in the bag veggies are a lifesaver!! Definitely going to try the pork buns.

  2. Erin says:

    Love these Recs!

  3. Erin says:

    Love these!

  4. Dana says:


    I use to love the sweet potato fries from there; however, they fry them first and then freeze them. They are unhealthy! I recommend getting your own sweet potatoes and from there and baking them in the oven.

    1. I don’t mind them being fried first because it’s not something we eat every day or even every week! We bake our own fries a lot of times, but love these too every now and then 🙂

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m so fortunate…TJ’s is 10 minutes away from me. One of my faves is the TJ’s Goddess Dressing. It’s not bad for a bottled Dressing and sometimes I just don’t feel like making my own.

    1. I’m so jealous! I”ve requested to have one opened in our area a few times 😂 I’ve heard so many good things about that dressing. I need to try!

  6. Jen-Ai Notman says:

    *drives to Trader Joe’s to buy ALL these things*

    Also YES those yogurts, I don’t know what it is, but you can’t go back to “regular” yogurt after having one of those!