Top Fav: Trader Joe's Edition

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Trader Joe's has easily become a frequent stop for a lot of our grocery needs lately and with that in mind, I wanted to share some of our favorite (non-seasonal) items that keep us coming back for more.

# 1 DAIRY (SPECIFICALLY) YOGURT We have been consuming the "and cream" line from Trader Joe's for years at this point and it is always a win for my family. They have many flavors -- vanilla, banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, raspberry, etc. and all of them are pretty tasty. They come in packs of four and with designated flavors (luckily for us there is someone in our home that prefers a fav flavor so none go to waste) and the price is really solid for the product. My kiddos also love the squisher tubes. The tubes are an organic, low-fat strawberry flavor and that is the only flavor we have come across. It is a solid choice and easy for school lunches. The whole milk strawberry beet berry is a new find for baby Tatum and so far she likes it! I added this to our list because looking for whole milk yogurt that isn't plain is a little more challenging at chain grocery stores with more private label options. 

# 2 DAIRY The wide range of cheese selections at Trader Joe's is extremely superior to most chain grocery stores. The marinated mozzarella balls always find their way on my grocery list -- very versatile and so tasty! My kids are extremely selective about their string cheese choices but the Trader Joe's brand is one they like every time! The brie cheese, goat cheese, and mascarpone are all affordable and so, so good. The chocolate milk is even more superior than a lot of other brands the kids have tried and of course the yogurt (so good it has its own paragraph in this blog) I've already mentioned. It's worth mentioning that their whole milk ricotta is LOVED intensely by our youngest baby and we purchase it often.

#3 BREAD The French sliced brioche is the most heavenly bread we have ever used! Heavy endorsement but so well deserved. This bread is excellent for French toast and we always have it in stock in our pantry. You can freeze it and it tastes divine all the same. The pan au lait french sweet roll, as well as the chocolate, are my kids' favorites! So easy for snacks, additions to spreads, and even lunch boxes. I've used the sweet roll for sandwiches, jam, and so many other ways in our meals. The rolls, the pull-apart Aloha rolls are better than the normal Hawaiian rolls I've eaten my entire life -- no lie! They stay fresher for longer, they pull apart SO easily, and it's another pantry staple. The ciabatta rolls are life! You can cut them in half and have what feels like more with just one roll. They don't stay as fresh as some of the other bread options I listed before but if you plan to use them all in one setting or you freeze them, I'm sure that shelf life can stretch a bit more. Lastly, but certainly not least -- the vegan banana bread with walnuts is absolute F I R E. My kids and husband love it, it makes for an easy breakfast addition or snack. So good and so fresh! 

#4 FROZEN FOOD The stronghold that the frozen food section of Trader Joe's has on me is unbelievable. Where do I even begin? The mandarin orange chicken, chicken and pork soup dumplings, chicken fried rice, pork gyozas, hashbrowns, chocolate croissants (they take quite a while to rise but are so worth it for morning breakfast), beef and broccoli, shrimp burgers, and any/all veggies and fruit are such solid choices. Truly! When we think of frozen food we mostly think of unhealthy or not full of the proper macros but that's not the case here! Minimal ingredients, tasty food, and really solid macros to fit whatever goal you have nutrition-wise for the day. It's nice to have solid choices in your arsenal on a busy weekday night when you need dinner done but you don't want to sacrifice taste, quality, or health benefits.

#5 VEGGIES Their vegetable options are plentiful, stay fresh for so long, and are my favorites to grab from the moment I walk in. Wild arugula, baby spinach, butter lettuce, and both versions of their shredded cabbage are my must-grab items each time I shop. Cucumbers, carrots, and broccolini are also items I grab but they aren't the real stars of the veggies for me or my family. I truthfully love the frozen veggie section of Trader Joe's but I try to choose fresh veggies whenever I can because it forces us to use those veggies by a specific date. 

#6 SWEET TREATS the mini " hold the cones", mini mint ice cream sandwiches, and cold brew latte coffee bars are our FAVORITES. The kids L O V E There are always seasonal treats available and we indulge fully (but this is a list of things that aren't seasonal). Oh! The organic fruit strips are also a win where my family is concerned. 49 cents a strip and hard to pass up at the cash register. 

#7 FRESH HERBS I have never been to a store that has little pots of fresh herbs readily available for you to purchase at such a cost-effective price. I always grab mint every other trip. The basil is also a fan favorite in our house and I use them in our Caprese salads! 

#8 FRUITS Rainbow pears are hands down the kids' favorite, ever! The Cara Cara oranges are a nice change of pace from the naval oranges, and their pomegranate seeds are superior! Some will say that mandarin oranges are mandarin oranges but the TJ mandarins last longer! AND THEY ARE SO GOOD IN THE FRIDGE. TRUST ME ON THIS! Bananas are also just bananas but they are ALWAYS 19 cents at Trader Joe's and I'll take that price any day. 

#9 PASTA, SEASONINGS, AND JAR SAUCES Any ravioli is a go here. The Cacio e Pepe, butternut squash, lemon zest, and ricotta -- you name it, the packaged ravioli is absolute fire! Their sauces (marinara or otherwise) also stand superior to many of the other sauces I've tried elsewhere. I have been obsessed with TJ's everything but the bagel seasoning for years and have yet to find another quite as fragrant as this one. We've tried 

#10 SOUP If you want a good soup but you don't want to make it from scratch. The tomato soup, butternut squash soup, and chicken noodles soup are our favs! The tomato soup pairs so nicely with grilled cheese and is easily one of my weekdays go tos (yes, even in Spring + Summer). 

I didn't really stick to any structure or order in this list but I hope this helps someone new to Trader Joe's in a small way. Going in with an idea of what you are looking for or maybe things you would like to try is always best. I guarantee you that after you shop here once, you'll be hooked for life! 

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