Trader Joe’s Favorites … My Recommendations


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I have so many favorites at Trader Joe’s that I discover (and continue to discover) and re-purchase time and time again. I often get asked about products I would recommend to someone who is heading to Trader Joe’s to pick up some healthier-for-you or point friendly options.. Many of these items have been featured on my blog. If there is a related post to an item listed, I will link that to the original posts review.  I will update this list as I find/try additional products that I enjoy.
But without further ado … come do a little shopping with me! Here are some of my Trader Joe’s favs/recommendations:
FRESH:
Fresh fruit (seriously, they have THE best apples, etc)
Produce (I recommend purchasing their produce if you know prices of produce in your local shopping center)
Broccoli Slaw
REFRIGERATED:
PREPARED MEALS:
Traditional meatloaf
FROZEN:
Berry cherry blend
SEASONINGS:
21 season salute
Everyday seasoning
Coconut oil spray
SAUCES:
Low fat marinara
CONDIMENTS:
Pumpkin Butter (SEASONAL – Fall)
Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
DIPS:
Hummus (Garlic, Chipotle Pepper, Horseradish)
SNACKS:
Cookie butter (original and crunchy)
DESSERTS:

DRY/BOXED:

Amazon Haul: Tajin & PB2


I’ve grown to truly love Amazon because I can get items I cannot find in stores and I can also get items I can find in stores for cheaper on Amazon.  Those things range all across the board but two of my recent “food finds” I purchased are a newbie and a repeat purchase.  The first item I went on the hunt for (after calling various stores and asking different produce managers) was:
Tajin – a seasoning produced by a Mexican company.  The spice is a blend of chile peppers, lime and salt which is a spicy tangy mix to sprinkle over fruit. I admit when I first saw Tajin popping up on my Instagram feed I was intrigued, but a little scared.  I can sometimes be sensitive to spice (depending on the pepper) but I decided I’d give this a shot.  It is a lot cheaper if you can find it at your local grocery store, but since Amazon was the only place I could find mine, I bit the bullet and ordered it even though it was slightly more than it would have been if I could have found it in a store.
PB2 in the big mamma jamma package!  PB2 is a powder peanut butter which gives you the flavor of peanut butter, without all the fat and calories associated with regular peanut butter.  2 tablespoons of this stuff (powder form) is 1 points plus value. Amazing!  I’ve used it with cool whip to make fruit dips, I’ve used it to make peanut butter pie and I’ve used it in smoothies.  The possibilities are truly endless with this stuff.  I made a couple peanut butter pies (there’s also a chocolate PB2 which is amazing BTW) and NOBODY knew it wasn’t “real” peanut butter.  I stick to buying my PB2 off Amazon because I sometimes have a hard time tracking it down and after finding a different brand in Whole Foods I found it was way more expensive in store than online.
QUESTION:
Do you have any great food finds you purchase online?

Special K – Protein Cereal

I was looking to boost up my protein intake and after looking a few things up online I stumbled upon an article about Special K’s brand of cereal that is very high in protein.  I looked up the product and put it on my shopping list.  I had a hard time finding it at the store at first and then spotted it on the very bottom shelf and it was the last box left.  I calculated the points plus values (3 for a ¾ cup serving) and into the cart it went.
The greatest part of this cereal is the fact that it offers 10 grams of protein in a single ¾ cup serving.  I try to have protein with every meal and I find this cereal completely satisfies me and keeps me full.  Typically cereals satisfy my hunger for a couple hours and then I’m immediately starving.  Adding some fruit to the cereal definitely bulks it up and makes it a very satisfying and filling breakfast.
The flavor of the cereal reminds me of a cross between Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes. They’re not sweet but there is a hint of sweetness to it (if that makes sense).  They’re crunchy but it’s softer than Frosted Flakes would be because this cereal is made from wheat.  I would suggest waiting to put your milk on it right before you begin to eat it because your cereal will sog out on you quickly (within 10 minutes at least).
I do quite enjoy this cereal and will definitely pick up another box once I finish this one.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite high protein/fiber cereal?

Walden Farms Chocolate Dip

Walden Farms has been out for years. Their big claim to fame is providing food products (condiments, salad dressings, dips and ice cream toppings) guilt free as well as calorie free.  I’ve tried some Walden Farms products in the past and wasn’t a fan, but I’ve also found others that I quite enjoy.
I was eyeing the cream cheese dip in the prepared fruit section of the grocery store, then spotted the Walden Farms Chocolate Dip and I decided to pick it up. I hadn’t tried the chocolate variety – but I had tried a calorie free caramel dip and absolutely hated it.  But I felt chocolate was safer because it was less able to be screwed up – and I was right.
The consistency of this dip is along the lines of a thick pudding. It can be a little “clumpy” but if you dip fruit into it, it’s really not bad. I quite enjoyed it with strawberries, apples and even bananas.  I didn’t find that it had a significant aftertaste and it did taste like chocolate to me.
Calorie wise is listed as 0 and to calculate the points plus values it comes out as 0 points plus.  Granted, some folks give this a point or two when they eat it – but it’s up to those who eat it and how much they’re eating it to be the judge.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any Walden Farms products? If so, what have you tried and what have you liked/disliked?

Dinner: Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage & Beer Battered Onion Rings

I think it’s evident from some of my dinner and food finds posts that I love Trader Joe’s.  They offer an array of comfort foods which are point friendly and also delicious.  One day dinner was going to be a staple “comfort food” sausage sandwiches!
I heated up the Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage in the oven along with the Trader Joe’s Melange & Trois mixed red, yellow and green peppers.  The sausages are delicious – a nice smooth garlic flavor, without being overbearing.  Slapped on a hot dog roll with the peppers, a little mustard and ketchup you’d never know you’re eating a chicken sausage (well, you can tell it’s not pork because it doesn’t give you that immediate heavy feeling in your stomach).  It’s also not extremely fatty as pork sausages are.  They are only 3 points plus values for one, plus 2 points plus values for the hot dog bun.
A while back, I picked up a bag of Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings and my boyfriend and I have been in love since.  They are quite delicious, sweet and quite possibly THE best frozen onion rings I have ever had.  Onion rings are one of my favorite fried treats (particularly when at the beach) and these are just money.  They’re nicely battered, they’re sweet and they do get nice and crispy in the oven – because soggy onion rings are just a big yuck!  These are straight out delicious. These are so good we typically always have a bag in the freezer as a quick side to a meal.  3 ounces is only 5 points plus values.
Quite a delicious, filling AND simple meal!
QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite simple meals to pick up and make from Trader Joe’s?

Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Dip – French Onion

Dannon makes one of my favorite brands of Greek yogurt so when I finally spotted the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Dip in French Onion I immediately had to put it into my cart.  I’m a big fan of chips and dip and dips are not the most point friendly type of sides, especially because most dips have a 1 or 2 tablespoon servings and typically are loaded with fat.  Because of that it’s really easy to overeat because it can be one of those types of foods you accidentally overeat while chatting, etc.
One great thing about this product is, the serving size of the Dannon Oikos dips are 2 tablespoons.  2 tablespoons is 1 points plus BUT so is 4 tablespoons!
Now, this is made from Greek yogurt (and if you like Greek yogurt you know that plain Greek yogurt is VERY tart) so you cannot take a bite of this and hope it taste just like a full fat French onion dip.  The French onion flavor is kind of overwhelmed by the tartness of the yogurt, but it is a nice dip to have with chips or carrots.  The French onion flavor is there, but it’s not as bold and in your face as it would normally be because the Greek yogurt is tart and does bring that flavor category down a bit.  Nonetheless it is tasty and a nice treat to have one in a while.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the new Dannon Oikos Dips?

DiGiorno Pizzeria! Supreme Speciale Pizza


The last time I had DiGiorno pizza has been probably 3 years ago. Whys that?  Well, DiGiorno used to be my favorite frozen pizza and that’s because during the time in my life where I didn’t read nutritional information and I solely went on what I liked to eat.  Well, I liked DiGiorno pizza and I ate about ½ a pizza on my own.  Well, fast forward to joining Weight Watchers and I realized that a serving in a rising crust DiGiorno pizza is 1/8th of the pizza.  Around the time I calculated it out and it was 9 points per SLICE of pizza (1/8th).  Needless to say, I hadn’t purchased another DiGiorno for myself to eat in a VERY long time.
That is, until I saw the new Pizzeria! line launched to my local Target and I checked out the points plus values. 1/4th of a pizza was 9 points plus? Say what?!  I was running a ton of errands around the beginning of April and wasn’t going to be home for 3+ hours so I didn’t buy it.  So when I did want it (by mid-April) I was sending everyone on Pizzeria! hunting missions and all were coming up empty handed.
We found the DiGiorno Pizzeria! Supreme Speciale Pizza at Walmart and paid $3 for it after a coupon.  My boyfriend and I had it for dinner one night and I swear … this is THE best frozen pizza I have ever had!
I am a pizza officiando (I think I can accurately wear that hat – because I’ve eaten many pizzas in my hay day and even post-Weight Watchers start).  I order out pizza at least once a week, and if we don’t order it out, we’re either making our own or heating up a frozen pizza.  This takes the cake where frozen pizzas are concerned.  It’s got a moderately thick crust. The sauce is delicious. The vegetables are sautéed and just delicious – they’re not that plain jane throw frozen veggies on the frozen pizza and call it a supreme.  This is the bad mama jamma of frozen pizzas.  They’re so good we now have 2 more in the freezer for whenever a moment of pizza weakness arises.
1/4th = 9 points plus.  Totally worth it!
QUESTION:
What is your favorite frozen pizza?

Weight Watchers – Popped Roasted Red Pepper Crisps


A new snack has been released to Weight Watchers locations – that snack being the Popped Roasted Red Pepper Crisps. After hearing the receptionists talk about how delicious they were, I decided to pick up a box. They were on sale for I want to say $3.50 or $3.95 – I can’t remember.  I love roasted red pepper hummus, so I was intrigued to see how this would correspond in chip form.
The interesting part of these chips is they really DO taste like roasted red pepper hummus.  They are made out of chick pea flour and rice flour.  The flavor of the roasted red peppers is clearly evident BUT it’s not overwhelming.  The coloring may stick to your fingers and it may very well give you slightly red fingertips.  I found they were a nice snack. They’d be great to pair with a sandwich or even to have as a snack with a small piece of fruit (well, I suggest fruit because I am a volume eater and a bag of chips is not going to completely fill my stomach.)
They really aren’t bad for 2 points plus values.  I love crunchy, snacky foods and the normal flavors that are out in the market can sometimes get boring – so these “spice” things up a bit (and no, they are not spicy).
QUESTION:
Have you tried the new Popped Roasted Red Pepper Crisps?

Arctic Zero – Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream


There has been a lot of buzz around the Arctic Zero brand of frozen novelties.  There are a lot of people who love the brand, hate the brand, or have certain flavors they just plain don’t like or really enjoy.  There are also others who don’t believe the nutritional information listed on the container.  I admit I was a little hesitant to find a store to purchase because however could ½ cup of ice cream be only 37 calories (1/2 cup = 1 points plus value)?! I’ll be honest, part of me thought if it was true, it would taste like dirt.
After seeing it for weeks upon weeks all over my Instagram feed I decided to find a store that sold the brand.  I googled and found a Whole Foods location near my work that sold them – so I decided to make a Whole Foods grocery run at lunch one day.  I found them in the freezer section, alongside the other ice creams.  This particular store only had 4 flavors available, so I picked up the Chocolate Peanut Butter and the Maple Vanilla (which I have not tried yet).  The pints have been sitting in the freezer, because I was not feeling adventurous enough.  Well, I happened to be feeling adventurous this week and I have to say I LOVE this flavor!

It’s too bad it took me so long to try it, but the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor is quite delicious.  I mean, you CAN tell you’re not eating regular ice cream. It’s lighter ice cream, there’s a little bit of iciness to it (but if you let it sit for a moment, it goes away).  It’s creamy, it’s delicious and it’s packed with flavor.  It’s more chocolatey than peanut butter – but there is a mild hint of peanut butter in the background.  The ice cream itself is definitely best to eat with something on it.  I found it was totally delicious with sliced banana and strawberries on it. It brought the flavors together and made a relatively guilt free dessert seem like a guilty one.
I did eat 1 cup servings at a time which came out to be 2 points plus.  I had another sundae later in the week and I just really enjoy this flavor.  It is a little pricy – these were just under $5 at Whole Foods, but worth it for a once in a while treat.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any Arctic Zero products? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?

Trader Joe’s Lemon Bars

I had purchased these Lemon Bars from Trader Joe’s about a month or so back and they’ve been sitting in the freezer waiting to be eaten.  Last week my boyfriend and I wanted something sweet, but since we didn’t have anything in the house that we both wanted, we took the box of these out of the freezer and set them on the counter to defrost for 45 minutes.
One thing I should say is that my boyfriend and I are lovers of lemon desserts.  Lemon donuts, lemon tarts, lemon cake, lemon anything in a dessert is a-okay with us!  So I imagined these would be phenomenal.  Trader Joe’s makes some of the best hidden jewels so I already knew these would be a homerun.  And I was right.
They are VERY lemony, but the powdered sugar on top of the dessert really brings it down a notch. The consistency of the lemon portion is more of along the lines of a soft cheesecake, if you will.  The bottom portion is a delicious graham like cracker crust.  They are small – two normal size bites and it will be gone, but the perfect thing is it’s JUST enough to satisfy that sweet tooth.  I had 1 and was satisfied. My boyfriend happily munched away on them and finished the remainder that night. I’ve got to add them to my Trader Joe’s shopping list to pick up on the next trip through Trader Joe’s!
Points plus wise 1 bar (a serving) is 2 points plus. You can have 2 for 4 points plus.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite lemon dessert?