My Favorite Trader Joe’s Items

I can clearly remember the first time I walked into a Trader Joe’s market. I grabbed a grocery cart, then walked around aimlessly as the realization hit that I had no idea what to buy. I grabbed a couple items that I had heard some friends talk about and tried to inconspicuously peek into other carts to see what other people were purchasing. I left that day with only a few items and mystified by the fact that friends could do the majority of their grocery shopping at just this one store. Fast forward to the present. I now do the majority of our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. Here are the reasons I have become a huge Trader Joe’s fan:

  • I can get in and out of Trader Joe’s in half the time it would take me to shop at larger grocery stores
  • I love helping myself to a small cup of coffee, tasting the sample of the day and picking up new meal ideas
  • Trader Joe’s products don’t include artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and no GMOs
  • The staff is friendly, helpful and willing to let you sample almost everything.
  • I am able to purchase the same amount of groceries for a lot less than I was paying at larger grocery stores (note: Trader Joe’s is able to keep their prices low by avoiding slotting fees, marketing fees, middlemen fees. There are a few items that tend to be more expensive. I have noted which items I avoid below)
  • They make shopping with kids a little easier. Children of all ages love finding the store mascot and receiving a free lollipop. Yummy samples don’t hurt either.
  • Checkout lines are short
  • Nobody packs a grocery bag better than a TJ’s employee

I know that many of you are already experienced Trader Joe’s shoppers, but I continue to hear from friends and family that they feel similar to how I felt on that first visit to Trader Joe’s. I am writing this post for anyone that feels a little lost wondering the isles or is hesitant to try a new product. I consistently stock my fridge and panty with the items listed here and every single one has passed my family taste test. If it isn’t listed here we either don’t like it, haven’t tried it or don’t need it.

Click here for a printable version of my Trader Joe’s Grocery List or click directly on the image below. I have these items listed in the order that I generally make my way around my local store. I have this list in my iPhone Reminders app so that I can access it easily and share it with the other members of my household. Read more about how and why I use Reminders here .

Trader Joe's, Trader Joe's grocery list, Trader Joe's favorites

Whether you are a TJ’s newbie or longtime faithful shopper, we can all use a little help figuring out how to use all of these groceries. I have included links to all my tried and true recipes below as well as tips on how I use specific items. Bookmark or pin this page so that the next time you are trying to figure out how to use the leftover mushrooms from last night’s dinner or you have a hankering for Brussels sprouts, you will have a resource to give you a fresh idea.

Produce

Note: You may have noticed that berries are missing from the list. We eat a lot of berries in our home. I typically buy organic strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries at Costco because they are better quality and less expensive. Seasonal fruits and veggies such as asparagus are also missing because they aren’t always available.

Refrigerated

  • Whipped cream cheese- not as heavy as regular cream cheese
  • Brie- always goes well with wine and crackers
  • Cracker cuts- easy appetizer or snack
  • Sliced sharp cheddar cheese- my grilled cheese go-to
  • Feta- greek pasta salad
  • Blue Cheese- harvest grilled chicken salad
  • Parmesan- pasta dishes, roasted veggies, you name it…
  • American cheese- we like this on an egg-wich
  • Shredded Mexican cheese- everything tastes better with this on top
  • Shredded mozarella- chicken skillet noodles
  • Fresh mozzarella log- baked gnocchi
  • Organic cheese sticks- snack on the go
  • Ham- tasty on an english muffin with egg in the morning
  • Smoked Turkey Breast- sandwich staple
  • Bruschetta sauce- easy and delicious lentil dip
  • Hummus & pretzel snack pack- my son loves to pack this in his lunch
  • Cheese tortellini- tortellini with pesto and tomatoes
  • Just chicken- BBQ chicken quinoa salad
  • Tamales with red sauce- an easy dinner, add this as a side
  • Cubano- my hubby takes this to have at his desk in the office
  • Egg & sausage burrito- great to grab when headed out the door for sports easy in the morning

Note: Buying pre-made sandwiches, salads and wraps will contribute to a much higher grocery bill. I try to limit the amount of items I buy in this section.

Dairy, Juice, Eggs, and Refrigerated Dough

  • Whipped Cream- makes hot cocoa “extra”
  • Half & Half- mint chocolate martini
  • 1% organic low-fat milk
  • Whole chocolate milk- my kids claim this brand is the BEST
  • Organic low-fat cottage cheese- one of my go-to lunches topped with fruit
  • non-fat plain greek yogurt- cheesy chicken casserole
  • Fruit & cream yogurt cup- a creamy, decadent snack
  • Squishers yogurt- freeze for a “frozen yogurt” snack
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice- easier than squeezing oranges yourself
  • Orange, peach, mango juice- my daughter’s juice of choice
  • Cage-free organic eggs
  • Butter
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Refrigerated biscuits- pizza monkey bread
  • Refrigerated croissants- wrapped around a hot dog for a kid-friendly dinner
  • Refrigerated cinnamon rolls- a special breakfast treat

Bakery

  • Corn tortillas- carnitas tacos
  • Flour tortillas- smothered beef burritos
  • Sourdough bread- our go-to for toast
  • Dinner rolls- I keep these in the freezer and defrost as needed
  • Sour batard loaf- great with this soup
  • Honey whole wheat hot dog buns- try substituting a banana topped with pb&j in place of a hot dog for breakfast one morning

Freezer

Pantry

Meat

Note: There isn’t a lot of meat or fish on my Trader Joe’s list. We purchase the majority of our organic boneless chicken breasts, organic ground beef and pork tenderloin at Costco to save money. I only listed the meats that I go out of my way to purchase at Trader Joe’s because I prefer their cut or taste. (ex: I hate handling chicken and don’t mind spending a little extra on their thin sliced chicken breasts if a recipe calls for it instead of a full sized breast). If a recipe includes meat that I haven’t bought in bulk or I don’t buy often, I will add it that week’s grocery list.

Beverages

Bath & Body

  • Shaving cream- the best shaving cream I have used

Snacks, Dried Fruit & Nuts

Note: I left cakes, cookies, ice cream and candy off my lists because these items are never a “need” more of a “want”. I tend to choose the seasonal items when I am in need of a treat because I know they won’t be around for long. Peppermint Jo-Jo ice cream is a staple in our freezer around the holidays

I hope you have found this list useful. Putting it together has been a true labor of love on my part because I honestly can’t imagine life before Trader Joe’s anymore. I would love to get your feedback. You can check out my favorite fall and winter seasonal Trader Joe’s items here and here.

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