My Top 20 at Trader Joe’s

by in Blog Posts, Food & Nutrition March 25, 2023

Repost/revised from 2019

Listen up Lake Norman, WE NEED A TRADER JOE’S!
TJ’s is doing it right and we need to bring that happy shopping experience closer to our community. 

Trader Joe’s is my “icing on the cake” grocery store. I cannot necessarily purchase all of the items that I need there, but it certainly takes my food up a notch! The variety of foods and prices, the flowers, the seasonal items, the wines, and the people who work there….TJ’s provides a shopping experience! It is not just your mundane, obligatory trip to the grocery store.

Charlotte currently has 2 locations – University and Uptown. Right now, I drive 30+ minutes, usually to the University location (because parking at the Uptown location can be a nightmare) once a month to stock up. The thing is that TJ’s comes out with new items all of the time, so sometimes I miss the party by only going once a month.

If we had a location in Denver (ideal since I live here), Cornelius, Huntersville or even Mooresville, I would go weekly. 

So, if you have been and love it, CLICK HERE now. Just do it 🙂 

If you have not been, do yourself a favor and go! It may be overwhelming at first, but once you figure out what you love to buy there, it’s like riding a bike – you know what to do, but it brings a new adventure every time.

Here is my best advice to make the most of your TJ’s journey!

  • Take your time. Especially if you are a first-timer. Browse. Ask questions – the employees love to chat about new items and their favorites. You may even want to grab a seasoned TJ’s shopper and take the trip together. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, just because it comes from Trader Joe’s does not mean it is healthy! (Note: this same rule applies for Earth Fare and Whole Foods too)
  • I have found that while I have been shopping at Trader Joe’s for YEARS, their prices have increased as they have everywhere, but are still very reasonable.
  • Realize that they do have seasonal items. Items that you love and then are discontinued, only to find that occasionally they come back months later. I am not sure why, but just roll with it. 
  • I typically do not buy produce at Trader Joe’s. Prices are not fantastic on produce and you need to keep an eye on expiration dates.

My top picks to purchase at Trader Joe’s:

  • CARDS. For all occasions and they are only $.99 – compared to $5.99 at other stores… for a card?!?
  • DIPS. Specifically hummus, the vegan cashew pesto, and avocado tzatziki dip. Technically that is 3 items, but we will call it one.
  • RIDGE CUT POTATO CHIPS. 3 ingredients. Potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt. Sunflower oil is not ideal, but comparing to other chips, these are a win!
  • SUN-DRIED TOMATOES. In a bag, not in oil. Absolutely delicious and full of flavor. Add to salads, side dishes, on top of eggs, etc. This is also what I use in my sweet potato salad.
  • BRUCHETTA. In the jar. Minimal ingredients and again, full of flavor. Serve with your cheese and cracker plate at happy hour or on top of your omelet with some goat cheese.
  • DILL PICKLES. My daughter LOVES pickles. Most pickles in the stores have added food dyes and preservatives. You can find some good ones at local farmers markets or TJs pickles, which use turmeric for coloring.
  • CONDIMENTS. Again, technically 3 items but organic ketchup, whole grain and dijon mustards, and organic mayo. Minimal ingredients and all ones you can pronounce.
  • GOLDEN ROUNDS CRACKERS. My people love the cousin of this cracker that you buy at your local store, but those are full of ingredients to avoid, including hydrogenated oils and HFCS.  These crackers taste the same and are a much better choice if you are going to eat crackers.
  • EGGPLANT GARLIC SPREAD. Again, another delicious addition. I usually serve this with raw veggies.
  • COCONUT SUGAR. Good price. While all sugar is metabolized the same in the body, coconut sugar brings a rich panel of nutrients to the table.
  • TACO SHELLS. You would be surprised at the laundry list of preservatives and ingredients in a taco shell. With taco night being a staple in our house, quality shells are necessary. 3 ingredients: organic corn flour, sunflower oil, and lime.
  • COFFEES AND TEAS. Specifically Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea. Great for digestion and fighting inflammation in the body.
  • HIMALAYAN PINK SALT. You can find this anywhere now but this one comes in its own grinder and the pink salt is a good source of essential trace minerals.
  • EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL SEASONING. Delicious. On everything.
  • CRYSTALIZED GINGER. Again, ginger is great for digestion. This comes in a bag full of sweet chunks of ginger root. I keep them on hand for any time we have an upset stomach or stomach pain. Eat 2 hunks of ginger and 99% of the time, stomach issues subside. A much better choice than Tums.
  • FREEZER WAFFLES. These come in whole grain and gluten-free. Nutritionally, it is virtually impossible to find a healthy freezer waffle in my opinion. But, throw some nut butter or Greek yogurt and berries on top and you have a super quick, balanced breakfast for the kids before they run out the door to school.
  • SARDINES. Yep, little fish. Nutritional powerhouses, loaded with protein and an excellent source of omega 3s.  Perfect to throw on top of a salad with some lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper.
  • FROZEN CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI. When I just feel like that pasta fix. Delicious sautéed in coconut oil,  topped with Rao’s sauce or the vegan cashew pesto.
  • TJ’s COCONUT AMINOS. 99% of soybeans in the US are GMO and also recognized hormone disruptors in the body. I personally stay away from all soy products (start looking because it is in EVERYTHING) and this is the perfect, healthy substitution to soy sauce.
  • FLOWERS AND PLANTS. Their selection is gorgeous and they tend to last a while. Studies have proven that having fresh flowers and plants in the house improves air quality and mood. If my trip timing to Trader Joe’s is right, I also like to have them in my guest room when family and friends come to visit.

Let’s bring Trader Joe’s to Lake Norman!!

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One Comment
  1. Kelly Greffin May 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Loving this list! Going to put in my car for the next trip to TJ’s!

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