Trader Joe’s is a unicorn; no matter your taste buds, income, or where you live, odds are you’ll find something to love and proudly tote around your brown paper (or fabric) Trader Joe’s bag. Unfortunately, that “something to love” can often come with a major dose of sugar or an equally monstrous load of sodium.

I’m the first to say I failed in the no sugar/no salt before two departments. Once my second was born, I’d find myself in toddler yoga feeding the baby with one hand while handing my toddler a mini box of animal cookies with the other. But everything in moderation, aye?

In the end, we can all only do our best — but there’s no denying that preparation is the key to optimization.

“If you’re not prepared, it’s easy to turn to sugary snacks like granola bars or frozen treats (hello Chocolate Lava Cakes), which are made from processed ingredients and are high in sugar. These cause a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash that leaves you exhausted and that triggers the release of cortisol,” say registered dieticians and founders of The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD. “Those energy dips spell trouble when the kids get home from school or when they get crabby because it feels like it should be nap time for you too, and it’s hard to stabilize your mood when your energy has plummeted.”

Instead, as a rule of thumb, The Nutrition Twins suggest focusing on the fresh produce and meats offered by the popular chain. “They’re nutrient-dense choices, and the produce will help kids, pregnant and busy moms to meet their fiber, antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral requirements, while fresh meats will help them meet their protein needs and vitamin requirements.”

Low-fat and non-fat dairy items are also good options for meals and snacks since they’re a great source of protein and calcium. “The organic Greek yogurt or cheese sticks combined with fruit make for a satisfying, nutrient-dense snack for kids and adults.”

But let’s get more specific.

Here’s a look at over a dozen food options to throw in your cart next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, according to nutritionists.


Trader Joe’s Organic Roasted Turkey Breast Slices

Trader Joe’s

These are fantastic for busy moms on the go and perfect for making healthy sandwiches for kids’ lunches. “They’re tasty, a great source of protein; they’re low in artery-clogging fat; they don’t have carcinogenic nitrates or nitrates like many deli meats; and they don’t have hormones or antibiotics,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Try wrapping them around a cheese stick for a high protein, satisfying snack for kids and moms.”


Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

Trader Joe’s

“I often buy another brand from FreshDirect, but it costs $4.59 for a five-ounce bag, while Trader Joe’s version comes in a 16-ounce bag and is just $2.49,” says registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN. “In terms of ingredients, they’re quite similar — though the Trader Joe’s version does contain corn syrup, but still it comes in at two grams of sugar per serving, just like the ‘healthier’ brand.”


Trader Joe’s Joe’s O’s

Trader Joe’s

Most of us grew up with Cheerios, which remains a staple at daycares, schools, and lunch boxes. But Trader Joe’s offers a solid alternative to the popular oat-based cereal. “Trader Joe’s version is made with whole grain oat flour and is fortified with vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, and vitamin B1,” says Largeman-Roth. “Like the classic cereal, this one is low in sugar, at just two grams per hearty 3/4 cup serving, and has four grams of fiber.” Plus, you can’t really beat the $1.99 price.


KIND’s Nuts & Sea Salt Bars

Trader Joe’s

While Trader Joe’s sells mostly namesake products, they have a select offering of third-party products, including KIND’s Nuts & Sea Salt bars. The Nutrition Twins are a fan of these bars because they consider them a healthy, indulgent-feeling snack that both kids and adults love. “They’re a great dupe for junk food since they hit the spot for sweet and salty. While other snacks and most bars are full of sugar and highly processed ingredients that are usually devoid of the satisfying combination of protein and fiber, this isn’t the case here.”

They go on to note that these bars are satisfying thanks to the combination of six grams of protein and seven grams of fiber, and they contain nutrient-dense ingredients like almonds. “You can stash these in your purse, stroller or diaper bag for when hunger strikes you or the kids. Our personal favorite is Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, which satisfies chocolate cravings with only five grams of sugar.”


Trader Joe’s Organic Broccoli Slaw

Trader Joe’s

Fast, easy, organic and nutritious, this mix of shredded carrots and broccoli stalks is a great weight loss hack for time-pressed moms. “It adds crunch, flavor, and extra nutrients and fiber to salads and stir-frys, helping to fill moms up with few calories,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Plus, it packs in nutrition from B vitamins (including folate, a bonus for pregnant mamas), vitamin C, potassium and even some iron, and the stalks have more fiber than the florets.”


Trader Joe’s Jicama Wraps

Trader Joe’s

For any parent who’s trying to shed extra pounds or lose the baby weight, these wraps are a dream come true. “Where other doughy wraps can set you back several hundred calories, you can have two of these wraps for just 15 calories, and while it doesn’t taste exactly like a burrito wrap, it has its own delicious and somewhat nutty and sweet flavor that even kids love,” say The Nutrition Twins.


Trader Joe’s Rice Cracker Medley

These are so popular, they’re often out of stock. “This medley contains a mix of different rice crackers (sweet, spicy and vinegary), plus wasabi peas,” says Largeman-Roth. “They’re addictively crunchy and relatively low in sodium at 250mg for 26 crackers.”


Trader Joe’s Mini Organic Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

Largeman-Roth singles these crackers out because they’re similar to Ritz Bits, but organic. “The crackers are lightly salted and crunchy, while the peanut butter filling is creamy and smooth. They do, however, have four grams of added sugar and two grams of saturated fat per serving (13 crackers).”


Trader Joe’s A Strawberry Walks Into A Bar

“If you’ve ever had a Nutri-Grain bar, these soft cereal bars will be very familiar,” says Largeman-Roth. “I have two middle schoolers who often don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast before running out the door, so they’ll grab one of these on the way out.” While she cautions that they’re not the lowest sugar option out there — the bars have 15 grams of added sugar — they’re a good tasting bar and are made with organic oat flour and oats.


Trader Joe’s Organic Roasted Teriyaki Seaweed Snack

Both kids and moms love to snack on these. “They’re a little sweet, a little salty and crunchy, and they hit the spot with only 30 calories a pack,” say The Nutrition Twins. “This seaweed snack is also a great way to get a little iodine, which many people surprisingly are deficient in.” Plus, The Nutrition Twins underline that seaweed contains sulfated polysaccharides, which can help both moms and kids improve the health of their microbiome by increasing the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut.

A few runners-up? The nutritionists also recommend:

  • TJ’s Organic Super Bread: “I love that it’s generously loaded with pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds as well as carrots and dried apples. Two slices provide 240 calories, five grams of fiber, and nine grams of protein with only one gram of added sugar,” says Largeman-Roth.
  • TJ’s Organic Grilled Chicken Breast with Rib Meat: “Moms can toss them on top of a salad, in a pasta dish, in a stir-fry, or in a kid’s sandwich or wrap,” recommend the Nutrition Twins. “And, unlike many prepared slices of chicken breast, they’re not loaded with preservatives.”
  • TJ’s Organic Roasted Baby Golden Beet Wedges: “These beets are an easy way to get folate, fiber, vitamin C, and nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide, helping improve circulation and lowering blood pressure. This is an added bonus during pregnancy, to help prevent preeclampsia,” say the Nutrition Twins.
  • TJ’s Hi-Protein Veggie Burger: The Nutrition Twins love these because they pack a whopping 25 grams of plant protein.

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