19 Healthy Foods Nutritionists Buy at Trader Joe's

trader joe's sign
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Unless you love to cook and have a ton of free time, eating healthy on a budget is not always easy—but Trader Joe's makes it easier. In fact, the affordable supermarket chain is setting trends in the healthy food space. Everyone's obsession with cauliflower rice (and cauliflower gnocchi and cauliflower pizza crust) is largely thanks to Trader Joe's. And don't even get us started on cult favorites like Everything but the Bagel Seasoning products and Mandarin Orange Chicken. But don't be fooled, not everything you see at TJ's is healthy.

While we all know about obvious healthy choices—leafy greens, fruits, and pre-washed veggies—we asked some of the country's leading health experts to share their favorite healthy Trader Joe's snacks and foods. Here are 19 products that are not only nutritious, but also affordable and easy to incorporate into a well-balanced meal.

01 of 19

Broccoli & Kale Slaw Salad

Broccoli & Kale Slaw Salad bag
Trader Joe's

"Try shopping the perimeter of any Trader Joe's store," says nutritionist and holistic health coach, Jen Silverman. "This lets you stick with fresher items, such as fruit, vegetables, yogurt, meat, and fish, since packaged, preservative-rich, shelf-stable items are always located in the center aisles."

One veggie-packed item that Silverman loves? TJ's rotating roster of fresh salad mixes. "This salad mix is healthy, nutritious, and takes minutes to put together. Plus it's one-third the cost of a salad at a restaurant," she says. "You can eat it as-is or add your favorite protein. Pro tip: Skip the dressing it comes with to cut out extra sugar."

If you don't like kale slaw, Trader Joe's has similarly healthy mixes such as a Vegan Ranch Crunch Salad Kit and A Za'atar Tango Salad Kit.

02 of 19

Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper Soup carton
Trader Joe's

"This soup is not only healthy, but it's delicious," Silverman says. "The ingredients are clean (no fillers or additives). You can enjoy it warmed in a bowl or pour it on top of your favorite vegetables instead of a standard tomato sauce."

03 of 19

Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

Plastic tub of Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip
Trader Joe’s/The Kitchn

"Two tablespoons of this dip is just 30 calories and 1 gram net carbs, which is low for such a flavorful, hearty dip," says F-Factor founder and registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot. "It's a great appetizer for guests instead of traditional higher-fat dips, like [a] sour cream-based dip."

As TJ fanatics may know, the store sells additional healthy options such as Avocado Tzatziki Dip and Herbed Tahini Sauce.

04 of 19

Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry package with plate of cooked product beside it
Trader Joe's

"This Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry is super simple to make in under 10 minutes," Silverman says. "It's healthy (50 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup), very tasty, and can be eaten as a main or a side." Plus, it's inexpensive at $2.99 per bag. Zuckerbrot adds that unlike other frozen riced cauliflowers, this one does not have added ingredients like canola, olive, or sunflower oil, butter, or cornstarch. "It's just two simple ingredients: cauliflower and salt. Cauliflower is also a great source of fiber; it adds bulk and volume to any dish and is a great replacement for more carbohydrate-heavy dishes like fried rice," Zuckerbrot says.

05 of 19

Roasted Seaweed Snack

Package of Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack
Trader Joe's copyright 2016

"A little sweet, salty, and crunchy, these hit the spot with only 30 calories a pack," say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT. "It's a great way to get a little iodine, which many people surprisingly are deficient in. Seaweed also contains sulfated polysaccharides, which can help with your microbiome by increasing the growth of "good" bacteria in your gut. Plus, at just $3.49, they're far less expensive than other brands that typically range from $5.50 to $5.99."

06 of 19

Organic Walnut Halves

bag of organic walnut halves
Trader Joe's

Almonds seem to get all the glory, but according to The Nutrition Twins, walnuts are just as good for you. "They're a good source of antioxidants and one of the few foods that contain the plant form of omega-3 fat, which may help reduce heart disease risk," they say. "Trader Joe's Organic Walnut Halves come in full pieces and the packaging seems to protect the halves from breaking, unlike other brands which often have many crushed into little pieces."

07 of 19

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Trader Joe’s Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip packaging
Trader Joe's copyright 2016

"This is a great, filling meal with some baby carrots or whole-grain crackers," says Rachel Paul, Ph.D., RD. "I often advise leaving one in the office freezer for a last-minute meal."

08 of 19

Avocado's Number Guacamole to Go

Avocado's Number Guacamole to Go box
Trader Joe's

"We all love avocados and guacamole, but it goes brown so quickly," Paul says. "These single-serving guacamole packets are great for breakfast or snacks with hard-boiled eggs or carrots." Plus, they offer portion control since; while avocado is a great source of healthy fat, it's not particularly low in calories.

09 of 19

Steamed Lentils

Box of Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils
Trader Joe's

"These steamed lentils help lower blood sugar, they're low in calories, and a great source of folate and magnesium, contributing to heart health," says Jessica Mantell, MS, LDN, CNS and a Miami-based nutritionist. "Also, they have a good amount of insoluble fiber to help support digestive health."

10 of 19

Cruciferous Crunch Collection

Bag of unopened Cruciferous Crunch Collection
Trader Joe's

"This mix of cruciferous vegetables is fiber-rich, so it keeps you full for longer," says Mantell. "It's also extremely beneficial in reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of cancer by protecting the cells from DNA damage."

11 of 19

Nutritional Yeast

bag of Nutritional Yeast
amazon.com

Nutritional yeast isn't just a cheese alternative for vegans. "Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins, a complete protein, contains fiber, and is low in fat," Mantell says. You can sprinkle it on anything from a sandwich to protein, and even on pizza for a cheesy flavor without the calories and fat.

12 of 19

Oils

Trader Joe's Spanish Olive Oil Spray
Trader Joe's

"Every kitchen needs affordable, reliable oils that are great for quick and casual use," says Serena Poon, a chef, nutritionist, and reiki master. "Trader Joe's offers organic and premium oils at affordable prices," she adds. They have everything from olive oil (which is great for dressings) to coconut and avocado oils, which are great for high-heat cooking (since they have a high smoke point). Many of their oils are also available in spray cans, which is great for portion control.

13 of 19

Organic Sprouted Tricolor Quinoa

Organic Sprouted Tricolored Quinoa Package next to a plate with cooked product served with stir fry veggies
Trader Joe's

"One of my favorite items at Trader Joe's is their Organic Sprouted Tricolor Quinoa," says Poon. "I love that the quinoa is already sprouted and sold for only $2.99 for an 8-ounce bag." Sprouting means that the quinoa is not only more nutrient-dense, but it is also easier to digest.

14 of 19

Minced, Peeled, or Frozen Garlic

Crushed Garlic Package
amazon.com

"Garlic is a known anti-inflammatory food due to its high content of allicin. It's also heart-healthy and useful for reducing blood pressure and cholesterol," Tanya Freirich, MS, RD, CDN, CDCES, says. "These prepped garlics can make cooking meals easier and faster. Sauté the garlic with onions for a quick, easy, and flavorful addition to any protein, vegetable, or grain dish."

15 of 19

Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

Jar of Trader Joe’s New Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning
Trader Joe’s

"This seasoning can be added to anything," Silverman says. "Top your favorite veggies, sprinkle it on your eggs, or mix it into a tuna salad for an extra pop of flavor. One of my favorite snacks is fresh summer tomatoes, half of an avocado, and a dash of Everything but the Bagel Seasoning."

16 of 19

Frozen Veggie Spirals

Bag of Trader Joe’s Harvest Spaghetti Squash Spirals
Trader Joe's

"In general, I highly recommend buying veggies pre-zoodled instead of doing it yourself," Paul says. "The ones from Trader Joe's taste much better than any fresh types I've tried, they last in the freezer for months, and they're versatile." Look for spaghetti squash, zucchini, and carrot spirals in the frozen section.

17 of 19

21 Seasoning Salute

Jar of 21 Seasoning Salute
amazon.com

"I often recommend this seasoning to patients," says Ilana Lichter, MSRD, CDN. "It's a delicious blend of seasoning without the added salt, and it's well-priced. You can sprinkle it on just about anything, from fish to poultry or vegetables."

18 of 19

Organic Three Grain Tempeh

Organic Three Grain Tempeh
Trader Joe's

"Whether you're eating it straight up or adding it to your favorite vegetables and spicing it, this is a great protein option for everyone," says Lichter. "It tastes great and is well-priced."

19 of 19

Jicama Sticks

Container of Jicama Sticks
Trader Joe's

"Jicama is hard to find at other grocery stores and even harder to peel and chop," Freirich says. "Eat these crunchy, refreshing sticks with guacamole or top with lime and a bit of chili powder for a spicy snack." According to Freirich, they're low in calories while being a good source of vitamin C and fiber (12 grams), which keeps you feeling full longer.

Trader Joe's also sells Jicama Wraps (thinly sliced pieces of jicama), which are tasty and healthy tortilla alternatives.

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