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10 Trader Joe's Items Nutritionists Swear By

by
author image Kelly Plowe
Kelly Plowe is a Philadelphia-based dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. She writes articles for publications and serves as a consultant for food and nutrition companies.

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10 Trader Joe's Items Nutritionists Swear By
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Anyone who has shopped at Trader Joe’s knows that it's a game-changer. Their aisles burst with snacks, convenient salad packages and other delectable items that are easy on your wallet. They also have deliciously nutritious finds that can help you slay the healthy-eating game. But how do you know what to buy? To help, we've rounded up top dieticians and asked them to share their 10 favorite Trader Joe's picks. Happy shopping!

1. Ancient Grain & Super Seed Oatmeal
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1 ANCIENT GRAIN & SUPER SEED OATMEAL

Overnight oats fans: We have a winner! Instead of just oatmeal, which we all still love, this Trader Joe’s find includes whole-grain rolled oats along with quinoa and amaranth flakes. “I absolutely love the texture and taste, plus it’s super filling with whole grains and healthy fats,” says Amanda Kirpitch, RD and certified diabetes educator. And for those looking to save a little time in the morning… no need for add-ins. Sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, flax and chia seeds are already thrown in for good measure. But feel free to toss in some fresh or dried fruit before enjoying.

2. Wild Alaskan Salmon
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2 WILD ALASKAN SALMON

The majority of us are coming up short on our omega-3s. Make it easier on yourself and snatch up this frozen, individually-portioned wild Alaskan salmon. “Omega 3's are good for our heart, brain and entire body! But our bodies don't make it so we have to eat it,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, ACSM HFS, author of the upcoming book “Body Kindness.” “Plus, salmon is one of the few foods with vitamin D, a hormone that impacts metabolism, our mood and other body functions." Not sure how to cook the salmon? Scritchfield offers some tips: “I have used salmon in everything from fish tacos to salmon cakes (just replace crab in your favorite crab cake recipe).”

3. Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter With Flax & Chia Seeds
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3 CRUNCHY SALTED PEANUT BUTTER WITH FLAX & CHIA SEEDS

Can we all just agree that peanut butter makes everything better? Now throw in some flax and chia seeds, and you’ve just taken better to best. At $2.99 per 16-ounce jar, you really can’t find a better deal. The ingredients are simple: roasted peanuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and sea salt. The added seeds bump up the omega-3 content, providing 420 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid per serving. It's a product that's delicious, healthy and priced just right -- making it a win-win. Just don’t eat it all in one sitting (one serving is two tablespoons!).

4. Pesto and Quinoa Spread
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4 PESTO AND QUINOA SPREAD

Whether you have a nut allergy, are time-starved or just like to keep it simple in the kitchen, this spread is for you. “It’s a great pesto option that adds a little texture -- thanks to the quinoa -- to your pasta dishes. It’s similar in calories and fat to other pestos but [doesn’t contain] pine nuts,” says Barbara Ruhs, M.S., RDN, supermarket nutrition consultant. Pesto has a way of elevating any meal -- whether you're eating chicken, fish or salad, etc. “It’s also shelf-stable and only needs refrigeration after opening so you’ll always have it on hand,” says Ruhs.

5. Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce
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5 TOMATO BASIL MARINARA SAUCE

Patricia Bannan, M.S., RDN and author of “Eat Right When Time is Tight,” knows a thing or two about healthy shortcuts in the kitchen. This delicious Trader Joe’s find “works great for a tasty and convenient add to pasta, meat balls or a veggie dish,” she says. “It has a pretty clean ingredient list including tomato puree, diced tomatoes, spices (parsley, basil, oregano) and EVOO.” It’s also priced at a cost you’ll love -- $2.29 for a 25-ounce jar.

6. Greens, Beans and Grains
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6 GREENS, BEANS AND GRAINS

OK, so the title alone doesn’t sell it, but trust us: Trader Joe’s isn’t messing around with this frozen entrée. It combines kale, garbanzo beans, peanuts and couscous -- it's seriously delicious. This spicy find is a perfect backup plan for when you stay late at work or don’t have time to pack a lunch. The dish is on the lighter side, so you’ll want to pack a piece of fruit or side salad. Or, throw in some other cooked veggies and enjoy!

7. Freeze-Dried Fruits
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7 FREEZE-DRIED FRUITS

When you can’t score some real fruit, this is the next-best thing. Trader Joe’s freeze-dried fruits -- pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, banana and more -- are perfect for when you’re on the go. “Dehydrated fruit has no added sugar and is perfect for DIY trail-mix instead of dried fruit. They’re also a great snack to take when traveling,” says dietitian Beryl Krinsky, owner of the corporate wellness firm B.Komplete. Trader Joe’s also sells dehydrated vegetables (think: beets and broccoli), which offer a low-calorie crunch to salads and other dishes.

8. Goat Cheese Crottins
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8 GOAT CHEESE CROTTINS

Trader Joe's thinks of it all. Found in the cheese section, the store offers little goat cheese “medallions” or “crottins” that are individually wrapped, taking the guesswork out of how much cheese you should eat. “Each one is a perfect portion size,” says dietitian Althea Zanecosky, nutrition communications consultant. “I use them in my salad -- it goes great with pistachios and dried cherries -- and sometimes melt over an individual portion of leftover pasta for lunch at my desk.” You can also top whole-grain crackers or a bowl of soup with the cheese, which adds a flavor kick and stay-with-you protein.

9. Super Seed Blend With Cranberry and Coconut Chips
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9 SUPER SEED BLEND WITH CRANBERRY AND COCONUT CHIPS

Meet your new pantry staple: Trader Joe's Super Seed Blend is a nutrient-packed mix of chia seed, buckwheat groats, dried cranberries, hemp seeds and coconut chips. Use it to top yogurt or oatmeal; the mix adds a sweet crunch along with healthy omega-3s. Two tablespoons have just 100 calories and offer up to five grams of fiber and 1,000 milligrams of ALA omega-3s.

10. Tahini Sauce
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10 TAHINI SAUCE

We’re not hating on hummus, but sometimes you need to switch it up a bit. “The tahini sauce is a nice break from hummus,” says Michelle Dudash, RD, Cordon Bleu-certified chef and creator of Clean Eating Cooking School: Monthly Meal Plans Made Simple. “It's made from ground sesame seeds, garlic and other seasonings. I like to dip vegetable sticks, like sugar snap peas, cucumbers and carrots, in the tahini. It's also a great spread for wraps.” This Trader Joe’s item can be found in the refrigerated hummus section (and yes, it’s OK if you pick up one of those, too!).

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you shop at Trader Joe's? If so, what are some of your favorite products or shopping tips? Do you use any of the items included here? Are there any you can't wait to try? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments section below!

Related: 10 Quick, Nutritionist-Approved Packaged Breakfasts

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