The Best & Worst Trader Joe's Foods—Ranked!
We love Trader Joe's and often find some really unique grocery items that we can't really find anywhere else. And of course, there's always the old standbys that everyone puts in their carts like the frozen orange chicken and cauliflower gnocchi. But when it comes down to picking the Trader Joe's items that are actually nutritionally beneficial, do you know what to steer clear of and what to add into your cart outside of the fresh produce section?
We're breaking down the foods available at Trader Joe's—ranked from worst to best based on nutrition—so you can make better decisions next time you walk into the wonderland of grocery stores. Keep reading, and for more, check out the 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.
Carne Asada Burritos
One of the worst nutrition offenders at Trader Joe's is the Carne Asada Burritos. The duo of burritos has a whopping 880 milligrams of sodium, which is almost 40% of your daily intake of sodium. The burritos also have 25% of your daily allowance of saturated fat.
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Tofu Scramble with Soy Chorizo
The Tofu Scramble with Soy Chorizo might seem like a healthy vegan dish, but with 980 milligrams of sodium equalling out to 43% of your daily intake, this is a dish to skip. If you really must have this, consider eating half then saving the other half for another time.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Mandarin Orange Chicken is a fan-favorite product from Trader Joe's but it should be eaten sparingly. One serving has 25% of your daily fat. If you do want to get this, consider beefing up the nutritional value by adding fresh veggies and serving it over brown rice. Here are 5 recipes that make this purchase healthier.
Cheese Filled Fiocchetti With Pink Sauce
Most frozen pastas should always be avoided because they often are loaded with fat and carbs, and this one from Trader Joe's is a prime example. With 10 grams of saturated fat, one serving equals out to half of your daily intake. For a better option, consider some of the fresh pastas that don't come with pre-made sauces.
Parmesan Pastry Pups
These are a favorite game day or after-school snack. While they aren't horrible for you per serving, they should be eaten with some self-control because one serving of pups has over 30% of your daily fat intake.
PB & J Snack Duo
These snack duos are an easy lunchtime item but beware of the amount of sugar, which equals 40% of your daily sugar allowance. While these aren't the worst offender, the item is one to eat just every once in a while.
Steamed Pork and Ginger Soup Dumplings
The amount of protein in these dumplings will help keep you full without blowing your diet if you're counting calories or carbs. One thing to beware of is the amount of sodium, so consider skipping the extra soy sauce for these and just enjoying them as they are.
Vegan Enchilada Casserole
The Vegan Enchilada Casserole is a nice item to throw into your cart for an easy lunch or dinner. Per serving, this isn't great, but it's also not horrible. Just skip the salt-laden chips and salsa that you'll want to grab to go with this to keep it on the lighter side.
Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers
Anything with "poppers" in the title is bound to taste good, and these Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers are decent in terms of nutritional value. The added protein from the chicken should keep you full for a while after munching on these.
Italian Style Meatballs
While fresh meatballs are always better, these frozen ones from Trader Joe's are pretty good. They have 11 grams of protein for every two meatballs, but also have quite a bit of fat at 20 grams, so be sure to eat just the serving size.
Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli
This fresh ravioli without sauce is much better in terms of nutrition than its sauced, frozen counterpart. Per serving, the ravioli has 15% of your daily fat intake and 7 grams of protein. Pair this with some shredded chicken or veggies to increase the nutritional value of a meal.
Cocoa Almond Spread
When you want something sweet consider the Cocoa Almond Spread. Just be careful to only eat the serving size, which is two tablespoons, to ensure you're not increasing your calorie or fat intake.
When the Greek Spanakopita pops up at a family get-together, it's usually gone in just a few minutes. This frozen dish has 15% of your daily fat intake and 13% of your daily sodium intake, so be sure to eat just one serving if you're going to be reaching for something else from the lunch spread too.
Related: The Easiest Greek Salad Pizza Recipe
Cinnamon Brooklyn Babka
Babka is a New York staple, and this Trader Joe's version is a good way to curb your sweet tooth without adding too much fat or sugar to your day. With just seven grams of sugar and seven percent of your daily sodium intake, this is a good choice for something sweet.
Matcha Green Tea Japanese Noodles
When people see the word "matcha," they usually think that the item is healthy. While these noodles are relatively healthy, consider eating these just every once in a while because one serving has 31% of your daily sodium allowance.
Frozen turkey burgers are a staple for many people. The Trader Joe's ones are pretty standard when it comes to nutrition, just be careful about what toppings you add to actually keep these healthy.
Mexican Style Roasted Corn
The Mexican Style Roasted Corn from the frozen aisles is a nice addition to Taco Tuesday. The corn has just five percent of your daily sodium intake and only 180 calories. Save even more calories by leaving the cheese packet off the final product.
Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit
Salad kits are a great way to have an easy lunch or dinner. The Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit is a good choice for a meal with just a few calories and a decent amount of protein. Amp up the protein by adding chicken or shrimp to the top of your salad too.
These pre-cooked lentils are a great way to add flavor and protein to a meal. Per serving, the lentils have only eight percent of your fat intake for the day, but watch the sodium, which is 22% of your daily intake.
Cauliflower everything has been taking over store shelves. If you're thinking about adding the Cauliflower Gnocchi to your cart, know that, per serving, the item has little fat and just eight percent of your daily carb intake.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Joe Joe's
Joe Joe's are the Trader Joe's version of a famous chocolate sandwich cookie. The chocolate and peanut butter version is dipped in a peanut butter coating for extra sweetness. The cookies are a good way to curb your sweet tooth with just 130 calories and nine grams of sugar per serving.
Chile Spiced Pineapple
Sweet and spicy is what you'll get with this Chile Spiced Pineapple. The dried pineapple does have quite a bit of sugar, but most of it is natural sugar from the pineapple itself. With zero fat, this is a snack we can get behind.
Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks
Dark chocolate and orange combine to make a sweet treat worth indulging in. The Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks have just four percent of your daily fat intake, but watch for the added sugar which can add up quickly if you don't stick to the serving size.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Another cauliflower alternative that people love at Trader Joe's is the Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Each crust has just 120 calories and ten grams of protein. The sodium level is 11% of your daily intake and the carb level is one percent of your daily intake.
Pimento Cheese Dip
Pimento Cheese Dip is a southern staple that Trader Joe's has brought to the masses. Be sure to stick to the serving size because while it's a good choice at two tablespoons, making this into a grilled cheese or two will definitely increase your fat and sodium intake for the day.
Shakshuka is a tomato-based sauce that's become a popular breakfast item over the past few years. If you don't want to stand over your stove to make the dish, consider buying the healthy option from Trader Joe's. The package has 80 calories per serving and just 11 carbs.
Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeno Dip
One of the best things you can add to your cart at Trader Joe's is this Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip. Per serving, the dip only has 40 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and only one carb. This is a must-get for creamy dip lovers.
For more, check out The 20 Best Trader Joe's Finds Under $5.