No offense to cookie butter, peanut butter cups and pancake bread (seriously—we’re obsessed), but we know they’re not the healthiest things we can pick up at Trader Joe’s. So we asked registered dietitian Carlene Thomas what she tosses into her cart at TJ’s. Here’s what she always stocks up on.
1. Organic Jalapeño Limeade
For hydration purposes, Thomas cuts this sweet and spicy drink with sparkling or flat water. For happy hour, she uses it as a lazy margarita mixer. We’re very into both.
2. Omega Trek Mix
It’s snack time, baby. “To-go snacks are so important in our house,” Thomas stresses. “This pre-portioned blend has several nuts and seeds as well as dried cranberries that are omega-fortified with the oil extracted from their own tiny seeds. They’re a total nutrition powerhouse.”
3. Frozen Wild Blueberries
“Wild blueberries are an excellent source of manganese (eight times more than regular blueberries),” Thomas tells us. She keeps them in her freezer for smoothies, but we also love the idea of sprinkling a few on top of our go-to oatmeal recipes.
4. Yuzu Hot Sauce
Thomas tells us this spicy sauce is, “just the right blend of hot and bright.” She uses it in a vinaigrette, then drizzles it over a cold Napa cabbage salad with Asian flavors.
5. Green Dragon Sauce
Yep, Thomas is all about the sauces. “This tastes like if herbs and spicy peppers high-fived,” she says. (Um, yum.) Thomas tells us this one’s great with falafel veggie bowls, eggs or even rotisserie chicken. Versatile much?
6. Indian Food
But which Indian food, you ask? All of it. According to Thomas, “TJ’s bagged pantry Indian lentils and veggies in sauce are the best meal starter. They don’t skimp on flavor and spice.” She beefs them up with roasted or steamed veggies and protein like chicken or tofu for a quick, tasty and healthy meal.
7. Carrot Miso Dressing
“Extra veggies for your veggies,” Thomas explains. The miso in this dressing gives it a light umami flavor that Thomas tells us makes a great alternative to some mayonnaise-based coleslaws or chopped broccoli salads. “The greatest make-ahead fridge lunch.” Sold.
8. Jalapeño Artichoke Dip
Even if you aren’t entertaining, this snack deserves a spot in your fridge. It’s the ideal combination of creamy, savory and spicy, Thomas says. Before you reach for the chips, though, this dip is just as tasty—if not tastier—with cucumber, carrots and other veggies.