Best Healthy Snacks to Buy at Trader Joe's, According to a Dietitian
One of the best things about Trader Joe's is that they have so many snacks—but it's also one of the worst. There are so many options to choose from it can be a little overwhelming. So, as a dietitian and snack lover, I wanted to help you narrow down your options the next time you go on a TJ's run. Of course, there are whole foods that make amazing snacks (check out the produce aisle and get some fruits and vegetables) but sometimes you need a snacky snack (ya know what I mean?). Here are some of my 10 favorite snack foods to buy at Trader Joe's.
1. These Peanuts Go On a Date Bars
If you like Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars ($10.29 for 10 at Target.com) you'll like this TJ's version. Aptly named, These Peanuts Go On a Date Bars, they're made with date paste, peanuts, peanut butter, flaxseed meal and sea salt. They are a little bit chewier and smaller than Larabars, but you still get no added sugar, some healthy fats and protein from the peanuts in a convenient package.
2. Dried Fruit
Trader Joe's has an amazing dried fruit section and I usually stock up on options when I'm there. I get freeze-dried fruit for my young kiddos and an assortment of dried fruit for my snacks and salads. I love tart cherries because they contain melatonin, which may help you sleep (here's why tart cherry juice is so good for you). Since tart cherries are so—well, tart—there is some added sugar. Otherwise, I usually choose fruit with no sugar added like dried apricots or mangoes.
When I snack on fruit, I usually pair it with nuts. Nuts are a source of healthy fats, plant-based protein and fiber. They're filling, satisfying and delicious. Trader Joe's carries a wide variety of different nuts including almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts. They also tend to be very affordable at TJ's. (Here's why nuts are so good for you.)
4. Cottage Cheese
It may remind you of diet food or something your grandmother ate but cottage cheese is actually a high-protein food worth putting in your snack rotation. You can find cottage cheese at any grocery store, but Trader Joe's carries adorable containers of 4% small curd cottage cheese. Each cup has 140 calories, 18g of protein (the amount in 3 eggs!) and 10% of your daily calcium needs. Cottage cheese is high in sodium, so that's something to be mindful of if you're watching your intake. I like to pair cottage cheese with fruit for an easy and filling snack.
Trader Joe's carries so many great varieties of bagged popcorn. Popcorn makes a great snack because it's actually a whole grain, so you get fiber and protein with your bowl. Plus, it's airy so it's a high-volume snack which can satisfy your desire to munch. Too much butter, salt or sugar will drag down the nutritional quality of your snack. I love TJ's Olive Oil Popcorn and their Popcorn with Herbs & Spices, but they have lots of options to choose from. (Here's more on what makes popcorn a healthy snack choice.)
6. Organic Dehydrated Carrots of Many Colors
Some veggie chips are just potato chips with a little spinach added for color (see my take on if veggie chips are healthy). But these carrot chips—or as Trader Joe's calls them, Organic Dehydrated Carrots of Many Colors, are actually made from real vegetables. It's just carrots that have been dehydrated to get extra crunchy with a sprinkle of salt. These are great for road trips if you need an on-the-go source of vegetables (although baby carrots are portable too!). I love these dipped in hummus for a snack or as part of a picnic lunch.
7. Bazaar Basket Snack Mix
If you like a little variety to your snack, you'll love this Bazaar Basket Snack Mix. You get almonds, apricots, chickpeas, sour cherries and pistachios. It's like a healthy trail mix, all ready to go. Try a handful on its own or sprinkle some over oatmeal or Greek yogurt. 1/4 cup serving has 140 calories, just 95mg of sodium, 4g of fiber and 5g of protein.
8. ABC Bars
These bars are named for their ingredients. ABC stands for Almond Butter Cocoa Bars. These taste a little bit like a healthy nut-butter stuffed brownie. They're chocolately, chewy, nutty and not too sweet. They're also vegan and gluten-free. With just 4g of added sugar per serving, 4g of protein and 2g of fiber, these bars are a nice healthy option when you want something sweet or on-the-go. They definitely taste healthy-ish, but they're kid-approved in my house.
9. Chia Seeds
What—you don't snack on chia seeds? Just kidding! I don't eat them straight from the bag, but I do use them to make chia pudding. It's such an easy snack to whip up and chia seeds pack a mighty nutrition punch in a small package. Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and a good source of plant-based omega-3 fats. For chia pudding I usually mix a couple of tablespoons with your milk of choice (I like oatmilk) and fruit or a little sweetener. Follow our easy formula to make chia pudding for a filling snack that's hearty and delicious.
10. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
OK, so these might not qualify as a "healthy snack" but they're a Trader Joe's staple for me, so I had to include them. One cup has about 70 calories and 6g of added sugar and usually one is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth after a meal. Also, real talk, your snacks don't have to be healthy all of the time. You are allowed to enjoy treats and sweets as part of a healthy diet. I would never give up chocolate, or peanut butter for that matter, since these two make a winning combination. If you're a fan, try our peanut butter and chocolate dessert recipes that prove it's one of the best flavor combos!