Trader Joe’s is the epitome of the “local chain gone national” success story. Initially starting off as a set of small grocery stores in California called “Pronto Market” in the 1960s, TJ’s has since become the go-to place for the foodie on a budget. While Trader Joe’s may be known for their quirky, localized decor, monthly “Fearless Flyers” and stellar customer service, it’s safe to say that their high-quality, yet affordable products are what keeps customers coming back for more. Here’s a list of 9 fan favorites that’ll be sure to turn anyone into a Trader Joe’s disciple:
1. Nonfat Greek Yogurt
I’ll admit, the flavored yogurt may be a bit too sweet if you’re watching your sugar intake. While fun flavors such as coconut cream and mango papaya are sure to be a hit with little ones, adults might be satisfied with just plain, unflavored Greek yogurt, granola and a drizzle of honey. However, any way you enjoy it, the $1 price tag is hard to beat.
2. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is definitely one of those products that’s been hyped up so much that people began to doubt its effectiveness. PSA: this stuff is the real deal, people! Not just for hippies and YouTube beauty gurus, coconut oil can be used for pretty much everything: as a lip balm, as a baking/cooking substitute, as a teeth whitener and as a way to fix a squeaky door…Every. Thing. And better yet, you can get your hands on a 16 oz. jar at Trader Joe’s for $6.
3. Speculoos Cookie Butter
Trader Joe’s cookie butter is iconic. The ingredients are deceptively simple —just Speculoos cookies (a type of Belgian, gingerbread-y cookie) and a blend of vegetable oils — but the flavor and consistency is totally decadent. This sweet, slightly crunchy butter can be spread on apple slices for when you want to trick yourself into thinking you’re eating healthy, or eaten straight out of the jar when you just don’t feel like trying at all.
4. Tangerine Juice
Sick of regular old orange juice? Look no further. Priced at $2.99 for a 32 oz. jug, this tangerine juice kinda tastes like Sunny D — just without all the high fructose corn syrup.
5. Spicy Hummus
Another bargain hunter’s treasure, this $3 hummus packs in quite a punch. It’s flavorful, thick and savory, but does the job without being too spicy. Pair it with some exotic potato chips, pretzels or carrot sticks for a midday snack.
6. Organic Vegetarian Chili
Canned and frozen foods are every lazy college students’ best friends. However, fast and easy doesn’t always equate to healthy and nutritious. That’s why Trader Joe’s organic vegetarian chili is so good — it’s a delicious, filling meal, it’s pretty hard to mess up (just pour it in a bowl and microwave) and at $2.29, you’ll have some extra moolah to spend on…
7. Charles Shaw Wine
The words “$2 wine” don’t exactly bring up images of sophistication and elegance. But that’s not part of the Charles Shaw brand message — when it gets down to it, Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” is just a cheap, down-home kind of wine. The merlot is perfect for cooking quiche filling or chicken cacciatore.
8. Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala
Again, this is another favorite amongst busy, distracted students. This chicken tikka masala ranks pretty high in terms of frozen foods — it’s flavorful, hassle-free and filling. While you won’t exactly be submerging yourself in Indian culture, $3.49 isn’t bad for a little trip to Flavortown.
Trader Joe’s makes it pretty easy to spend $20 at this place and walk out with a week’s worth of groceries for one person. The same can’t be said for a lot of other grocery stores with the same emphasis on health and sustainability. With that being said, these organic 19 cent bananas are definitely a steal.