I grew up in a small town in South Dakota, where the nearest Trader Joe’s is a 6+ hr drive to Denver, Colorado. My mother lived on the East Coast for a while and fell in love with the company, so whenever we were traveling and found ourselves anywhere near a Trader Joe’s (and by near I mean even an hour or two out of our way) she would drag us over for a shopping trip.

Now that I live in Burlington, there’s a Trader Joe’s about 10 minutes away via car. For those who have never gone to a Trader Joe’s or live very far away like I used to, there were a few items I would highly recommend. Even if you're a Trader Joe's regular, some of these products might surprise you. And if you want to learn more about the history of this popular company, check out this post.

To start off with some non-perishables that are great for car rides, hikes, and snacks in general:

1. Soft & Juicy Mango Slices

These are succulent slices of mango bursting with flavor (yes I’m salivating just thinking about them). On TJ's trips when I was younger, my mother would buy literally 10 bags of these because they are that good (And often we’d have eaten most of them by the time we made it home).

2. Cashew Macadamia Delight Trail Mix

Laura Broderick

This trail mix is by far my favorite; it's made with cashews, dried pineapple, cranberries, almonds, and macadamia nuts. Honestly, most of Trader Joe’s nuts and trail mixes are really good and reasonably easy to buy, so if you want to view a ranking of TJ’s trail mix flavors check out this post. 

3. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

Oh my goodness these things are addicting! Savory, salty, easily munch-able and oh so delicious. Another great trail/car ride snack, but you may have to hide the bag if you want to save some for later.

And now onto some perishable snacks:

4. Spicy Hummus Dip

Eat with carrots, crackers, top on sandwiches or wraps...whatever you desire! This hummus has just the right amount of spice and is nice and creamy.

5. Corn & Chile Salsa

Don’t like tomatoes but still want salsa? Trader Joe’s has got you covered with this Corn and Chile blend along with peppers and some other fun spices.

6. Unexpected Cheddar Cheese

Perfect for a snack or addition to any cheese board, TJ’s unexpected cheddar cheese is a nice, salty hard aged white cheddar that (before I realized I was lactose-intolerant) I would get whenever going to the store.

For some fun sauces and drinks:

7. Thai Green Curry Sauce

A great quick and easy sauce to sautée with veggies and protein to serve over rice or noodles for an instantly delicious dinner! 

8. Spiced Chai Black Tea Concentrate

This has been my go-to morning drink (other than coffee). Simply mix 1/3-1/2 of the concentrate with (DF) milk of your choice, stir and enjoy! Heat up if you want a warm latte or serve over ice for chilled. 

And who could forget about dessert?

9. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Okay, okay, so while I am a die-hard peanut butter fan I must admit that the almond butter cups are actually better than their peanut butter alternatives! But honestly, who can argue with any form of chocolate + nut butter?

10. Belgian Dark Pound Plus Chocolate Bar

A delicious 1 lb bar of chocolate for under $6? Umm...yes please!? I recently discovered these and am a HUGE fan, especially since the dark chocolate bars are vegan! Would highly recommend to any chocolate lovers out there.

So now that I’ve revealed my favorite TJ’s finds, and possibly sounded like one of their advertisements, do you agree with my choices? There’s a ton of other products I didn’t even mentioned only found in Trader Joe’s stores, so if you want to hear about those and other peoples TJ’s favorites, look around Spoon University’s website for some more inspiration!