If you live near a Trader Joe's, then you probably already have firsthand knowledge of the grocery store's wholesome, reasonably-priced products. Combined with a variety of private-label items, a generous return policy, and their famously friendly customer service, it’s no wonder that TJ's rates extremely highly in terms of customer satisfaction. Here are some of our favorite healthy buys you can find at Trader Joe's (bonus: they're all surprisingly great deals, too!).
Pole-Caught Skipjack Tuna
Between fear of consuming too much mercury and sustainability concerns, shopping for canned tuna has become a health minefield. Thankfully, Trader Joe’s makes it simple with their pole-caught skipjack tuna. This type of tuna, which was rated a "Best Choice" by Seafood Watch, checks both boxes. The term "pole-caught" means that it was caught by hook and line—meaning other fish weren't accidentally caught (and wasted) in a fishing net. And according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the skipjack variety contains moderate levels of mercury, far less than canned albacore (solid white), ahi, or bigeye. Plus, it's a great deal at just $1.49 per can. Make a satisfying, balanced salad by tossing it with veggies and a light dressing.
Organic and Fair Trade Coffee
The term "fair trade" means that the coffee has been grown and manufactured using ethical trade standards, guaranteeing farmers a minimum price and promoting long-term sustainability. And to be certified organic by the USDA, coffee has been grown with organic fertilizer. You can easily spend a bundle buying a blend that is both organic and fair trade at most grocery stores, but not at TJ’s. They offer several delicious varieties, which you can purchase as whole beans or grind in-store using their convenient grinders. My favorite is the medium-roast organic Sumatra coffee. At $8 for 13 oz., it’s by far the best deal in town. (I make mine pour-over, how about you?)
I love a good farmer’s market as much as anyone, but I can’t always get there on a Saturday morning. Plus, I invariably run out of something (lettuce, carrots, apples) midweek. In that case, I run to TJ’s for fresh, high-quality produce at reasonable prices. Along with the standard items, there’s always something fun, different, or especially convenient in the produce aisle: Interesting lettuce mixes, multicolored carrots, black fermented garlic. Plus, I buy a lot of avocados—a LOT—and the ones at Trader Joe’s are consistently excellent. Another cool product: Mirepoix (above). This ultra-convenient diced onion-celery-carrot mix makes soup-making a breeze.
Nuts and Seeds
If you’ve ever stood in a checkout line at Trader Joe’s, you've no doubt been tempted by the strategically-placed bags of spiced nuts. Whether Wasabi Almonds are your jam or you prefer Sweet and Spicy Pecans, there’s no shortage of temptations. (And then there are the trail mixes. Oh, the trail mixes.) But for my money, the plain nuts and seeds are the best deal. Dry roasted, raw, salted, unsalted—however you want ‘em, they’re there. I buy raw cashews to make milk and vegan cream sauce (below), various nuts to snack on and make energy bites, chia seeds for baking and jam, hemp seeds for smoothies and granola, and roasted and salted sunflower seeds for salads.