10 feel-good snacks to pick up at Trader Joe's

No matter if you're gluten-free or going plant-based, Trader Joe's has you covered

By Joey Skladany

Published February 28, 2022 3:30PM (EST)

Food stylist: Lauren Lapenna. Prop stylist: Alya Hameedi. (Mark Weinberg / Food52)
Food stylist: Lauren Lapenna. Prop stylist: Alya Hameedi. (Mark Weinberg / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

New year, same me…at least when it comes to my obsession with Trader Joe's. The experience of shopping for food at the beloved grocery store chain is so much more than a necessity — it's a never-ending scavenger hunt to find products I've never tried before.

But sometimes it's easy to get a little too carried away with the excitement, resulting in moments of scarfing down entire bags of Patio Potato Chips and Smashing S'mores in one sitting. And then good ol' indigestion inevitably comes knocking at my door.

I'm not here to tell people how or what to eat, but I do know that January marks the start of many people resolving to make more mindful eating choices. While Patio Potato Chips and Smashing S'mores aren't going anywhere any time soon (at least for me), it's important to note that TJ's also boasts a bevy of wonderful snack options that come with the added benefit of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

Here are 10 of my all-time favorites, both new and old, to add to your list if you're seeking a few more healthful, feel-good alternatives to snack on with abandon.

1. Trader Joe's Contemplates Inner Peas

Pass the peas, please. But first, bake them and roll them in salt to create one of Trader Joe's latest high-fiber home runs. These are not only delicious right out of the bag, but can also be dipped into a tzatziki or French onion dip for a mid-afternoon snack that will hold you over until dinnertime.

2. Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative

Greek yogurt is a fantastic base for easy-to-make parfaits and fruit smoothies, but not everyone can stomach dairy products. This just-released, cashew-based alternative takes the richness and tang you love from the beloved Mediterranean export, but replaces its milk with nuts and a decadent coconut cream. So moo-ve over, lactose — there's a new plant-based breakfast staple in town.

3. Thai Lime & Chile Cashews (or Almonds)

Plain nuts can get boring. Spicy Thai lime nuts with baked makrut leaves and a Tom Yum powder offer a zesty, citrusy departure from the norm, making them your new must-try handful for an irresistible snack on the go. There really is no complex nut seasoning like this on shelves, so consider the munching experience special and authentically Thai (in fact, TJ's sources the bag directly from the country).

4. Organic Chia Bar

Ch-ch-ch-chia. No, not the famous infomercial plant in your windowsill that has given Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors a run for its money. I'm talking about its Omega 3-heavy seeds you can eat. Trader Joe's takes full advantage of the trendy ingredient by putting it in a granola and brown rice bar with the addition of almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries — a nutrition-packed upgrade to any chocolate-laden candy bar.

5. Crunchy Curls

These crunchy curls make a wonderful protein-packed alternative to standard potato chips. The mighty lentil, its primary ingredient, is also chock-full of fiber to prevent your tummy from grumbling around the 2:00 p.m. mark, if you pair them with a lunch salad or sandwich.

6. Seasoned Kale Chips

I know, I know. Kale chips are so 2012. But have you had a kale chip pressed with cashew butter and tahini? Chances are likely that you have not, which means you owe it to yourself to give these nutty, baked greens a try. Just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards — the leaves stick to your enamel and can make for an embarrassing social situation (not that I know from personal experience or anything).

7. Popcorn with Herbs & Spices

Fun-to-eat popcorn has always found a permanent spot on most nutritionists' lists of good-for-you snacks. Delve into these herb and spice-coated kernels that deliver on bold flavor and you'll see why.

8. Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets

If you were the kid who bleh-ed at broccoli, these florets will blow your mind. They're oven-baked to cut down on broccoli's natural bitterness, while also accentuating an earthy taste that doesn't skimp on crunch. Not only will you nosh on these throughout the day, but you'll also be adding them to soups, stews, and even salads as a crouton replacement.

9. Gluten-Free Norwegian Crispbread

Sunflower and sesame seeds make this whole grain crispbread low on carbs, but high in healthy fats. Dip these in hummus, nut butters, or a ranch made from the aforementioned cashew yogurt. Or simply enjoy a few on their own for a texture-diverse snack sans the hard-to-pronounce ingredients you find in many crackers and loaves of bread.

10. Gone Bananas and Gone Berry Crazy

This heart-healthy, dark chocolate-covered frozen fruit treat had its big PR moment a few years ago with many food media outlets praising its simplicity and taste, but it's still going strong in the frozen food aisle and worthy of a mention. Pro tip: Let them sit out for a few minutes before serving — the fruit will slightly melt to create a frozen yogurt-type consistency that'll even give Pinkberry a run


Joey Skladany

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