My Trader Joe’s Shopping List

One reader asked for a list of my favorite dye-free items at Trader Joe’s.  Now that I’ve survived Pollenpocalypse 2012 and am operating at nearly 100% again, I am happy to finally get back on the blog wagon and share what I know.  I took a long time yesterday at Trader Joe’s, compiling a list of items and prices, and possibly winning a spot on their weirdo loiterer list.

I know that I previously declared my loyalty to Whole Foods with only a little bit of Trader Joe side action around the holidays, but yesterday I found new appreciation for TJ’s.  I’ve always enjoyed their cute shopping bags, the talkative toilet paper packaging, the quippy signs, their crazy low prices, and the chance to see a cute dachshund hanging out in the pet parking area as I leave.  I can overlook the way they change Joe’s name to “Giotto” or “Jose” for products of various origin.  But in the middle of a cooking seven year itch, I was surprised and pleased to try their frozen convenience foods – ahhhh, so delicious!   Competition in the marketplace is a good thing after all, right?  All is forgiven, Joey.

I realize that TJ’s can often be intimidating with its crowds, and employees ringing bells and yelling out some kind of bell code. Embrace the melee and soldier on, armed with a shopping list and hopefully a taste for classic 80s pop music.  Soon you’ll stop flinching at every bell and arrive home with a load of good food and no post traumatic stress syndrome – I promise.  I also recommend that you check out general product reviews at a blog called “What’s Good At Trader Joe’s?”…it’s not dye-related but might help with your purchasing decisions.

Here are my favorite items, with a price where possible.  This list doesn’t include everything I buy there, just my personal basics.  Some of these are obviously dye-free and will probably make you say “duh!” out loud, but I wanted to be thorough for any first-timers out there.  Feel free to post your favorites in a comment!

Baked Goods:
Viennese Lemon Tart 6.49 (more for mom than anyone else…super tart and lemony!)
Garden Party cookies 3.99 10 oz
Naan bread 3.69 (so much tastier than Whole Foods’s naan)
Organic breads (most under $4)
Cinnamon raisin swirl bread
Cinnamon roll bread (much healthier than TJ’s cinnamon buns, which contain annatto and far more sugar)
Corn and flour tortillas
Chocolate cakes and whoopee pies (check the label for caramel coloring but otherwise they’re okay)

Snacks:
Organic blue corn tortilla chips 2.99 16 oz
Snapea crisps
Organic mini peanut butter sandwich crackers 2.69
Apple banana fruit sauce crushers 2.99/4-pouch
Organic wild berry applesauce 1.99/4-pk
Organic fruit leathers .49 ea
Fruity Flakes 3.49/6-pouch
Honey graham crackers 2.99/14.4 oz

Dairy Case:
Organic Squishers yogurt tubes 8pk 2.99 (nice healthy dessert, but watch the sugar)
Laughing Cow mini Babybel light cheese rounds 2.99/6-pk
Organic string cheese 4.99/9-count (prefer the taste of these to Whole Foods)
Almond milk original unsweetened 2.99/half gallon
Yogurt 6-pk (4 oz ea) 2.99 (probably better for adults since the sugar is 17 grams per cup)
Organic plain whole milk yogurt 2.99 (great for smoothies, less sugar than low fat versions)
Organic pulp-free OJ 3.99/half gallon
Ruby red grapefruit juice

Meat Case:
All natural chicken breasts and thighs (prefer these to Whole Foods)
Smoked sliced turkey breast 2.99/7 oz

Fruit and Veg:
Bananas: .19 ea, and organic bananas .29 ea
Organic Bartlett pears 2.49/2 lb bag (SO sweet!)
Organic baby carrots 1.69/lb
Organic celery 2.29/12 oz
Organic arugula 2.49/7oz (makes an easy rocket salad with nut medley below)

Everything Else:
Mission St. IPA beer
Organic extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed 5.99/16.9 oz
Organic shells & white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese 1.49/6 oz (way easier to mix cheese powder than Whole Foods’s mac ‘n’ cheese)
Cornbread stuffing mix 3.99/12.4 oz
Himalayan pink salt crystals 1.99/4.8 oz
Panko style breadcrumbs 1.69/7 oz
Organic breadcrumbs 2.99/10 oz
Gyoza Asian style dipping sauce 2.29/10 oz (awesome with chicken and pork dumplings in freezer section)
Organic ketchup & mustard 1.99 ea.
Organic creamy unsalted peanut butter 3.99 (low sugar and easy to spread straight from fridge)
Organic black beans 1.19/15 oz
Organic baked beans 1.49/15 oz
Organic chicken broth 1.99/32 oz
Rosemary pecans & cranberries 3.49/5 oz (Good on arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette)
Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds 1.99/16 oz
Dry roasted unsalted almonds 4.69/lb

Freezer Case:
Mandarin orange chicken 4.99/22 oz
BBQ chicken teriyaki 4.99/21 oz
Hashbrown patties 1.99/10-pk
Toaster waffles, various flavors 1.99/8-pk
Mini morning buns 4.99/12 buns (no annatto in these like their tube of cinnamon rolls)
Organic frozen blueberries 3.99/12 oz
Penne Arrabbiata entree 2.99/16 oz bag
Turkey meatballs 2.99/16 oz
Chicken taquitos 3.99/18 oz
Chicken or pork dumplings
Strawberry & chocolate mochi (ice cream balls…Mango and Green Tea flavors contain colors) 3.49/12 oz box
Golden caramel swirl ice cream 4.49/quart

Sweets:
Walkers shortbread cookies 3.49/5.3 oz
Chocolate cat cookies 2.49/16 oz
Ultimate vanilla wafers 3.99/13 oz (OMG soooo good)
Gummy Tummies Penguins 1.99/7 oz
Joe-Joe’s sandwich cookies 2.99/29 oz (like Oreos, with either vanilla or chocolate filling…peppermint filling around holidays!)
Semi-sweet chocolate chips 2.29/12 oz
White baking chips 2.29/10 oz
Banana bread mix 2.69/15 oz
Cinnamon coffee cake mix 2.99/22 oz
Brownie truffle baking mix 2.99/16 oz
Chocolate or yellow cake mix 2.99
White or chocolate frosting mix 2.69
Jellybeans 3.99/15 oz (Contains caramel coloring…also available in a small box for Easter)

Right now TJ’s has malted milk ball eggs, salt water taffy, solid chocolate bunnies, and chocolate peanut butter eggs for Easter, and they’re way cheaper than Whole Foods.

Have fun shopping and try not to dance in the aisle…too much.  If you’re in a hurry, don’t mention Prince to your cashier.  I wasn’t in a rush, and enjoyed my cashier’s sing-along to “Raspberry Beret” followed by an insightful analysis of Prince’s career moves and latest releases.

Comments
7 Responses to “My Trader Joe’s Shopping List”
  1. Penny T. says:

    - Greek yogurt (for smoothies)
    - Organic apples
    - Organic potatoes
    - Wasabi roasted seaweed snacks

  2. Kelly says:

    I finally have a trader joe’s opening about 45 minutes from me in August and I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

    It’s so hard (& expensive) to find natural foods at my local grocery store.

    • Indie Mama says:

      Yay! Just in time for the next school year to start, too. I love how affordable TJ’s is compared to Whole Foods and other places. :)

  3. I was super excited to find they had cake mixes! And frosting mixes! I hear they’re crazy delicious as well! I’m not a very good baker, even with a mix, so my ‘scratch’ baking might as well go straight to the trashcan. So I was worried about how to have cupcakes stashed in advance for parties. Just need a larger freezer now!
    We’re just going dye-free now, and her teachers are on board with helping out. They’ve noticed a difference already, and it’s only been 2 weeks!

  4. Maggie says:

    I love Trader Joe’s! Way better than Whole Foods who are obnoxiously expensive. Another great thing about TJs is that all of the TJs brand items are GMO free.

  5. Lisa says:

    I do the same thing… why do you call yourself a “weirdo loiterer”? Freedom, anyone?

  6. Shannon says:

    so am I correct in assuming that Trader Joe’s is completely dye free? I am new to this and looking for any info that will help…

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