If you’ve ever stepped inside a Trader Joe’s store, you know that each one is a haven of prepared foods and staple ingredients. But, not all of these convenient grocery options are healthy, or kid-friendly. If you sometimes find yourself getting lost in the jam-packed aisles without any clue what to buy for you and your kids, the list below might be of help.
We asked registered dietitians (who are also moms) to share the nutritious Trader Joe’s products that they actually buy for their kids. Below are some sweet and savory snack options, plus a few frozen food staples that make weeknight cooking a total breeze. The next time you stop into TJ’s, be sure to add these to your basket!
These Peanuts Go on a Date Bars
Kacie Barnes, a registered dietitian and blogger at Mama Knows Nutrition, loves these five-ingredient snack bars. They’re simple, delicious, and satisfying. They’re great to throw in a lunchbox, and won’t melt in the heat or fall apart at the bottom of a backpack
Fully Cooked Organic Quinoa
“I always keep this on hand because it’s quick and easy to make, it satisfies my kid’s carb craving, and is packed with protein” Barnes says. This quinoa comes from TJ’s freezer section. It heats in minutes, and is easy to serve alongside meatballs or chicken strips, or to bake into a casserole.
Fully Cooked Organic Brown Rice
If your kids haven’t yet come around to quinoa, this fully cooked brown rice is another freezer option. “It’s excellent source of fiber for keeping those little tummies full, plus easy and quick to cook,” says Katie Serbinski, a registered dietitian and blogger at Mom to Mom Nutrition.
Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs
If you’re looking for an easy protein option to serve alongside some whole grains, these turkey meatballs are a dietitian-approved choice. They have just two grams of saturated fat, and less than one gram of added sugar per serving. Defrost them in your kids’ favorite tomato sauce, and you’re good to go!
Strawberries are a kid favorite, but the fresh kind can get messy. These freeze-dried strawberries are a healthy on-the-go option, and perfect to carry around for when your kids need a snack. “This is my #1 easy snack recommendation from Trader Joe’s,” Barnes says.
3-Seed Beet Crackers
“Seeds are nutrient powerhouses,” Barnes says. “And, what kid doesn’t love a cracker?” Not to worry if your kids don’t eat beets—these have sweetness and color from beets, but not the earthy flavor that picky eaters tend not to like. Barnes also recommends dipping them in hummus.
Mediterranean Hummus Snack Packs
Barnes recommends Trader Joe’s hummus as a dipper for everything from beet crackers to veggies. If you’re looking for a packable snack, these hummus snack packs come with crispy pita chips that kids will eat right up (pun intended).
Roasted Seaweed Snacks
“You’d be shocked at how many kids I’ve seen devour these little sheets of seaweed,” Barnes says.
They’re low in calories ,so you’ll need to serve them alongside something else more filling, but I LOVE the idea of kids snacking on something green, that will make them more comfortable with the idea of trying something like sushi down the road!”
World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs
These cheesy corn puffs are 100 percent whole grain. Plus, they’re “the perfect snack for early eaters, as there are no kernels,” Serbinski says (she has a nine-month-old and a five-year-old). Like all cheesy, crunchy snacks, these are totally appropriate for adults, too.