Snack Girl has been reticent to write about Trader Joe’s because many of you can’t get to one easily.
For example, I have heard that people drive down from VERMONT to shop at my Trader Joe's. Vermont, hang in there, because TJ's is coming to South Burlington soon.
I don’t like featuring a product or store that isn’t everywhere, but I am going to make an exception. Why? There may be people who live near one of these and have never been in one.
First, what is Trader Joe’s? It is a smaller grocery store with food that is mostly private labeled (Trader Joe’s brand). The food tends to be healthier, tastier, and less costly than a regular supermarket. Do not get me started on Whole Foods because TJ’s is about half the cost of that bank account sucking store.
When I first starting visiting Trader Joe’s, it was because of advice from my doctor. My diet of leftover Chinese food was leading to a spike in cholesterol and he wanted me to eat healthy so I checked it out.
TJ’s seemed more like a cool place to hang out than a store. People were handing out samples, and neighbors were blocking the aisles talking about the latest in goat cheese. I was hooked.
Here are the top five reasons I keep going back:
- The quality of the food is high (tasty and usually healthy) and the prices are low compared to most items in my supermarket.
- TJ’s stocks frozen fish and other frozen meats that are easy for me to store and use when needed.
- There are fewer choices on the shelf so it saves me time. For example, I don’t have to look at 40 brands of peanut butter to choose the best one.
- Coca-Cola, Doritos, Pepsi, Snickers, Oreos, Lucky Charms (among others) are not sold there. I don’t have to avoid the end of the aisles that may result in an impulse purchase.
- I don’t need a value card or other such nonsense to get a deal.
There are downsides. For example, TJ’s doesn’t stock everything so I end up going to two stores and there are foods that are very high calorie (1600 calorie salad anyone?). I doubt there will ever be a store where you don’t have to review the nutrition facts label.
Below I have listed a Trader Joe's cookbook which is a brilliant source if you shop there a lot. There are plenty of great recipes that feature what TJ's stocks.
What do you think of Trader Joe’s? What are your favorite items?
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The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook: 150 Delicious Recipes Using Only Foods from the World's Greatest Grocery Store
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