Trader Joe’s has easily become one of the most popular grocery stores and continues to expand across the country. It sells delicious food at an affordable price and seems to always be coming up with new creative items, and it’s home to some cult favorites like Cookie Butter, their Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, and the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.
Although Trader Joe’s sells delicious and sometimes super healthy food, there are some popular items that contain some not-so-ideal ingredients. These are the products you may want to consume in moderation if you can!
Read on to learn about some of the TJ products with the lowest-quality ingredients, and for more grocery tips check out 12 Popular Fall Items That Have Already Landed at Costco.
“I don’t recommend sugary cereals like the TJ Frosted Flakes, which are coated in added sugar,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our medical expert advisory board. Not only does this cereal have 9 grams of sugar in just a 3/4 cup serving, but there is no fiber and very little protein, meaning it will likely leave you still feeling hungry.
For those who are vegetarian, vegan, or just want to eat less meat, you may want to be weary of some of the plant-based products at Trader Joe’s. Just because they’re meat-free doesn’t mean they’re necessarily healthy.
“The Impossible chicken nuggets are fried, made with soy, and contain added sugar and salt,” says Young. “So even though they are vegan, I’d skip them.”
The Trader Joe’s Lava Cake is another staple for TJ fans, but you may want to stick to enjoying this one as just a treat every now and then.
Each serving has 13 grams of saturated fat and 26 grams of sugar, which is over the CDC’s recommended limit for an entire day. It’s also important to be aware of ingredients like palm oil, which has been found by some studies to contribute to things like heart disease if consumed in consistently larger amounts.
While you may think that just because something is dairy-free that it’s also super healthy, this isn’t always true. It’s important to be aware of the ingredients that go into plant-based cheeses.
“I’m also not a fan of the vegan cheeses, with the Trader Joe’s Feta Cheese Alternative in particular,” says Young. “With coconut oil and potato starch, I’d skip it.” Along with having a higher saturated fat content, this “cheese” also has over 200 milligrams of sodium per serving.
The Cocoa Almond Spread is a crowd favorite, but its blend of palm oil, canola oil, soy lecithin, and 17 grams of added sugar in just two tablespoons makes it a spread you may want to enjoy in moderation.
“Its stats are nothing like almond butter, and this spread is full of added sugar without many health benefits, so I suggest using it as a treat and sticking to a small portion,” says Young.