After discontinuing many beloved items in 2021, Trader Joe’s started the new year by adding new grocery items to shelves. Although they sound fun and delicious, you won’t find some of these breakfast foods, vegetarian options, and snacks on nutritionist’s shopping lists.
We asked a registered dietitian on Eat this, not that! Council of Medical Experts for a look at the recent additions to the Trader Joe’s lineup. Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, And Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, author Finally full, finally skinny And a nutritionist in private practice, he identified four items that are not exactly home management in terms of nutrition.
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1/2 cup dry mix150 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated, 0g trans), 380mg sodium, 30g carbs, 1g fiber, 9g sugar, 5g protein
Homemade pancakes or waffles in the morning are sure to be more convenient when you have a prepared mixture that only requires a hot pan and some water. However, Trader Joe’s new mix may be considered more than just breakfast.
“This uses enriched flour, which is devoid of fiber and causes fluctuations in blood sugar, which can lead to eating larger portions or feeling hungry quickly later,” Shapiro says, noting that additional ingredients like white flour, sugar, and soy do not add. Lecithin emulsifier has many health benefits for this brunch. “This is more than just breakfast, and it will probably make you feel lethargic rather than energized.”
5 pieces: 240 calories, 12 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans), 480 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 2 g fiber, less than 1 g sugar, 13 g protein
This chicken alternative just arrived at TJ’s, but neither Shapiro nor Young recommend it, thanks to the ingredients used to make it taste like the real thing.
Industrial oils, processed soy, and sugars (in the form of dextrose) don’t have many health benefits, Shapiro says. Young agrees, adding that while this item is packed with protein, it’s also packed with fat and sodium.
1 1/2 cups150 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans), 230 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein
Cacio e Pepe is a popular flavor right now, and this snack version is just one of many Trader Joe’s (frozen pasta, ravioli, and sauce) on this trendy grocery item. However, nutritionists say you can skip this ingredient — but not because it’s necessarily very unhealthy.
“This snack contains carbs without any protein or fiber to keep you full and won’t balance your blood sugar levels,” Shapiro says. “This often leads to overeating and consuming more than the recommended portion, which ultimately makes snacking unhealthy.”
Young agrees with Shapiro and recommends popcorn instead. For a little inspiration, check out The Best & Worst Popcorn in America – ranked!
1 cubic inch (1 ounce)80 calories, 8 g fat (7 g saturated, 0 g trans), 210 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein
Grocery items labeled “vegan” or “dairy-free” are often associated with healthier eating, but this is not always true. Trader Joe’s Vegan Feta Alternative is another item to skip, with a nutrition red flag that it contains no protein, according to Young.
“While this is vegetarian, it offers very little in terms of nutritional value,” she says. “Unlike feta cheese, this version has no protein. It’s also high in saturated fat. Mostly coconut oil and potato starch. I’d skip it.”