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I’m a dietitian on the Mediterranean diet who loves Trader Joe’s. Here are 10 of the best things I bought this year.

hand holding a salad kit and hand holding a vegan pesto at trader joesThere are some seasonal and year-round Trader Joe’s products I loved in 2023.

Lauren Manaker

  • I’m a dietitian who follows the Mediterranean diet, and I shop for staples at Trader Joe’s. 
  • The ready-to-go salad kits and frozen grains are a lifesaver on busy nights.
  • I’m a huge fan of kiwis in the spring and cold-pressed watermelon juice in the summer. 

As a dietitian, Trader Joe’s is my go-to for an amazing variety of convenient foods and unique snacks — especially while following a Mediterranean-style diet.

I try to eat lots of produce, plant-based protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Thankfully, the store delivers by providing fun and interesting offerings that check many of my boxes.

As an avid Trader Joe’s shopper, I’m reflecting on 2023 to share 10 of the best things I bought at my beloved grocery store this year.

Chili-onion-crunch hummus acts as a dip and a sandwich addition

Hummus is made with chickpeas, a staple of the Mediterranean diet. The pulses are a natural source of plant-based protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

I could make hummus at home, but it’s more fun to crack open a container enhanced with a dollop of chili-onion crunch.

I use it as a dip and as a protein source in veggie wraps.

The vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto tastes good on almost everything

lauren's hand holding up a container of trader joe's vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto in the aisles of trader joesTrader Joe’s vegan pesto can be used as more than just a pasta sauce.

Lauren Manaker

Trader Joe’s vegan pesto is versatile and delish. I use it as a sandwich spread, a dip, and, of course, a pasta sauce.

It’s also my secret ingredient in grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Zespri SunGold kiwis are a seasonal treat

Sadly, SunGold season ended in early fall. But the golden-fleshed fruit holds a place in my heart all year.

They’re naturally sweet with no added sugar, making them a great snack. Just one gives you 100% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake.

Kiwis aren’t grown throughout the Mediterranean, but all fruits are welcome within my interpretation of the diet’s guidelines.

Trader Joe’s fruits-and-greens smoothie blend makes mornings a breeze

lauren's hand holding up a bag of fruits and greens smoothie blend in the freezer aisle at trader joesI usually add milk to the smoothie blend.

Lauren Manaker

The store’s frozen fruit and veggie blend allows me to whip up a nutrient-packed smoothie when I don’t have fresh options on hand.

If I’m in the mood for a breakfast smoothie, all I need to do is pour it into a blender, add my liquid (like milk), and blend.

Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Brussels sprouts help up my veggie game

Sometimes I just need an extra kick of flavor to make my veggies exciting to eat.

Trader Joe’s saucy Brussels sprouts are flavorful enough to enhance any dish. And eating them helps me meet my veggie quota for the day.

The bulgur pilaf with butternut squash and feta is an easy side dish

lauren's arm holing up a bag of bulger pilaf in the freezer aisle at trader joesThe combination of grains and veggies in the Trader Joe’s pilaf is great.

Lauren Manaker

Grains make up a big part of the Mediterranean diet.

Although I usually cook my own, the precooked, frozen options at Trader Joe’s help make busy weeknights easier.

I enjoy that the store’s bulgur pilaf is made with butternut squash, helping me sneak in some veggies with minimal effort.

Cold-pressed watermelon juice is perfect to sip on in the summer

I prefer eating my fruit whole, but sometimes drinking juice can be a convenient way to include the nutrients in your diet.

Trader Joe’s seasonal cold-pressed watermelon juice isn’t cheap (typically about $3 for a 12-ounce bottle). But it’s delightful on a warm summer day.

Plus, it’s packed with plant compounds, like lycopene, with no added sugar.

Trader Joe’s vegan dill dressing elevates a slew of dishes

lauren's hand holding up a bottle of vegan dill dressing in the aisles of trader joesI think the dill dressing pairs well with fish.

Lauren Manaker

The Trader Joe’s dressing is great with salad or veggies. But it’s also delicious on top of cooked fish.

Among the many dressing offerings out there, the vegan dill offers a creaminess that’s hard to beat. Plus, the addition of fresh dill adds a flavorful punch.

Garlic and black pepper almonds provide a nice flavor boost

Nuts are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and Trader Joe’s garlic and black pepper almonds pair well with veggies, fruits, and even fish.

Unlike some preflavored nuts, these aren’t overloaded with sugary or salty additions, instead leaning on black pepper, sea salt, and dehydrated garlic and onion for their kick.

The Mediterranean-style salad kit is a staple

hand holding up a bag of organic Mediterranean style salad kit in the aisles at trader joesSometimes it’s just easier to make a balanced meal with a salad kit from Trader Joe’s.

Lauren Manaker

Making a salad isn’t usually hard to do. But once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with leaning on a salad kit — especially when it contains the perfect blend of flavors and textures.

I pair the organic Mediterranean-style salad with protein and starch for a balanced, nutrient-packed meal.

Read the original article on Business Insider