20 Trader Joe’s Must-Haves for Toddler Moms

{Psssst! I’ve updated this list with my 2019 Trader Joe’s toddler favorites, and I even made a printable shopping list to bring to the store with you. Check it out!}

Trader Joe’s is the mecca of all grocery stores. The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the G.O.A.T. (that’s “greatest of all time,” for you non-hip-moms). And for toddler moms, especially, it’s nothing short of a lifesaver.

Because as mother to a toddler (or, heavens, multiple toddlers), you are responsible for all the snacks, all the time. And Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, the number one place to find tasty snacks and easy meals for toddlers.

However, if you’ve never been, it can be a little daunting. It’s organized differently than most stores, and nearly everything is Trader Joe’s brand, so it can take a few aimless, wandering trips to get the lay of the land and figure out what the real gems are.

Toddler moms ain’t got time for that, so lucky for you, you’ve got me!

20 things you MUST get at a Trader Joe's if you're a toddler mom!

This is my ultimate toddler mom must-have list from Trader Joe’s. Treats for you, treats for your toddler, some healthy stuff, some not-so-much. It’s all about balance, folks.

The Best Trader Joe’s Meat & Produce

1. Flowers

Trader Joe's Flowers

The first thing you’ll see and smell upon entering this glorious place is flowers. TJ’s has gorgeous flowers, at a great price. Get a pre-arranged bouquet, or arrange your own, and stick it in the middle of your otherwise wrecked house to present the illusion of order.

2. Produce

Trader Joe's Produce

We’ll start with the healthy stuff. They’ve got great fresh produce here, again at a great price. I almost always get a bag of baby spinach because I toss it into everything to try and force my child to eat greens (like my secret veggie smoothie), and I basically can’t ever enter a store without getting some berries for him.

And most of the time I pick up some carrots to dip in my…

3. Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Jalapeno Hummus

Trader Joe's Cilantro and Jalapeno Hummus

This stuff is the bomb. Quick, high-protein snacks are a must-have for moms of tiny lunatics. They also have super soft naan bread and crispy pita chips to eat with this, if you prefer that.

4. Trader Joe’s Packaged Salads

Trader Joe's Packaged Salads

It’s hard impossible to pick one favorite item at Trader Joe’s, but their packaged salads come pretty dang close. This Mexicali Salad is one of my go-tos, but they’re all delish. And if there’s anything we toddler moms need, it’s quick and easy lunches.

5. The Best Trader Joe’s Cheese: Unexpected Cheddar

Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar

I can’t even begin to adequately describe this stuff. Sharp white cheddar, mixed with parmesan and perfection… just try it.

6. Baked Goods

Trader Joe's Half Moon Cookies

There’s always this table, right next to the fruits & veggies, that just taunts you. Your cart is so healthy and colorful, and you’re feeling great about your life choices, and then you come across this table and it will break you down. So just accept that now. Pick literally anything off of it and know you can’t make a bad choice.

7. Trader Joe’s Almond, Cashew & Chocolate Trek Mix

Trader Joe's Trek Mix

This is my favorite thing to bring to preggos and new moms. When I was pregnant, I always had a bag with me. I kept one in my desk, one in my purse, one next to the couch, one in my nightstand. It’s an awesome protein-filled snack that you don’t have to feel too guilty about.

8. Trader Joe’s Marinated Meats

Trader Joe's Pesto Chicken

Trader Joe’s has tons of great marinated meats to choose from. My family and I love pesto, so this one’s a clear winner for us, but we also love the Cabernet roast and pretty much everything we’ve tried.

The Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Foods

9. Trader Joe’s Frozen Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

Trader Joe's Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

Onto the frozen aisles – this is where the real magic happens. These chicken burgers are everything. They’re healthy, tasty, easy to prepare. The trifecta.

10. Trader Joe’s Frozen Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

If I need to convince you to try this, then I can’t help you. Trader Joe’s regular frozen mac & cheese is delicious enough, but this is hatch chile mac & cheese, for God’s sake, and it’s ready in 5 minutes.

11. Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken

Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken

This is one of our favorite last-minute dinners. Just drop this in the oven, whip up some fried rice (which TJ’s also has in the frozen section), and it’s ready in 30 minutes. The whole family loves it!

12. Trader Joe’s Frozen Mac & Cheese Bites

Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese Bites

TJ’s frozen apps are LIFE. These Mac & Cheese Bites are the top of the pyramid (for obvious reasons), but the Parmesan Pastry Pups and Spanakopita are both awesome, too.

13. Trader Joe’s Tater Tots

Trader Joes Tater Tots

Tbh, I don’t know why these are any better than regular tater tots. But they really are. They’re crispy and soft and flavorful and wonderful.

14. Trader Joe’s Turkey Corn Dogs

Trader Joe's Turkey Corn Dogs

I still maintain that it’s impossible to pick one TJ’s favorite, but if I were to attempt that, these would be a top contender.

No corn dog could ever stand next to a Fletcher’s Corny Dog from the State Fair of Texas, but these are a damn good substitute (and they’re turkey dogs! I would never be able to tell the difference.).

Buy them “for your toddler,” but eat them for yourself.

The Best Trader Joe’s Snacks

15. Trader Joe’s Pinks & Whites Cookies

Trader Joe's Pink & White Cookies

The secret to Trader Joe’s is that all the really good stuff is spread out above the freezers in the frozen aisles. That’s where you’ll find these delightful cookies that are like the Circus cookies of your childhood, but laced with crack (I assume, because I can’t stop eating them).

I actually can’t buy these anymore, because between my 3-year-old and myself, we’ll eat a whole box in a single day, and that doesn’t go well for anyone.

16. All the Trader Joe’s Chocolate

Trader Joe's Snacks: Dark Chocolate Almonds and Mini Peanut Butter Cups

There are too many amazing, to-die-for, chocolatey goodies at Trader Joe’s to include here. They’re all delicious, but these two–Dark Chocolate Almonds and Mini Peanut Butter Cups–are my current favorites.

I also highly recommend the Cowboy Bark and S’mores Bites, assuming you don’t care about things like pants sizes and diabetes (moderation, okay?!).

17. Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Ice Cream

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Ice Cream

So, I intentionally didn’t include Cookie Butter on this list, because it’s too obvious. Cookie butter from Trader Joe’s is a given. If you don’t have a jar of Cookie Butter stashed away in your pantry at all times, you’re doing it wrong.

But Cookie Butter Ice Cream is worth including on the list. It’s everything you imagine it to be and more.

18. Trader Joe’s Frozen Gone Bananas

Trader Joe's Gone Bananas

Another contender for a “favorite” TJ’s item. These are so simple–just frozen, chocolate-covered banana slices–and yet, they’re magical.

19. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute

A tasty seasoning mix that improves anything and everything it touches. Chicken, pasta, meat, eggs, whatever. Just toss this in.

20. Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck

Trader Joe's Wine - Two Buck Chuck

$2 wine, because, TODDLERS.

Toddler moms, what are your other Trader Joe’s favorites? Share ’em in the comments!

20 things you HAVE to get at Trader Joe's if you're Toddler Mom! Toddler-friendly snacks and meals, plus mom-necessities to survive the day with a toddler.

24 Comments

  1. So many to add.

    Pork potstickers, garlic olive oil, lace cookies, pre made stuffed bell peppers. I also love their purees in a pouch for the boys.

    Oh and rocket cheese crackers. We eat these in a day. Its sad lol.

    Oh oh beef broccoli and the gorgonzola gnocchi. Yum.

    • How have I never seen the garlic olive oil before?! That sounds amazing. All of these do!

    • Oooh I’ve never tried the white bean hummus! I’ll add that one to my next trip too.

  2. I was going to say #3, 4 and 5 looked pretty hard to pass but then I saw the pesto chicken and other things. Yep, pretty good list, indeed – Amy

  3. The freezer section is the best at Trader Joes! So many quick goodies for lunch and dinner. My daughter likes the green juice that they sell also.

    • Yes! I probably spend 75% of the time there perusing those two freezer aisles.

  4. I love seeing what other people buy at TJ! I wish e lived closer to one so I could buy that ice cream!! Yum!

  5. I LOVE Trader Joe’s! I always get the sauerkraut and chicken sausage whenever I go, along with a million snacks I don’t need. Trader Joe’s has the best snacks!! Oh and the Gorgonzola gnocchi…add some chicken sausage and broccoli on the side an you have a super easy weeknight dinner.

  6. I live in the UK, so not trader joe’s for us but they seem like a pretty good supermarket and your list too, but again we don’t really get some of the things you got :/

  7. Trader Joe’s is my happy place!! I have had my eye on a few of these items and I can’t wait to try them now! thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow we love Trader Joe’s! Honestly I don’t love their baked goods. I like their soups the refrigerator ones for a quick meal. The frozen falafel is goood, Chana masala

    • You’re so lucky you don’t like their baked goods! I’ll pick up that frozen falafel next time I go. Sounds delish!

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