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Lifes Best Shopping Spree Experience for The Year

It is 2022 and we live in an era where food allergies are more widely known, accepted and accommodated. Rewind to just ten years ago though, and it was a completely different story.

That’s how I ended up inside a Trader Joe’s on a Friday night ten years ago. I had just found out about my severe gluten allergy and needed to buy new foods and snacks that wouldn’t keep making me sick. That was a big task in and of itself, but combined with my almost lifelong lactose intolerance? Forget it. The grocery stores he frequented were not enough; they had nothing to offer. So I headed to my local TJ and was surprised to find numerous food options that I could eat.

It’s true that gluten free and dairy free foods have come a long way since then, I can find them almost everywhere, but Trader Joe’s is still one of my go-to grocery stores. It’s my go-to for allergy-friendly snacks, dips, desserts, and baked goods that are good enough to enjoy regardless of whether you have a food allergy. If you’re looking to up your snack game or find some new treats at your next TJ run, this is all I get at Trader Joe’s to fit my gluten-free and lactose-free diet.

Chocolate covered coconut macaroons

As someone with a sweet tooth, finding gluten-free desserts that are dairy-free can be exhausting. These macaroons, however, do not disappoint. In fact, they are absolutely divine. Soft and chewy on the inside, the hard chocolate exterior adds so much goodness and flavor. Whenever I feel like something really sweet, I reach for one of these.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffins

Anyone who has bought gluten-free bagels knows that they usually come frozen, which tends to make them chewier once thawed and more likely to burn in the toaster. However, Trader Joe’s gluten-free bagels are anything but. For starters, they are not frozen, which gives them a fresh bakery feel. I’m a big fan of TJ’s simple, gluten-free bagels, but for fall, pumpkin pie spice is my go-to. I don’t usually eat breakfast, but when I have them around, I just can’t resist.

Fresh Atlantic Salmon

Although my Trader Joe’s trips are mostly to stock up on my favorite snacks, I can never resist grabbing a pack of this salmon. I am a huge seafood lover, and salmon is packed with healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc, and vitamins B12 and D. Plus, this salmon is super fresh and super affordable. On days I add this to my shopping cart, I’ll cook it that night in the oven with a little garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I then accompany it with gluten free rice or spaghetti and my homemade dairy free alfredo sauce. It’s so good, and good for me too!

Crunchy Almond Butter

To the surprise of absolutely no one, I have a very sensitive stomach. I am working on staying on top of my gut health, and almonds are one of the foods that can help with that. Unfortunately for me, they are my least favorite nut. I’m a crunchy peanut butter girl at heart, so instead of regular peanut butter, I’ll opt for 1-2 tablespoons of this crunchy almond butter daily. I have found it super beneficial, and the more I have it, the more I love the taste.

Non-dairy frozen dessert of cold brew coffee and Boba

Coffee has always been my favorite ice cream flavor, but for whatever reason, finding it in a vegan or dairy-free option has proven to be a challenge. So I have to say: Trader Joe answered my prayers with this. I never would have thought that combining boba (tapioca pearls) with coffee-infused coconut milk would be such a good idea, but the combination is great. This dessert is so thick and rich in flavor that you feel like you’re eating regular ice cream, and the soft pearls add a nice contrast to the creamy texture.

Soft Baked Sunflower Shortbread Cookies

These aren’t my favorite cookies in the entire world, but I like to keep them around because they’re great for a quick snack to keep my sweet tooth at bay. I call them my “healthy” cookies because you can eat two and consume only 19 grams of carbs and 11 grams of sugar, which is far less than most cookie options out there.

Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative

Vegan creams and cheeses are notoriously expensive, but Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese retails for just $2.99, so buying one or two won’t put a dent in your wallet like other brands. Plus, it spreads easily and is full of flavor. I use it religiously on my bagels or occasionally on a fresh flavored loaf of bread, like banana.

Organic Vegan Nacho Dip

Although most people would use this sauce for snacks, I love using it for lunch. It has a great consistency and is tasty AF, and my favorite thing to go with it is a plain gluten-free tortilla or two. It’s not the most nutritious pairing in the world, but it’s delicious, so I think that has to count for something. I don’t normally keep tortilla chips in my house because I’d break them in a day, so if I ever really get a craving for the crunchy tortilla chips they provide, I’ll lightly toast my burritos in a pan with something other than stick cooking spray. .

Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Before I knew I was lactose intolerant, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces were my go-to candy. Now, thanks to Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups, I don’t miss them anymore. These cups are individually wrapped, so you still get the same joy out of unwrapping them as you would traditional candy, and the ratio of salty to sweet is absolute perfection.

I’ve been obsessed with coffee cake in the past, and while I could probably make a gluten-free and dairy-free version on my own, I just haven’t made it. I am more chef than baker, after all. However, this pumpkin bread is a dream come true. It reminds me of the coffee cake I enjoyed so much years ago, and it’s so good that everyone I know with and without food allergies is obsessed with it.

My favorite way to eat this is toasted with a little vegan butter topped with a drizzle of honey or a little vegan cream cheese. Unfortunately this is a seasonal item so I try to stock up as much as I can now. If you are a fan of coffee cake or banana bread, you will definitely love this.

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