14 Deceptively Unhealthy Trader Joe’s Items You Thought Were Good for You

These “healthy” foods from Trader Joe’s have a sneaky little secret.

trader joes retail location
Updated July 18, 2024
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Trader Joe’s has a reputation for being healthier among customers, but some of these popular shopping hacks can have some unexpected ingredients that make that claim wrong.

It’s always worth checking the labels ahead of time, especially if you’re on a particular diet, like low-sugar or low-sodium. These unhealthy items may just surprise you.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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Joe-Joe’s Granola Cookies & Creme

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz granola cookies creme

Price: $3.69

You may think granola has to be a healthier option, but this one adds a sneaky amount of sugar.

This tasty granola is better used sparingly since it has a third of your daily recommended sugar in just one serving.

Perhaps this granola should be a sprinkle on your yogurt rather than as a whole breakfast.

Crunchy Almond Butter No Salt

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz crunchy almond butter no salt

Price: $5.99

Though almond butter can be a great alternative for peanut allergies, it’s actually higher in fat.

This crunchy almond butter is 190 calories per two-teaspoon serving, which can make your PB&J; less healthy than you thought.

Thankfully, it has no sodium, unlike Trader Joe’s peanut butter with honey.

Organic Italian Dressing

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz organic italian dressing

Price: $3.79

We all know Ranch dressing isn’t the healthiest salad topper, but what about Italian dressing?

Before you pick up this bottle, it’s worth knowing it has a high sodium count of two teaspoons. If you’re watching your salt intake, consider the Organic Toasted Sesame Dressing instead.

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Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz unexpected broccoli cheddar soup

Price: $4.99

Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup when you’re under the weather, except for this option.

Despite its delicious flavor, this broccoli cheddar soup is high in sodium and saturated fat. For a healthier, warm meal, replace this option with Trader Joe’s classic chicken noodle soup.

To the Power of Seven Red Organic Juice

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz red organic juice

Price: $4.99

Surely, juice with so many tasty fruits can’t be unhealthy, right?

Well, this blend of red juices, like strawberry, beet, and watermelon, is high in sugar. Even without added sugar, it has 29 grams in each cup serving.

Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz cinnamon sugar almonds

Price: $3.99

Almonds are a heart-healthy snack, but it’s important to remember that’s without any extras.

These almonds have a cinnamon sugar coating that takes them from a “healthy” treat to a small-serving dessert.

With just seven almonds, you get 32 grams of sugar and a fourth of your daily recommended saturated fat.

Everything Ciabatta Rolls

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz everything ciabatta rolls

Price: $2.49

Typical ciabatta bread is full of nutrients and grains to help your daily diet. However, these ciabatta rolls have an Everything seasoning that ups the sodium significantly.

Each roll is 250 calories and a third of your recommended sodium intake, so consider cutting it in half.

Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chicken breakfast sausage patties

Price: $2.99

You may think that chicken sausage would be healthier than pork, and in some ways, it is.

These chicken sausage patties are actually higher in cholesterol than some Trader Joe’s pork sausage. Plus, these patties pack a decent amount of sodium per serving.

Vegan Cookies and Creme Vanilla Bean Bon Bons

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz vanilla bean bon bons

Price: $3.99

Unfortunately, “vegan” doesn’t always mean it’s the healthier option.

These frozen treats might be dairy-free, but they are high in saturated fat. Not to mention, each serving is only one bon bon, which will set you back 110 calories.

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Chocolate Almond Protein Smoothie

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chocolate almond protein smoothie

Price: $3.49

Making protein shakes at home can be time-consuming, but it also might be better for you.

This ready-made protein smoothie is dairy-free and tasty. However, it has over 300 calories per bottle and over a third of your daily sugar for just 23 grams of protein.

Egg Wraps

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz egg wraps

Price: $4.69

Egg wraps may seem like a healthier alternative to tortillas, but always check the labels beforehand.

These egg wraps have more cholesterol than their bread counterparts. For your wrap needs, check out the low-carb tortillas at Trader Joe’s instead.

Sweetened Dried Orange Slices

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz sweetened dried orange slices

Price: $1.99

Taking a look at this product, it could seem harmless enough. But these orange slices have been sweetened, which adds to the natural sugar content.

Instead of the healthy snack you thought you were buying, now you’re consuming 32 grams of sugar in every three slices.

Super Strawberry Sorbet

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz super strawberry sorbet

Price: $3.99

Nothing beats a tasty sorbet to help cool you down in the summer. However, there’s nothing refreshing about the sugar content in this pint.

Each serving has half the sugar you need for the day, so perhaps skip this sorbet and opt for some frozen fruit instead.

Gluten Free Egg Fettuccine Pasta

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz gluten free egg fettuccine pasta

Price: $3.99

Sticking to a gluten-free diet can be difficult, especially when the ingredients aren’t so healthy.

This fettuccine pasta may satisfy your pasta cravings, but at a cost. Each cup has over a quarter of your daily sodium and cholesterol, and that’s without the Alfredo sauce.

Bottom line

Tan Kian Khoon/Adobe daughter eating spaghetti bolognese

Trader Joe’s still has a ton of healthy finds worth buying, which will help you keep more cash in your wallet.

It’s always good practice to check the labels before you hit the checkouts to ensure these items fit your needs.

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Author Details

Ariel Taranski

Ariel Taranski is a writer for FinanceBuzz. She has worked as a content marketer for CPAs and financial advisors, and she enjoys being frugal and money-savvy in her day-to-day life. Ariel has also worked with clients such as The Knot, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alpha Prime, and many more in her time as a freelance writer.