Registered Dietitian Recommends Her Favorite Private Label Products From Trader Joe's

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There are many reasons why Trader Joe's has a cult following. There's the yummy-yet-quirky store samples (pumpkin soup crackers, anyone?). There's the perpetually friendly, Hawaiian-shirt-clad employees. There's the wittily penned Fearless Flyer circular, which is even more funny if you read it while imbibing the surprisingly drinkable Two Buck Chuck. And, there's the unmistakable thrill of hearing a bell ding, to let you know it's your turn to checkout and take your goodies home (per Insider). 

Ask an expert in nutrition why she is an avid fan of the 52-year-old California-based grocer, though, and you'll get a completely different answer. According to registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, author of "The Better Period Food Solution," the appeal of TJ can be summed up in four words: healthy private label products. Here are Beckerman's top picks for the most healthful – and delicious – items that you can score exclusively at Trader Joe's.

Your salad needs Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing

You're probably no stranger to salads if your goal is to eat healthily, but when it comes to finding a good salad dressing, the struggle is real. Many conventional salad dressings are absolutely loaded with sugar, salt, and additives, and the ones that have more diet-friendly ingredients can be so tasteless that you might be tempted to skip the salad and just order that burrito you were daydreaming about.

That's why Beckerman is such a fan of TJ's Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing. "With no added sugar and filled with simple, flavorful ingredients — like carrots, which are the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label — you will be dressing up foods you didn't even know needed to be dressed," she said. "It's made with real ingredients, like carrot, shallots, and ginger, so you won't walk away wondering what made your salad so delicious!" If you've already met your salad quota for the week, Beckerman noted that this dressing is the perfect way to top a veggie burger.

Spice things up with Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomatoless Salsa

If you think of salsa as just a place to stick a chip, you haven't discovered the versatility of this healthy, vegetable-based condiment. Beckerman adds salsa to just about everything – salads, crudite, quesadillas, burgers, grilled shrimp, and even pizza. (Salsa on pizza? You heard it here, first!)

The salsa variety that Beckerman stocks up on every time she hits TJs is Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomatoeless Salsa. Like all salsas, it has a great nutritional profile, but unlike other salsas, it has a uniquely sweet-and-spicy taste. "Because it's made with fiber-filled sweet corn, you'll not only be delivering the body digestive benefits but you'll get a nice hint of sweetness, too," she said. Beckerman noted that not only does this tasty TJ's salsa option fill you up, but it may also help you burn calories. "Though it's mild, the heat kick from the peppers may help contribute to a healthy metabolism," she explained.

Treat yourself with TJ's Gone Bananas

If you think a registered dietitian is going to be anti-dessert, you haven't met Beckerman. She's a strong proponent of concluding an evening on a sweet note. Of course, not all of Trader Joe's indulgences are going to be dietitian-approved. (For instance, let's take their Speculoos Cookie Butter - which, indeed, is a cookie-batter-flavored spread you can use top pancakes. Unlike the salsa, we're guessing this item is not something Beckerman stocks up on at every TJ's run.)

Instead, Beckerman goes bananas for TJ's Gone Bananas. "These are just as simple as it sounds: frozen slices of cold banana smothered in dark chocolate," she explained. "You'll be delivering the body potassium and magnesium from the banana–both nutrients that can help you wind down before bedtime." In case you need any more convincing, Beckerman said this snack may help you sleep better. "The dark chocolate also packs a bonus punch of magnesium which can help quell those nerves at night, keeping your slumber stay peaceful," she explained.