By Khadijah Khogeer

Trader Joe’s has some hidden gems to keep you from spending what’s left of your broke-college-student budget on Uber Eats. These underrated food items make eating at home and diversifying your palate so easy. 


  • Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix

Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake mix only requires two ingredients: equal parts pancake mix and water. It’s so easy to make because it requires no eggs or milk and doesn’t make a mess in the kitchen. As the name highlights, these pancakes contain 10 grams of protein per serving, so you get protein in your breakfast that’s also buttery and sweet.

  • Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Stirring Spoon with Mini Marshmallows 

This new item can be spotted near the checkout line, which makes it very tempting to toss into your cart. These are individually packed hot chocolate cubes on a cute mini wooden spoon. The chocolate type in the spoon is double chocolate, which tastes as creamy and sweet as Dunkin’ or Starbucks’ hot chocolate. The chocolate cube melts quickly in warm milk, perfect for chilly December mornings. 

Lunch/Dinner Meals

  • Low Fat Chicken Chow Mein 

Trader Joe’s Orange Mandarin Chicken gets all the rave, but the frozen Chow Mein is more balanced — containing veggies, chicken and noodles. 

Pour the contents of the bag in a pan and cover for only 6–7 minutes. It’s that quick and takes little effort. The Chow Mein tastes the same, if not better, than take-out stir-fry noodles. Bonus: it’s low-fat and low-calorie.

  • Mahi Mahi Burgers

If you’re bored of repetitive animal protein options such as salmon, turkey, chicken or beef, then Trader Joe’s Mahi Mahi burgers might be a nice switch-up.

The mahi mahi fish is flavorful without being greasy or smelling too fishy. It’s a diverse ingredient because you can add it to salads, eat it plain with burger buns or as any other sandwich.


  • Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

One pack contains two cups of delicious dark chocolate that taste similar yet richer than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The dark chocolate makes this snack taste like expensive chocolate, but is all the more unique thanks to the addition of sunflower seeds. 

It’s a perfectly filling snack while on the go, or when eaten with coffee while studying.

  • Thai Tea Mini Mochi

This is for anyone who loves adding mochi to their order from their favorite Asian restaurants. The frozen mini mochis are a refreshing dessert option, being equally light and chewy. 

Explore a new flavor of mochi rather than the typical matcha and strawberry flavors. These tiny mochis taste as sweet as real Thai tea while being low in calories. 

  • Maple Leaf Cookies 

These maple leaf-shaped cookies come with a maple cream filling that perfectly captures the taste of fall. Even though autumn is almost over, you can still enjoy a box of Maple Leaf Cookies.