Ah, it’s that time of year when the scent of Trader Joe’s vanilla-pumpkin candle wafts through homes everywhere. Although it’s still sunny and 75 degrees here in San Diego and there’s not a fall-hued tree for miles, it’s an autumn wonderland in the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Pumpkin ice cream? Maple butter? Pumpkin bagels?? So many seasonal items to choose from!
But, as with most Trader Joe’s items, not all autumnal-flavored treats are created equal. We’ve broken down some of this year’s fall foods to help you skip the sugar-packed, processed, downright spooky “Tricks” and choose all the healthy(er) “Treats.”
Trick | Pumpkin Bisque
With 22 grams of added sugars and 27 grams of fat for one serving (a third of the jar), this is going to have to go in the “Trick” category. Also, for those of us who have to stay away from dairy, the heavy cream ingredient might be a little too gruesome.
Treat | Autumnal Harvest Soup
This is a fall soup we can get behind. More on the savory side of the pumpkin spectrum, this soup has delicious flavor from the pumpkin and squash with a tomato bisque feel. It only has 4 grams of added sugar and 8 grams of fat. Keep in mind, it is higher in sodium content (34% DV for one serving) and also contains a bit of dairy.
Trick | Maple Butter
Yes, this stuff is yummy. Unless you have incredible self-control, this should probably be on the no-no list. It is made with organic maple syrup, but with 13 grams of added sugar and 50 calories per tablespoon, it might be best to avoid or use sparingly. Especially with Halloween candy season upon us and the holidays right around the corner!
Treat | Apple Cider Fruit Spread
For a sweet fall addition to your toast or pancakes and a healthier alternative to maple butter, the apple cider fruit spread hits the spot! It has fewer added sugars (6g) and lots of apple chunks. It will also satisfy that apple cider craving we all have this time of year.
Trick | Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
This Trader Joe’s pumpkin pancake mix has 300 calories per serving and 10 grams of added sugars. Think of it like the dark, creepy house on the street on Halloween…just walk past it and go to the well-lit home that gives out full-size Snickers! Basically, what we’re saying is – why get this pancake mix when there’s a yummy, healthier alternative…
Treat | Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix
Sometimes Saturday morning pancakes are a MUST. This gluten-free option packs in all the pumpkin spice flavor with only 6 grams of added sugars and 210 calories per serving. Treat yo’ self.
Trick | Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
If you go by the serving size, this might not be such a frightening option. But if you eat the whole package (🙋🏼♀️) it clocks in at around 500 calories, not including sauce. While it’s certainly better than fast food on a busy weeknight, the non-organic dairy, processed flour, and added sugars make this option a little more scary goblin than Casper the friendly ghost.
Treat | Spicy Pumpkin Curry Simmer Sauce
Change up your curry game with this seasonal simmer sauce. It’s made with coconut cream, so it’s dairy free! It has nice, warm fall spices like ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon, but also has a little heat from the jalapeno puree. It tastes great with organic tofu and vegetables, and Trader Joe’s even has a recipe for pot pie using it!
Trick | Mini Spicy Pumpkin Samosas
A samosa isn’t our first choice for a healthy meal or snack in general and unfortunately these mini pumpkin samosas are no different. Don’t be tempted by the calorie content – while four of them will cost you less than 200 calories, the processed ingredients (including refined/ enriched wheat and canola oil) are a little more grim.
Treat | Fall Harvest Salsa
It’s salsa…with pumpkin, squash, and apples. But don’t worry, it’s not sweet! It has a nice kick, too, so you have a great combo of fall flavor with the punch of a mild-to-medium tomato salsa. With only 10 calories per serving and a solid list of whole food ingredients, you can’t go wrong with this condiment.
Do you have any Trader Joe’s fall favorites? Let us know! Remember, any of these fall goodies can be enjoyed in moderation! Use the nutrition facts as a guide and check out the ingredients to look for whole food options rather than a long list of processed ingredients. Happy fall, y’all!
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