Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Trader Joe's Strawberry Chia 100% Juice Smoothie

A few months ago, I was whining and pining for my long lost Jamba Juice after being unimpressed and underwhelmed by a $5 juice product from TJ's. Looks like they've stopped stocking that pressed juice at our local store, at least for the time being. I certainly wouldn't miss it if it disappeared forever. But I'll be danged, believe it or not, this strawberry chia stuff is a product I can get behind. It's thick, sweet, tasty, filling, and each bottle has way more omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid than I ever knew I needed. $2.99 a bottle won't break the bank, either.
With 48% of your daily fiber and 340 calories per bottle, this is a beverage that "eats like a meal." I can make this work for lunch all by itself. Some of you weight watchers might be horrified by the calorie count and the presence of 8g of fat, but look at it this way: wouldn't you rather be taking in calories from good sources like fruit and chia seeds than most other snacks? 

There are exactly three ingredients in this drink: apple juice, strawberry puree, and chia seeds. None of those things are going to show up on my gut the way 340 calories worth of bad carbs would.

I'm certainly no nutrition expert, but circa 7 years ago, I was 25 pounds leaner because I had a smoothie every night for dinner. In truth, the bottle claims to have two full servings in it, but I just don't see it that way. By drinking the whole thing, I feel very full, and I honestly don't want to eat anything else for quite a while. By drinking half of it, I feel like I need a bit more food in my body, and the little devil sitting over my left shoulder whispers something along the lines of "Go ahead, you've already had your fruit today. Have a slice of pizza or a donut," and sucker that I am, I fall for it every time.

But anyway, in summary, this just might be the smoothie that I've been looking for. Strawberry is the dominant flavor, and it's pleasantly sweet. The puree and the seeds blend seamlessly, texutre-wise. And a nice little blend of vitamins and protein make this a must-try for smoothie-enthusiasts and health nuts. I'm torn between an 8 and a 9, so I'll go with 8.5 stars.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. " apple juice, strawberry puree, and chia seeds. None of those things are going to show up on my gut the way 340 calories worth of carbs would." -- Um, those things are practically ALL carbs, and in fact there are 62g of carbs in that drink, which is still 244 calories. Carbs are carbs... simple.

  2. You know what he meant... Better to put in your body than processed carby junk.