Trader Joe’s MUST HAVES for Runners

Happy Tuesday! Today I have the ultimate MUST HAVE grocery list for Trader Joe’s to share. I know the ‘best of’ TJ’s has been done and I’ve shared my favorites before. But, this list is specifically the best items Mr. Joe has to offer for runners.

allow tjs must have list for runners

best trader joes food for runners

Trader Joe’s Must Haves for Runners

1. Bananas! Trader Joe’s bananas are sold individually so you can buy one or 22 of them at a time. This is one of the first foods you think of when you think ‘runner’ because so many of us eat them before, after and even during runs! They are full of potassium and have a ton of other health benefits.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners bananas (600x800)

2. Dates. Dates are a great pre-run or during run food because they are a quick carb that is also filled with potassium! You can stuff a few dates with nut butter for some extra staying power too!

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners dates (800x600)

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners dates for mid run (800x600)

3. Beets. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics beets helps runners improve performance! After I read that last year I incorporated them into my BEST Drink for Runners juice recipe. You can buy these pre-cooked beets from TJ’s refrigerated section and try it out.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners beets (600x800)

4. Nut butter. Trader Joe’s has the best price for ‘fancy’ nut butters like almond butter (the best AB in my opinion) for $6.99 and organic Peanut Butter is under five bucks. The regular PB is under 3 dollars too!

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners peanut butter and almond butter (600x800)

Pro Tip: If you have tried almond butter and didn’t really dig it at first TJ’s roasted, salted almond butter is the best!

5. Puffins or TJ’s brand cereal. Trader Joe’s sells the ‘big’ boxes of Puffins, which can be hard to find at the normal grocery store. Plus their TJ’s branded cereals are cheap and taste just like the name brand.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners puffins (600x800)

6. Chia Seeds. The magical seed that allegedly helped the Tarahumara run for 50+ miles at a time is everywhere now. Because it’s a trendy food right now it can be pricey, but TJ’s prices are reasonable. Try chia seeds in my Chia Seed Granola Bar Recipe.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners chia seeds (600x800)

7. Chocolate Milk. You guys know I have always loved chocolate milk after a run or race. It has a good ratio of carbs to protein to help you recover and refuel up those muscles after a hard sweat session.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners chocolate milk (600x800)

8. Iced coffee. Caffeine has been shown to improve performance and delay fatigue in endurance athletes in a few studies. I don’t know if any of that is true, but I do know TJ’s Iced Coffee is smooth and delicious.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners iced coffee (800x600)

Pro Tip: Mix half iced coffee concentrate and half chocolate milk. Pour over ice. Be amazed.

that is good

9. Frozen Spinach. I recently told ya I don’t eat spinach very often any more. But, I do like to keep it around for the occasional green smoothie. TJ’s frozen spinach lasts a heck of a lot longer than the fresh stuff so I’m not tossing out a squishy bag of green juice every other week…

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners spinach (600x800)

10. Peanut Butter Cups or various other chocolate covered treats. Dark chocolate has anti-oxidants, which is good for you. Peanut Butter has healthy fats and helps keep you full. Dark chocolate + peanut butter = magical PB cups that taste amazing.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners peanut butter cups (600x800)

11. Two buck chuck. Obviously. After you’ve spent all your money on new running shoes and race entries you’re going to need some good, cheap booze. I got ya covered…

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners two buck chuck (600x800)

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners two buck chuck wine (800x600)

12. Ginger chews. I like these before races because they settle my stomach, taste great and give me a little extra sugar rush. Plus, they’re ginger – like a sweet slap in the face Winking smile

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners ginger chews (600x800)

brave redhair

13. Pizza dough. Runners and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly. Trader Joe’s pizza dough is amazing. Super easy to roll out – even if you don’t have a rolling pin and need to use a bottle of Two Buck Chuck wine (see above). It tastes just like your Nonna made it from scratch, but better.

top 10 trader joes must haves for runners pizza dough (800x600)

Related: Trader Joe’s Must Haves For Fall

My Trader Joe’s Favorites

Question: What do you want from the list?


  1. says

    I have heard a lot of others talk about Medjool Dates before a run but I have never tried them. Maybe I’ll have to pick them up on my next grocery hall. Nothing like a clean and natural pre-workout snack!

  2. says

    I cannot leave Trader Joe’s without Dark Chocolate covered Caramels! They call my name and I see them in my dreams. They are heavenly.

  3. says

    Just a tip on all TJ brand stuff, including puffins! It is the same exact thing, when TJ’s allows a brand in the store they have to give over the recipe so trader joes can make their version (: so go for the TJ brand, its the same!

  4. says

    I am a Trader Joe’s lover! I go as much as I can, especially since it’s located right next to the gym. Great list, I will have to check some of these out!

  5. says

    Great list! I need to utilize TJ’s more often. My boys LOVE ‘terrorizing’ our local store with a battle of who can drive their mini cart the fastest. I do my best to shop the fastest and get out 😉

  6. Paola A says

    I love Trader Joes but it’s a good 2 hours away from, so whenever I’m near I always grab a 12er of Two Buck Chuck. It’s awesome!
    Would love to try those beets though!

  7. says

    We have so many cases of 2 buck Chuck. It’s the best. I have seriously been jonesing for those pb cups for a few days now. Seeing your post makes me want them even more!

  8. Paula says

    You forgot zesty nacho kale chips, which I could eat in quantities that would totally negate the health benefits. I know you limit kale in your diet, but it’s a must-have for my training munchies.

  9. says

    when trader joe’s has a really short line I genuinely feel like I have won the lottery and today is the most amazing day ever. I’d say I set the bar pretty low for myself but I also got a large bag of cara cara oranges for under $5 and I think that, too, is pretty amazing.

  10. says

    I love Trader Joes! Their pizza crust, wine, and chocolate covered treats are the best. I haven’t tried the almond butter, but I will definitely pick some up next time I am there.

    They also have really cheap coconut oil. It is so trendy right now so it can be hard to find and expensive, but TJ’s keeps the price down.

  11. Janelle says

    Thanks for this list! I really need to try the iced coffee…it’s funny because I remembered that yesterday while at Fresh and Easy. I’m not really a fan of TJ’s pizza dough, though. I only tried the plain one (didn’t want to get to fancy with my young kiddos), and I felt like it just tasted off. My kids felt the same way too and were not fans. Are the other ones better? Maybe my standards are pretty high. Growing up, we would get pizza dough from a local Italian deli and that stuff was pretty amazing.

  12. says

    Great list! Didn’t know that about Chia seeds, I just started incorporating them into stuff at the New Year because people were talking about them. lol I am going to have to try the coffee for sure!

  13. Angelica says

    I recently tried their Gypsy Chariot wine and LOVED it. I am not a huge fan of red wines but I had to buy a couple of extra bottles!

  14. Tara says

    LOVE dates. I scoop PB with them when I need a quick snack to hold me over until dinner. I also like to stuff them with goat cheese and bake. and then up it and wrap it in proscuttio or bacon and cook. Oh My!

    Definitely need to try the ice coffee-a good thing to purchase for my weekend away in the mountains for my half!! whoohooo!!!

  15. Molly says

    I don’t get to TJ’s very often because it’s on the other side of town. but, I plan on bookmarking this page and using it as my list, lol. Not too sure about the beets though. Are they better than canned beets? Cuz I really don’t like those…

  16. Shannon in Tustin says

    Most of that stuff make regular appearances in my cart. I love the PB cups (but buy them in small bags for .99–to keep me honest). I don’t eat dates in the whole form but do live on Larabars as a go-to snack and their key ingredient is dates.

    One thing I would add is the dark chocolate covered almonds, which come in the single-serving bag OR tub. I seriously cannot live without them!

  17. Shannon says

    I could be wrong, but I was told the story of the 2 buck chuck wine – it’s not actually “cheap” wine. I was told that long story short there was a divorce and “chuck” didn’t want his ex to get rich so they sell the wine cheap – I was told this years ago so I’m sure I missed some of the details there. Funny to see it on the west coast!

  18. Stacy says

    I love TJs!! I love TJs so much in fact that when I got to the bottom of this blog post and I saw you have another post with TJ must haves…I clicked the link. I read that you were curious about the White Stilton fancy cheese with apricots. Well, I’ve had it and it is DELICIOUS! Highly recommended for sure.

  19. says

    I love chia seed from TJs plus gluten free waffles (not on the list). Also, I recently discovered kale and artichoke greek yogurt dip with which I am OBSESSED!

  20. Jen says

    Our TJ’s is opening May 16! I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this moment, no more traveling 200 miles for cheap everything!

  21. Maru says

    Ahhh, i have just returned today from the states, but good news, I did buy the famous almond butter ( and my favorites flaxseeds with blueberries!). i also bought in target the almonds with cofee, the blue diamons, because you pictured int your blog! I bring a lot of them to Spain!. My question is.. I dont know how to use the almond nut… I will try with a toast, dont know.. Any suggestion? Thanks! marina

  22. says

    I’ll add one to the list: coconut oil. TJ’s variety is superior in terms of texture and price. I use it in place of body glide. Also, if it’s windy, I’ll apply a thin coat on my face so I don’t get a windburn. Glamorous, I know.

  23. says

    Man! I am so bummed that we don’t have a TJ’s where I live now! I used to shop there all the time! I cant wait until I move back home in a few years so that I can shop there again! TJ’s and Whole Foods, I miss them dearly!

  24. Kate says

    I am training for my first half and have noticed that a lot of people eat peanut butter as a snack topping for an extra energy boost. I have never liked the taste or texture (sorry everyone!) but have not tried any other butters- do they all taste like peanut butter? Any good alternatives to PB anyone has tried?

    • says

      Most nut butters taste very similar to the nuts they are made from. So, if you like another nut – like almonds, you may want to try that. I suggest starting with roasted so they are similar to the ones you may eat in trail mix.

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