Who doesn’t love dunking into a delicious dip on game day? Whether you’re going to a Super Bowl party for the game, the commercials, or merely the camaraderie, it is undeniably a social event whose culinary focus seems to be all about prolonged snacking — and these Trader Joe’s dips and spreads are the perfect partners for your party spread.
Furthermore, these Trader Joe’s dips and spreads themselves can actually have a lot of nutritive benefits — if you know how to proceed. Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD/LDN, and director of nutrition for Body Beautiful Miami, as well as Danielle Crumble Smith, RDN, and consultant with Top Nutrition Coaching, point out that these dips are often a great opportunity to eat veggies, which provide vitamins, minerals, and a low caloric density. Plus, the crunchy veggies with creamy and savory dips can prolong the satisfaction of eating.
When it comes to satisfying game-day munching, Smith says the key to avoiding mindless snacking if you avoid going on an empty stomach. She also suggests being intentional about the foods you want to eat — and skipping on the rest.
Gomer recommends drinking lots of water and filling up your plate with all of your favorite veggies and healthy dip options. When it comes to choosing your dips, Smith suggests seeking the types of dips that are full of those good healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
With those principles in mind, here are nine healthy Trader Joe’s dips and spreads our nutritionists love.
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1. Organic Chunky Homestyle Guacamole
Guacamole is no stranger to our snack buffets for any occasion, and this TJ’s option topped the list for both nutrition specialists.
“How could you not love this guacamole?” asks Smith. “Potassium-rich avocados are always a staple in my house and the flavors of this guac appeal to all palates.”
“The ingredients are awesome,” says Gomer. “No added sugar, no added vegetable oils, and loaded with beautiful omega-3 rich avocado which is delicious and nutritious.”
2. Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeno Dip
Good news for texture lovers: “Often, the word ‘creamy’ in a food description is code for ‘high calorie,’” says Smith. “But with this cauliflower-based dish, that’s not the case! Ingredients are always listed in order of largest quantity to lowest, and here cauliflower is the first ingredient.”
“This dip satisfies your guests who are watching their carbs,” says Gomer. “It’s a low caloric hit at 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, and best of all, it has no processed seed oils, just real dairy: cheese, milk, and cream.”
3. Salsa Autentica
Salsas are generally a safe choice, but our nutritionists point out that checking for added sugar or seed oils is the best approach.
“You just cannot go wrong with this tried-and-true salsa,” says Smith. “Ten calories for 2 tablespoons, and all clean ingredients,” says Gomer. “Just tomatoes, chili peppers, and seasonings.”
In the case of Ghost Pepper Salsa, another TJ’s salsa option, Gomer points out that while it’s a good choice nutritionally, she warns against making an inadvertent social faux-pas. “Know that some of your guests will not be able to tolerate this extra hot salsa,” she says and suggests including a (cute) warning sign if you’re serving it.
4. Avocado Tzatziki Dip
Tzatziki with its bold, piquant, and fresh flavor along with its rich, appealing texture, is always a touchdown, but especially when bolstered with the nutrition of avocados.
“This is an awesome option that will please your low-carb guests along with providing beautiful omega-3 fats from the avocado oil along with yogurt, veggies, and spices,” says Gomer.
Smith points out that it’s not only a vehicle for veggies, but also for a protein hit thanks to the Greek yogurt: “Tzatziki has always been a favorite of mine to pair with kabobs,” she says. “The addition of avocado makes me love it even more.”
5. Everything and the Elote Greek Style Yogurt Dip
Proof that you can have your dip, and eat it, too.
“This is another great dip that has wholesome ingredients without the seed oils,” says Gomer. “Just yogurt, cheese, and spices make up this dip that is also a low caloric hit at 60 calories for 2 tablespoons.”
With the Greek yogurt base, it’s a bonus calcium boost as well.
6. Eggplant Garlic Spread
“This is a great introduction to eggplant if you haven’t tried it before,” says Smith, with a flavorful spread reminiscent of baba ghanoush. “The tomato paste also provides a small amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Note that this spread does contain a small amount of cane sugar, and also sunflower oil. While they are both in small amounts, they are things to be aware of if you are avoiding added sugars and seed oils altogether.
7. Buffalo Chicken Dip
What would a Super Bowl party even be without the appearance of the ever-so-popular buffalo chicken dip?
“This dip is awesome for a solid protein hit from the chicken and cheese, which will help fill you up with a lower calorie-dense option at 60 calories for 2 tablespoons,” says Gomer.
Smith also recommends the vegan version: “this veggie-loaded, allergen-free dip is a great addition to any party platter. As you would expect from Buffalo sauce, this does have a little heat and adds a nice kick to veggies.”
8. Herbed Tahini Sauce
Tahini, made from sesame seed paste, isn’t limited to being a flavoring element for hummus and has dip potential in its own right.
“This is excellent as a spread or dip, loaded with the clean ingredients of sesame seeds, herbs, and seasonings,” says Gomer. “Sesame seeds can add to your B vitamin and fiber hit, and are known to aid in blood sugar control so this will fill you up.”
9. Olive Tapenade
Olive oil gets a lot of press for its health-forward properties, but olives themselves can also be a nutritional star.
“This is a fabulous choice for a low-carb, vegan, and no-dairy option,” says Gomer. “This spread is loaded with healthy omega 3’s and utilizes olive oil, a superior choice for health over the more used sunflower and canola that is in a lot of other offerings.”
Read next: The 6 Best Trader Joe’s Soups Worth Buying, Says Dietitian
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