summer

The Best Groceries to Buy at Trader Joe’s for a Backyard Picnic

updated Jun 22, 2020
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It is finally time to stretch our legs out in the summer sun, after months of home confinement. And mark my words, the absolute best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is from the comfort (and safety) of a picnic blanket.

That’s why I highly recommend turning your backyard into the hottest hangout in town with nothing more than a quick (and again, safe) trip to Trader Joe’s — a place where you’ll find ready-made foods that are easy enough to simply open and enjoy with minimal prep or fuss.

I recently stopped by my local Trader Joe’s for a routine shopping trip and to pick up a few items for a family backyard picnic. I found everything I needed and more! Here are my picks for the 10 best groceries to buy for the occasion.

Credit: Patty Catalano

1. Tabbouli, $2.99 for 7 ounces

Tabbouli is a dish that’s commonly eaten in Middle Eastern cultures. It’s packed with fresh herbs, juicy tomatoes, toothsome bulgur, and a punchy vinaigrette. The best part is that this version requires 100 percent less chopping than its DIY counterpart. I consider that a win.

Credit: Patty Catalano

2. Mesquite Smoked Seasoned Almonds, $5.99 for 16 ounces

You’ll want to keep a stash of these crunchy almonds on hand at all times. They’re roasted and smoked with Mesquite wood and seasoned with savory spices. Eat them by the handful as an accompaniment to a meat and cheese spread.

Credit: Patty Catalano

3. Feta, Pepper Drop and Olive Antipasto, $4.99 for 6.5 ounces

Picnics are the perfect excuse to serve all of my favorite appetizers and forget about fussing over the rest. Serve this marinated antipasto with crackers or on crusty baguette slices. If you have leftovers, toss with cooked, chilled pasta for the world’s easiest post-picnic pasta salad.

Credit: Patty Catalano

4. CheeseSticks, $2.99 for 4 ounces

This snack is like cheese and crackers all in one! These savory twists are elegant and easy — the perfect equation for picnic fare. Never underestimate the power of a cheesy baton.

Credit: Patty Catalano

5. Block Red Sangria, $10.99 for 3 liters

When Trader Joe’s displays an entire wall of sangria, you’re obligated to buy a box. Just fill a glass with sliced fruit and add some wine. Mission accomplished.

Credit: Patty Catalano

6. Parmesan Pastry Pups, $4.49 for 14 pieces

Anyone who claims not to love pigs in a blanket cannot be trusted. Bake these little piggies inside before bringing them to the outdoor event. No grill necessary!

Credit: Patty Catalano

7. Mineral Sunscreen Stick, $5.99 for 0.53 ounces

Forget TJ’s frozen foods section — the beauty aisle is my favorite spot. While you’re picking up all the yummy munchies for your outdoor festivities, throw a sunscreen stick into your cart so that you can protect you and your family from the summer sun.

Credit: Patty Catalano

9. Many Things Snack Mix, $2.99 for 8 ounces

A great snack mix keeps you reaching for more — and that’s exactly what will happen when you taste TJ’s Many Things Mix. Honey roasted peanuts, corn sticks, spiced honey squares, pretzels, and bread sticks deliver crunch and a sweet-spicy flavor that you don’t often find in a snack mix.

Credit: Patty Catalano

10. Waxed Cotton Bags, $9.99 for 4

These bags are perfect for transporting picnic prep like cheeses and sandwiches and are indispensable for packing up leftovers from a picnic spread. I love that they’re reusable.

What are your go-to picnic items from Trader Joe’s? Tell us in the comments.