Elevate your everyday experiences with cookie butter (by putting it on everything).

Do you ever walk into one of the grocery stores near campus, see the prices, and start to hyperventilate? Same. Luckily, just a little ways from campus there’s two Trader Joe’s (one on 92nd and one on 72nd.) Their prices are actually reasonable and they have plenty of prepared options and snacks that are really good, but it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to get. Here’s a list of some of their best dorm-friendly options.

Frozen rice

  • Frozen rice is very convenient for those of us without rice cookers. If you don’t mind the rice tasting slightly less fluffy and absolutely hate cleaning, this would be a great option for you. Make sure to take it out of the box before you put it in the freezer so that it will take up less of your already limited freezer space. Yes, we’re looking at you, mini fridge.

Indian food packets

  • Trader Joe’s has a variety of frozen Indian food, some of which are better than others. Holding the bag makes us feel vaguely uncomfortable because they’re very squishy, but put them on rice and they’re not bad (although you definitely need to add salt.)

Frozen meals in general

  • Most of the frozen meals are good, and there’s lots of options for different dietary restrictions, and they’re all fairly reasonably priced. Be aware of how much freezer space you have, as in a dorm fridge you can’t fit too many. Perfect for when you are on the run as these meals can be quickly microwaved.


  • It’s pretty good and you’re already here (spicy miso is the best flavor.)

Cookie butter

  • Eating this is pretty much a spiritual experience. Do yourself a favor and get the crunchy version.

Clif bars

  • We like these as a handy snack/meal replacement and they’re 99 cents, so you really can’t beat the price. We recommend putting cookie butter on them.


  • Westside could NEVER with these prices.

Chili lime tortilla chips

  • More addictive than drugs.


  • The goat cheese here is both good and cheap, so it’s a win-win. Bonus if you get bread or some kind of cracker to put it on (the baked good section has bags of rolls that are like baguettes but single serving size that are great to put this on.)

Mochi rice nuggets

  • Very crunchy, very salty, and the bag is resealable. 

Cookies above the frozen aisle

  • There’s a lot of different types and they’re all pretty good, so pick your favorite!

Peanut/Sunflower butter cups

  • The peanut butter cups are very good (get the dark chocolate ones for max enjoyment.) For those with peanut allergies, the sunflower butter cups are a great alternative. 

Almond coconut creamer

  • Extremely good in coffee or tea for those of us who are lactose intolerant (and honestly, it might be better than regular milk/cream in coffee.)

Earl gray tea

  • Even if you accidentally let it steep for twenty minutes too long it still tastes really good, and it’s pretty inexpensive (20 teabags for under three dollars.)

Coffee beans

  • Do yourself a favor and get coffee beans so that you can make your own instead of drinking whatever passes as coffee in the dining halls. There’s a decent variety of beans, and even d*caf if you want it. If you don’t know how to make coffee there’s cans of cold brew, but buying beans is the cheapest way to go.