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Trader Joe\'S
Trader Joe\'S
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon


This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

If you’ve scrolled on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Youtube Shorts even once this month, I bet you’ve heard the iconic sound: “Girl Dinner.” For those who are unaware, girl dinners are snack items that girls call their meal for the night; otherwise known as “Girl Dinner.” Whether you’re saving money, cramming that report in the night before, can’t stop doom scrolling, or you’re too lazy to cook, we’ve all had our fair share of girl dinners. 

As someone who often procrastinates on her assignments, but has also been an avid Trader Joe’s shopper for the last 15 years, you can bet that I’ve tried a good majority of the Trader Joe’s items in the store. I mean, who doesn’t love affordable, healthy food? Since starting university two years ago, I’ve mastered my list of girl dinners from Trader Joe’s that you HAVE to try before you graduate. Keep reading below to prepare for your next Trader Joe’s grocery haul:

1. Trader Joe’s Hash Browns

If you haven’t had the Trader Joe’s Hash Browns yet, you’re truly missing out on one of the best items in the store. These are a must-grab every time I visit. Although it’s not technically dinner, it’s one of my favorite girl breakfasts to have in the mornings. I mean, who’s stopping you from having hash brown as your girl dinner.

Pro Tip: Pair these hash browns with eggs (the most affordable eggs in Berkeley come from Trader Joe’s *hint hint*), chili crisp oil, and avocado from Trader Joe’s, and you’ll be tasting perfection.

2. Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons

My favorite girl dinners are ones that are already pre-cooked. If you’re feeling lazy or short on time, these can be popped into the microwave (covered with a damp paper towel) for one to two minutes and they’ll be ready to eat. If you can spare a bit more time, you can also boil or pan-fry them following the instructions on the bag. Top it off with a bit of soy sauce and you have an easy, low-calorie snack that makes for an amazing girl dinner. 

3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I promise you, these are some of the best, if not the best, chocolate peanut butter cups I’ve ever tasted. It’s time to switch over from the REESE’S because these are LIFE-CHANGING. I also just love peanut butter and dark chocolate, so the combo is perfect for when I have a sweet craving or need a pick me up after a long day. 

4. Cauliflower Gnocchi

If you’re a pasta girly, you have to try the cauliflower gnocchi. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and egg-free for all of my lactose-intolerant, gluten-sensitive, and food-sensitive girlies out there. Also, it’s lighter than your usual gnocchi and comes packed with more nutrients! Who said girl dinner can’t be healthy? This cauliflower gnocchi tastes great on its own, but a little bit of butter and parmesan cheese makes the girl dinner experience infinitely better. 

Pro Tip: Ignore the directions on the bag. Pan-fry these on a non-stick pan and olive oil for the best taste.

Alex Frank / Spoon

5. Organic Chicken Nuggets

This is actually a hidden gem and genuinely one of my favorites in Trader Joe’s. Once you’ve tried these, you’ll want to ditch those dino nuggets you’ve been munching on since childhood. Unlike some of the others on this list, you won’t find this keeper in the frozen aisle; this is all fresh baby. Pop these in the air fryer for a couple of minutes and you have a perfectly delicious girl dinner…although we should really petition to have Trader Joe’s make a dino version of these delectables. 

Jolie Tran

UC Berkeley '25

Jolie is a Junior at the University of California, Berkeley studying business administration. Her past experience writing includes writing articles, listicles, and personal opinion pieces about the latest trends in the music industry and pop culture. In her free time, you'll probably catch her karaoking, taking public transportation for fun, grabbing a meal at the place that most recently popped up on her Instagram Reels, or at a kpop concert.