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The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

Your Guide to Trader Joe’s Picnic Finds

Trader Joe’s is not only reasonable on a student budget, but has options if you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or have any other need or want under the sun. 
Lily Boland

As the weather gets warmer and we prepare to leave the bitter Boston winters behind us, what better way to welcome in spring than a picnic? When it comes to having the best picnic on a student budget, my go-to for picnic lunches is Trader Joe’s. 

You can buy plenty of picnic foods in advance, like snacks and drinks, and it’s easy enough to buy pre-made salads and sandwiches as you journey over to Boston Common, my favorite place to picnic. Trader Joe’s is not only reasonable on a student budget, but has options if you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or have any other need or want under the sun. 

Something easy and fun to prepare for a picnic is a charcuterie board. There’s an endless supply of cheeses, crackers, meats, and garnishes to create a breathtaking board to share with your picnic group. Trader Joe’s even sells olive wood cutting and serving boards for the most pleasing presentation you could ask for. 

The Best Trader Joe’s Charcuterie Board Supplies: 

1.) Cheese

It’s no secret that Trader Joe’s is where you should go for cheese. If you’re with a group, mini brie bites are a great option to avoid having to bring a cheese knife, and everyone can have their own little brie. My favorite way to serve brie in any form is with jam in the middle. Trader Joe’s has preserves in an endless supply of flavors, but my personal favorite is the fig butter. It’s perfectly sweet and offers a great sweet-and-salty flavor combination. The unexpected cheddar, their most popular cheese, is another solid option – along with creamy goat cheeses that offer savory or sweet varieties for any taste bud. If you’re dairy-free, Trader Joe’s sells dairy-free Boursin cheese and cheddar cheese slices.

2.) Meats

Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of meats for charcuterie boards, including classics like prosciutto, hard salami, and thinner-cut salamis in both mild and spicier flavors. My best recommendation is the gourmet deli selection, which gives you three different options of prosciutto, salami, and capocollo. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, feel free to omit it as the only meat substitutes aren’t the best fit for a charcuterie board, and require cooking beforehand. Perhaps add some grapes or pear slices instead!

3.) Crackers and Garnishes

There is an endless selection of crackers, including naan, everything bagel, multigrain, or classic golden rounds at Trader Joe’s. For some variety, some favorites are the Herbes de Provence, trail mix crackers, and the raisin rosemary crisps. Trader Joe’s also offers mini peanut butter or cheese-filled crackers, and mini cream cheese-filled everything bagel crackers. There’s no shortage of nuts, either – one of my favorite parts of any board. More unique flavors are the chili crunch onion peanuts and buffalo seasoned almonds. To top off any board, the spicy honey offers a sweet and salty flavor to any part of it. You can’t go wrong with their dips to complement the variety of produce, including vegan tzatziki, tapenade, and hummuses. 

4.) Pre-made meals

Trader Joe’s has a ready-made fridge section of sandwiches and salads ready for enjoyment if you aren’t feeling charcuterie. My favorite is the savory, yet sweet Turkey Apple Chicken Sandwich, but meatless options include the Hummus and Vegetable Wrap. Salads and pastas include the orzo pasta salad; the lemon chicken arugula salad offers bright colors and flavors that complement the warm weather perfectly. 

5.) Snacks and Desserts

As someone with a huge sweet tooth, I’m always ready to try the new desserts at Trader Joe’s. To stick with the classics, the Scandinavian Swimmers, licorice trio, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and Joe-Joe cookies offer chocolatey or fruity sweetness. Springle Jangle is their seasonal snack mix, offering bright colors and sweet flavors.

6.) Drinks

While I wouldn’t recommend the flavored milks or protein shakes for a day out, there are kombuchas, cold-pressed juices, lemonades, and a variety of fun drinks for the icing on the cake that creates a great picnic experience. 

Happy picnic-ing!

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About the Contributors
Abigail Meyers
Abigail Meyers, Social Media Editor
Abigail Meyers (2026, she/her) is a sophomore majoring in Journalism with minors in Political Science and Social Media. She has been writing for the Voice since fall of her freshman year and is elated to be joining the editorial team! When she's not in the newsroom, you can find her exploring the city, working out, obsessing over Taylor Swift, or baking something she saw on TikTok.
Lily Boland
Lily Boland, Graphics Editor
Lily Boland (2027, she/her) is majoring in Arts Administration and Communications on the Digital Communications and Design track respectively. She is a member of the Honors program and the Sidelines Magazine team. Outside of student-driven media, she enjoys solving NYT crossword puzzles, exploring museums, and grabbing a cannoli with friends in the North End.

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    MattieApr 13, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    I absolutely love the turkey apple sandwich! You can never go wrong with the Scandinavian Swimmers or peanut butter cups either 🙂