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10 Low-Lift, Fast Trader Joe’s Lunches Nutritionists Love

June 11, 2024

We’ve all been there: It’s a busy day packed with errands, so we grab a quick sandwich from a local takeout spot. We know it’s not always the healthiest choice, but it’s fast and convenient. What if putting together your lunch could be just as easy as grabbing takeout? With salads, soups, and kits that we can throw together in minutes, these healthy, fast Trader Joe’s lunches require little to no effort, are seriously affordable, and are packed with flavor. Bonus: They’re great nutritional choices, too.

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1. Mediterranean Style Salad Kit

Those create-a-salad joints may sound like a good bet for lunch, but they often have long lines, and they’re so pricey. But buying a salad kit filled with all the ingredients you want anyway is just as good, takes nearly as little effort, and costs far less.

“For a complete salad kit, try the Mediterranean Style kit, which includes a good mix of different lettuces with broccoli stalks, celery, some crunchy flatbread strips, feta cheese, and chickpeas,” says Kathryn Bonilla Strickland, RDN.

This is a good choice because this salad packs plenty of vegetables and plant-based protein. If you eat meat, you can up the protein even further by topping it with leftover chicken from last night’s dinner or a can of tuna.

2. Mediterranean Style Orzo Pasta Salad

Pasta salad usually gives us images of a mayo-laden dish at a cookout. But there’s a whole other way to enjoy pasta salads that we find far more delicious and satisfying.

“Made from orzo, feta cheese, onion, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and a blend of spices, this is a great all-around staple that doesn’t require any preparation,” says Jenna Stangland, MS. RD, team dietitian for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Related: 7 Grocery Store Shortcuts for Fast, Easy Lunches

3. Lemony Arugula Basil Salad Kit

Lemony arugula salad kit

If you love the peppery bite of arugula, this salad kit will be your jam. The salad, which also includes carrots and shaved Parmesan cheese, has a bright dressing featuring lemon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots, and Dijon mustard. Top it with your favorite protein and lunch is ready in seconds.

4. Mexican-Style Riced Cauliflower + Turkey Burger

Mexican-style riced cauliflower

Eating a healthy, fast lunch on the go doesn’t mean being left hungry or disappointed. A really filling and satisfying meal is possible, and this combination seriously works.

“Ready-to-eat in just a few minutes with only a microwave needed, this protein-packed, low-sodium, low-fat combination can pair perfectly with another carbohydrate if you so choose,” says Stangland.

5. Cheese-Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce + frozen broccoli

Cheese Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce

Pasta doesn’t have to leave you feeling weighed down or bloated. In fact, it can be a really healthy and delicious option, especially when paired with green vegetables.

“Top this delicious pasta with an extra dose of fiber-rich greens, and you won’t even notice that it was prepared in a microwave,” says Stangland. Choose any green veggies you like in the freezer section: Broccoli, green beans, or one of TJ’s frozen veggie combos.

Related: 17 Best Healthy Freezer Essentials To Have On Hand

6. Tikka Vegetables

“The Tikka Vegetables is an Indian dish with a lower sodium content, 340 milligrams, in half the container — which is 2/3 cup and can be added to frozen brown rice for a more substantial lunch meal,” says Strickland.

Related: 7 Ready-to-Eat Healthy Lunches You Can Grab at Grocery Chains

7. Peanut Udon Noodle Salad + Organic 3 Grain Tempeh

Noodle bowls are always so tempting, but not always the healthiest choice. Fortunately, there’s a healthier version.

“This is the easiest way to get in a beautiful rainbow of vegetables, whole grain noodles, and almost 20 grams of protein — with no meat in sight,” says Stangland.

This tempeh item consists of brown rice, barley, millet, and soybeans, and it’s quite a value, too: It offers multiple servings per package for less than $2.50.

8. Ancient Grains Lentil Soup

trader joes organic lentil vegetable soup“Every time I visit Trader Joe’s, I pick up their Ancient Grains Lentil Soup as a quick lunch option,” says dietitian Cassidy Reeser.

Not only does it taste great, but it’s also a good source of plant-based protein, and it’s made with simple ingredients. “It’s an easy way to include fiber in your diet because one container provides over half the daily recommended fiber for women,” Reeser notes.

Related: The 6 Best Trader Joe’s Soups Worth Buying, Says Dietitian

9. Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup

trader joes kettle cooked chicken soup

There’s nothing like a hearty chicken soup, but many at the grocery store are loaded with sodium and fillers. There’s a good option waiting at Trader Joe’s, however, and it’s also likely to be a few bucks cheaper than a restaurant version.

“This soup can make for a nice, quick lunch, as a one-cup serving is low in fat at 2.5 grams, higher in protein at 13 grams, has a decent amount of potassium at 400 milligrams, and 610 milligrams of sodium — which is a moderate amount in soup, but better than many,” says Strickland.

Just portion out one cup of soup and serve it along with some cut-up vegetables and a whole-grain roll for a filling, easy lunch. Grab a piece of fruit for dessert.

10. Organic Hearty Minestrone Soup

For a quick, healthy plant-based soup option, choose the organic hearty minestrone.

“One cup is packed with vegetables and beans, with a total of only 2 grams of fat, 630 milligrams sodium, and 6% iron content,” says Strickland.

Add a vegetable side like a cucumber salad, a piece of fruit, and a piece of bread for dipping for a quick, filling meal.

Read next: 8 Tasty Trader Joe’s Frozen Meals That Are Dietitian-Approved

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