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The 7 Best Quick Meals at Trader Joe’s, According to Experts

August 11, 2023
Courtesy of Trader Joe's

In a life full of hustle and bustle, it’s hard to find time to cook. Whether it be for dinner that night, meal prep for lunches, or even just grabbing breakfast, eating a nutritious meal seems near impossible at times, and fast food restaurants become our savior. But just because you’re tired or don’t have time to cook an extravagant and healthy meal, doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality. Thankfully, Trader Joe’s understands the issue and is here to help. The store comes full of easy meals that can be done in a pinch. We’ve asked the experts to weigh in on their favorite quick Trader Joe’s meals.

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1. Trader Joe’s Organic Acai Bowl with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, granola, and dried coconut chips

trader joes frozen organic acai bowl

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

An acai bowl can be a deliciously filling breakfast, lunch, and even dessert, so this go-to Trader Joe’s version is making an impression on the

“As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, I have to practice what I preach. As a full-time working mom with a side gig (or two) always begging for my attention, I love finding healthy options for quick and convenient meals; and Trader Joe’s does not disappoint,” says Trish Gomez, RD, CPT and owner of The 5/10/15.

When Gomez looks for quick Trader Joe’s meals, some of the things she looks for is low to moderate amount of sodium per serving, moderate to high protein and fiber content, and appropriate serving sizes. That’s why the Organic Acai Bowl is a top choice.

“This can be thawed overnight in the fridge, or microwaved in less than five minutes,” she explains. “Berries are a great source of anthocyanins; plant chemicals that help protect against cancer and help slow cognitive decline in aging. I would add a half cup of vanilla Greek yogurt as a high protein topper, to keep me full all morning.”

According to Gomez, the bowl topped with Greek yogurt comes in at 354 calories, 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and 40 grams of sodium, only costing around $4.00.

2. Trader Joe’s Frozen Chicken Burrito Bowl with half an avocado

Trader Joe’s Frozen Chicken Burrito Bowl

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

Frozen meals are quick and can be cooked in a pinch, but according to Robin Holliday, MS, CN, there are a few reasons why this quick Trader Joe’s meal combination is a winner.

“The dinner itself has 9 grams of fiber from black beans, vegetables, and whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa,” Holliday says. “Adding half of an avocado from the produce section will add another 6-7 grams of fiber.”

This winning combination accounts for 60% of the daily recommended amount of fiber for women and 40% for men, which according to Holliday, keeps one’s blood sugar and hunger in check.

“Additionally, the meal contains 22 grams of protein which will not only fuel your body but will create a sense of feeling full after enjoying this meal,” Holliday adds. “Finally, this meal doesn’t contain any added sugars, which is rare to find in packaged foods.”

3. Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice with a fried egg and hot pepper sauce

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice with a fried egg and hot pepper sauce

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

While quick meals should do the job of feeding you in a fast manner, it’s also important to make sure you’re eating nutritious food in the process. Stacey Wood, RDN, author of the ebook Your Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthy from Trader Joe’s, emphasizes the importance of eating your vegetables.

“I’m always suggesting five to six servings of vegetables per day, which many people are not even getting half of and just get tired of trying to create meals with added veggies,” says Wood.

That’s why Wood’s top pick is Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice. This quick meal is easy to heat up, convenient to make, and provides a great selection of vegetable-based meals that taste delicious. The addition of a fried egg provides protein, and the hot pepper sauce gives a nice kick for some extra flavor.

4. Trader Joe’s Frozen Shrimp Seafood Burgers

Trader Joe’s Frozen Shrimp Seafood Burger on a salad

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

Change up your quick Trader Joe’s meals with a unique take on a burger that is easy to cook without much hassle, clocking in at about ten minutes in a pan.

“Seafood contains a high amount of protein per total calorie – which is great when your goal is fat loss and/or muscle gain,” says Gomez. “I love Trader Joe’s Frozen Shrimp Seafood Burgers on a high protein, whole grain bun, with lettuce, pickle, tomato, and avocado slices. Top it with a dash of remoulade sauce for a healthy version of the classic shrimp po’boy sandwich.”

You could even use them for an easy salad! At 90 calories, 13 grams of protein, and approximately $1.00 per burger, how can you go wrong?

5. Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl

Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Bowl in a wrap

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will enjoy the Riced Cauliflower Bowl packed with tofu, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and onions.

“This is perfect for a quick plant-based meal,” says Stephanie Wells, MS, RD. “One container provides 13 grams of protein from the marinated chickpeas and tofu, complex carbohydrates from sweet potato, and is packed with additional veggies in the form of cauliflower rice and roasted onions”

To zest things up, the bowl comes with a creamy tahini dressing which, according to Wells, balances everything out by adding a source of healthy fat.

“As a 100% plant-based meal, this bowl is packed with anti-inflammatory dietary fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols,” says Wells. “I love this bowl paired with a piece of fruit for a light lunch or paired with a whole grain pita for a hearty dinner. You can even add extra tofu from your fridge or cooked-from-frozen edamame for an additional protein boost.”

6. Frozen Terryiaki Chicken Bowl

Frozen Terryiaki Chicken Bowl

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

Microwaveable meals can be a blessing in disguise, as they take minimal effort and time.

“The frozen Teriyaki Chicken Bowl from the grocery is my go-to quick lunch,” says Anastasios “Taso” Mikroulis, NASM Accredited Personal Trainer and ACE Personal Trainer Certified, Co-Founder/Clinic Director at Aion Aesthetics, Founder/Health Coach at Ideal Health Center. “It’s excellent for a healthy diet because it’s heavy in protein and low in fat. It’s also really quick and simple to prepare; all you need to do is microwave it.”

Not only does Mikroulis call it a “fantastic lunch,” but it’s also reasonably priced, making it a terrific choice for those on a tight budget. Furthermore, Mikroulis says that with just a few ingredients like juicy chicken, tasty teriyaki sauce, and fresh vegetables, you can make a whole dinner.

“Overall, the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl from Trader Joe’s is one of the store’s best quick dinners,” he says.

7. Trader Joe’s Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala

Trader Joe’s Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala

Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

If you want to spice up your quick Trader Joe’s meals, the Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala will give you some cultural delight in minutes…five minutes in the microwave to be exact.

“The warming spices in the sauce are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds,” says Gomez. “Add in a cup of microwaved frozen green peas to make this a filling, high protein, high fiber, nutritious meal.”

The cost is about $3.50 per serving and with the addition of a cup of peas contains 425 calories, 24 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber.

Read next: I Tried a Trader Joe’s Inspired Cookbook and These Were My Favorite Recipes

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