8 Best Trader Joe’s Frozen Dinners Nutritionists Actually Stock Up On
Frozen dinners are the ultimate time-saver. They’re perfect for evenings when you’re low on time and energy or just don’t have the motivation to whip up a homemade meal. Although it’s easy to associate frozen food options with old-school, limited-choice TV dinners traditionally made with items like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, there’s actually a whole world of frozen dinner dishes available right at your local Trader Joe’s. These tasty Trader Joe’s frozen dinners run the gamut and include everything from quesadillas and chicken teriyaki to steak pies, palak paneer, and more.
If you’ve visited Trader Joe’s before, you may already be familiar with its massive frozen food section — the supermarket has seemingly endless options. Because of this, we tapped a few nutritionists who shared their top recommendations for what Trader Joe’s frozen dinners are worth picking up during your next visit. From tasty chicken burrito bowls packed with protein and veggies to a cauliflower gnocchi option you can whip up in mere minutes, use the following to help guide you during your next frozen food endeavor.
1. Chicken Burrito Bowl
Alyssa Pacheco, RD recommends the Trader Joe’s frozen Chicken Burrito Bowl if you want a “delicious, all-in-one dinner option” with some “impressive nutritional value.” “Each frozen dinner will give you 9 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied,” Pacheco shares. Clocking in at just 370 calories per bowl, this tasty dish is made with brown rice, white meat chicken, black beans, red and green peppers, corn, and cheddar cheese.
2. Vegetable Fried Rice
“This fried rice is surprisingly a well-balanced meal,” explains Lauren Mahesri, RDN, LD. For starters, it is packed with fiber from the vegetables, healthy fat from the sesame oil, and protein from the edamame, Mahesri mentions. Even better? Each bag comes with three servings, meaning you’ll get the most bang for your buck. “To add even more protein, fry an egg on top or some grilled chicken,” Mahesri suggests.
3. Frozen Grilled Chicken Strips & Frozen Asian Style Vegetables with Stir-Fry Sauce
Alex Oskian, MS, RDN, a nutrition coach at Working Against Gravity, likes to combine two popular Trader Joe’s frozen dinners — Frozen Grilled Chicken Strips and Frozen Asian-Style Vegetables with Stir-Fry Sauce — to create a meal you’ll want to make over and over again.
“Grilled chicken strips added to frozen Asian-style vegetables will be the quickest way to curb a craving for Chinese food without going straight to your food delivery app,” Oskian says. She also notes that this is a versatile dish you can customize easily. “This pairing can fit so many dietary preferences — high protein, low carb, or low fat. It also acts as a base that you can personalize further,” she explains. For instance, you can add more rice if you need more carbs or throw in some avocado for extra fat.
4. Mini Chicken Tacos
Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, and MyFitnessPal, in-house dietitian, suggests these mini chicken tacos from Trader Joe’s if you want a delicious meal in minutes. She points out that these are made with a “crispy shell, juicy chicken, and a little kick of verde sauce.”
What’s more? Four tacos have 11 grams of protein and only one gram of sugar — which may be healthier than popular takeout taco chains. “Complete the meal with fresh salsa, sliced avocado, and some black beans or green salad,” suggests Basbaum.
5. Sriracha Shrimp Bowl
If you’re looking for a Trader Joe’s frozen dinner with seafood in it, this shrimp-filled one hits the spot. Mahesri mentions that the supermarket chain’s Sriracha Shrimp Bowl is another excellent low-calorie dinner option. Crafted with a blend of red and brown rice, broccoli, baby corn, and red peppers, this easy-to-make dish doesn’t skimp on taste.
“The shrimp provides an excellent 15 grams of protein and is low in saturated fat to prevent high cholesterol,” Mahesri explains. “The variety of vegetables and brown rice also gives it an extra benefit of fiber.”
6. Cauliflower Gnocchi
Homemade gnocchi can often be tricky and time-consuming to make. The good news? This Trader Joe’s option can be whipped up in mere minutes. It’s also free from wheat, sugar, dairy, and eggs, making it an excellent choice for those with dietary restrictions or who may want to try something new. “This cauliflower gnocchi saves time and adds an amazing amount of fiber — 6 grams!” Mahesri adds.
This tasty frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi is also perfect for evenings when you feel like pasta but want something with more substance. “This is a staple!” Mahesri says. Enough for about 2.5 servings, this popular product is a great and easy way to switch things up and allows you to take a break from dried, boxed pasta options.
7. Korean Beefless Bulgogi
Another favorite of Oskian’s is this Korean meatless Bulgogi that features delicious ingredients like soy sauce, pear puree, ginger, and garlic. “If meat isn’t on your menu, Trader Joe’s has you covered,” she shares. “This meal is made with 100% beefless textured soy protein and would go beautifully with a side of white rice or your favorite frozen veggies.”
She points out that this freezer meal option has three suggested servings at 230 calories with 11 grams of fat, 15 grams of total carbs, and 16 grams of vegetarian protein. “You could easily make this option into two meals — one for dinner and the other for leftover lunch the next day. Win-win!” she adds.
8. Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice
Basbaum recommends trying out the frozen butter chicken with basmati rice from Trader Joe’s if you’re in the mood for Indian food with fewer calories, fat, and sodium. Made with juicy chicken, crushed tomatoes, and plenty of spices, including paprika and turmeric, she shares that this tasty meal “packs a protein punch” with 21 grams of protein. “I recommend adding a side of naan bread to soak up the sauce,” Basbaum adds.
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