8 Frozen Foods at Trader Joe’s Nutritionists Love to Buy
Even when we’re at our busiest, we do need to eat — and it’s not a great idea to rely on takeout all the time, either for our wallets or our health. One great option is to keep a stock of freezer items that can make an easy, quick meal or snack with less time and effort. And while you can find a lot of great options in the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s, but these tasty choices are nutritionist-approved.
1. Vegan Pasta Bolognese Bowl
This meal has red lentil pasta front and center as the first ingredient, a good alternative to traditional, wheat-based pasta.
“That means it’s the most predominant ingredient by weight in the product,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN. “Most of the ingredients in this dish are simple, real, wholesome foods, and they bring out the flavor of these simple ingredient combos with lots of spices in just the right amount.”
“It provides up to 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per one-cup serving,” London continues. “I also love the umami-filled seasoning they use here, which is made from mushrooms, and the combo of protein-packed lentils and lots of tasty vegetables make it easier to eat plant-based without feeling like you could use a second meal to fill up.”
2. Cauliflower Gnocchi
“The Cauliflower Gnocchi at Trader Joe’s contains high-fiber cauliflower, gluten-free cassava flour, potato starch, extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt,” says Lana Butner, ND, who also loves the sister product, Kale Gnocchi. Butner enjoys gnocchi in several ways, including simply sautéed in a pan with spinach or kale.
“For a crisper crisp texture, this gnocchi can also be popped in the air fryer until golden brown and paired with the sautéed veggies on the side,” says Butner.
To make it a full meal, Butner proposes pairing the gnocchi with a lean protein and a leafy green, such as grilled chicken and spinach.
3. Gone Bananas!
A perfect frozen treat at Trader Joe’s is their Gone Bananas, which are essentially just frozen banana slices coated in dark chocolate. They’re cool, refreshing, and tasty.
“The simple ingredients of frozen fruit and chocolate are a great choice nutritionally, and one of the few desserts you could make a believable claim for being good for you,” says Dan Gallagher, RD of Aegle Nutrition.
4. Premium Salmon Burgers
These frozen salmon burgers are a healthy, satisfying spin on fish cakes and crab cakes, and make for an excellent protein source on top of a fresh green salad.
“I love these salmon burgers because they’re a great way to get a serving of protein and healthy fats,” says Butler. “I like to top mine with spinach, avocado, tomato, and onion, but you could put whatever you want on them.”
5. Chicken Burrito Bowl
This is a great option when you need a quick and easy meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.
“It has everything you need in one bowl: complex carbs, protein in the beans and chicken, and then topped off with nutrient-rich vegetables,” says Butler. “I like to top mine with a little salsa and guacamole for extra flavor.”
You could also add some hot sauce or nutritional yeast for a little extra boost, too.
6. Tofu Scramble with Soy Chorizo
If you’re always in a rush at breakfast, this frozen meal makes a quick, nutrition-packed breakfast a snap, without any cooking.
“It’s a source of plant-based protein (25 grams per meal) and provides key minerals that are critical for muscle and nerve function as well as blood pressure regulation,” says London. “This dish is a good source of calcium and potassium, and an excellent source of iron, making it a go-to plant-based staple for vegans and carnivores alike. Plus, with 5 grams of fiber, I love how this meal is stealthily satiety-promoting, especially compared to typical fiberless frozen breakfast scrambles.”
7. Riced Cauliflower Bowl
Cauliflower gets a ton of attention as the healthier choice for everything, from rice to pasta — it’s basically the starring vegetable alternative. But it’s not always the most filling.
“Cauliflower is an all-star vegetable, but [because] they’re not rice (and cauliflower is a non-starchy veggie, making it super low in calories per serving) they often leave us feeling unsatisfied, no matter how much of it we eat,” says London.
Compared to other cauliflower “rice” products on the market, London loves how this Trader Joe’s frozen food uses both tofu and chickpeas, which adds protein and fiber. The olive oil adds healthy fat, which makes this an even more satisfying meal you can heat and eat in minutes.
8. Frozen Brown Rice
There are a lot of great frozen food options at Trader Joe’s, but a popular favorite among nutritionists is frozen brown rice.
“It’s a quick and easy option that you can have on hand for those nights when you need a base for inspiration or need a quick high-fiber carb to add to your plate,” said Kelsey Butler, RD. “I like to pair it with some leftover grilled chicken or shrimp, steamed veggies, or a salad mix.”