7 Trader Joe’s Frozen Meals That Fit in a Heart-Healthy Diet
Eating for heart health involves sticking to a few basic principles: cutting back on sodium and saturated fat, upping your fruit and vegetable intake, focusing on lean protein, and opting for whole grains, to name a few. Heart-healthy eating patterns like the Mediterranean and DASH diets emphasize choosing whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible to make these tips a reality.
Considering these pointers, you might think heart-healthy frozen meals are a contradiction in terms. And while it’s true that most freezer case dinners are rife with not-so-great ingredients for cardiac health, some can actually support a tip-top cardiovascular system.
If you’re looking for frozen meals that are both convenient and heart-healthy, head to Trader Joe’s! Several of the dinners in their freezer case contain the lean protein, whole grains, and veggies that make up a cardiac-friendly meal plan. As you push around your little red cart, keep your eyes peeled for these Trader Joe’s frozen meals that fit in a heart-healthy diet.
1. Grilled Chicken Strips
Grilled chicken may be a bit of a diet cliché, but there’s a reason why it tops so many experts’ lists of heart-healthy foods. Chicken breast is a lean, high-protein meat–and since grilling doesn’t require fat, it’s the perfect cooking method for lower-fat chicken dinners.
Trader Joe’s pre-grilled chicken strips let you enjoy all the benefits of this protein without firing up the grill. Use these strips as a starter for all sorts of healthy dinners like salads, grain bowls, or whole wheat pasta.
2. Italian Tomato and Red Onion Focaccia
Most frozen pizzas are loaded with saturated fat, not to mention a laundry list of funky additives. Trader Joe’s Italian Tomato and Red Onion Focaccia, on the other hand, contains only about a dozen ingredients (all of which are real foods). And unlike a typical frozen pie, it keeps fat low with just 7 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
3. Bulgur Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Feta Cheese
Whole grains are one of the foundational elements of a heart-healthy diet. But if you’re tired of pasta and rice, try bulgur! It’s an unsung hero of grain, rich in fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium. This Trader Joe’s frozen autumn grain bowl brings together the earthy flavor of butternut squash with tangy feta cheese, served over a bed of bulgur. Each serving contains a modest 17% of your daily sodium value and relatively low fat at 10 grams.
4. Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons
Won tons typically grace the table as an appetizer, but with the right additions (frozen grilled chicken strips and some TJ’s Asian-style frozen veggies, perhaps?) they can easily become a simple meal.
Whereas most frozen Asian meals pack in the salt, Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini Won Tons only provide 6% of the Daily Value of sodium per four-piece serving. Even if you eat two servings as part of a dinner, you’ll only take in 300 milligrams of sodium. You’ll keep fat low, too! Each serving has no saturated fat and only 0.5 grams of total fat.
5. Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers
Cutting back on red meat is generally recommended for heart health—so you might be used to grilling up a meatless burger to support your ticker. But despite their healthy food reputation, veggie burgers aren’t always all that good for your heart. Some are chock-full of sodium and fat and made with low-quality protein.
By choosing TJ’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers, you ensure you’re not filling up on questionable fillers or seriously overdoing it on sodium. Each patty is packed with heart-healthy ingredients like whole grain quinoa, black beans, and a blend of veggies. And total sodium here is just 13% of the Daily Value.
6. Chickenless Crispy Tenders
Have you ditched meat for heart health? You’ve likely made a smart choice. According to the American Heart Association, adopting a plant-based diet at any age may lower cardiovascular risk. Trader Joe’s has your vegetarian lifestyle covered with these chickenless crispy tenders.
These faux meat tenders get their protein from a combination of whole grains and soy. The result: 13 grams of protein in a vegan comfort food package. Low saturated fat (0.5 grams) and 4 grams of fiber make these tenders a welcome topping for salads or filling for wraps.
7. Premium Salmon Burgers
Fatty fish swim to the top of a heart-healthy diet for their high levels of omega-3s. Research shows that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce coronary artery plaque and calm inflammation.
Trader Joe’s frozen Premium Salmon Burgers turn wild Alaskan salmon into a simple weeknight dinner. They’re lightly seasoned already, but feel free to add your favorite condiments. Then enjoy on a whole wheat bun to complete the heart-healthy picture.
Read next: 6 Food Swaps For a Healthier Heart
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