Skip to content

7 Cookout Faves from Trader Joe’s That Dietitians Love

June 22, 2024
Trader Joe's

Summer cookout season is in full swing, and no matter what’s on the menu, Trader Joe’s is a good spot to find what you need. Between the store’s lean protein options and fun side dishes, there’s plenty to choose from. Bonus: There are many items on offer that dietitians love, too. 

Related: Sign up to receive delicious recipes, expert advice, and shopping tips in your inbox!

1. Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken is a great option for summer cookouts whether you’re feeding a large crew or you’re meal prepping for the week. The chicken is spatchcocked (this means it’s butterflied), allowing it to cook more evenly and giving it crispier skin. Even better,  it comes pre-seasoned with lemon and rosemary, so you don’t even have to worry about marinating beforehand. “This chicken is a great source of lean protein, containing approximately 17 grams per serving, which can increase fullness and satiety,” says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT.

Related: 9 Healthy Trader Joe’s Dips and Spreads Nutritionists Love

2. Elote Salad Kit 

Grilled corn is a classic during summer cookouts, and in Mexico, the cobs are slathered with a creamy sauce featuring garlic, chilies, and cotija cheese. That popular street food, elote, is the inspiration for Trader Joe’s Elote Chopped Salad Kit. This blend has a mixed veggie base with scallions, crispy sweet corn kernels, and cornbread with cotija cheese.  “With some fiber, calcium, and potassium in the mix, this is the perfect nourishing side dish to accompany your grilled burgers, brats, and hot dogs,” says registered dietitian Mackenzie Burgess. “Serve the salad alone or add grilled avocado slices for a hit of smokey flavor and healthy fats.” 

3. Sparkling Watermelon Juice

Beverages are an important part of cookouts, and a light and refreshing non-alcoholic option is a must. The Sparkling Watermelon Juice offers crisp carbonation along with a subtle fruity flavor. “The juice is not from concentrate and is made without any added sugars,” says Alyssa Wilson, RD. “A one-can serving is only 60 calories, so it’s a refreshing and low-calorie treat on a hot summer day.”

Related: 5 Low-Calorie Trader Joe’s Snacks We’re Obsessed With

4. Extra Lean Ground Beef

Burgers are classic cookout fare, and you can make flavorful patties out of Trader Joe’s Extra Lean Ground Beef. “Its lean profile aligns well with health-conscious consumers seeking lighter options without sacrificing flavor,” says nutritionist Lisa Richards, author of The Candida Diet. “Its versatility makes it suitable for various recipes, from traditional burgers to flavorful meat skewers or taco fillings.”

5. Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers

If beef isn’t your thing, or you want to offer a variety of burgers to your cookout guests, Trader Joe’s has other options. “I recommend the turkey burgers and Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers for a change from traditional beef burgers,” Wilson says. “You could also pick up mahi mahi or salmon burgers if you want something unexpected for your guests.” 

Related: The Best Trader Joe’s Items for Easy, Healthy Summer Entertaining

6. Veggie Kabobs

Kabobs are a fun way to cook and serve various foods at a cookout. But skewering all the components can be a hassle — instead, lean on Trader Joe’s. “My local TJ’s always has pre-made Veggie Kabobs, which are perfect as a side dish at your next cookout,” Wilson says. “They typically have slices of onions, mushrooms, and peppers.” Marinate the kabobs or brush some vinaigrette on top before grilling.

7. Mexican Style Riced Cauliflower

Mexican Style Riced Cauliflower is a great dish on its own, or a base for other cookout entrees and sides. “Riced cauliflower is one frozen food item I’d recommend time and time again,” says dietitian Trista Best. “Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Riced Cauliflower makes it easy to integrate a delicious rice replacement into your diet. The major benefit of cauliflower rice is its high fiber and low calorie nature. This allows you to add beneficial fiber into your diet without a surge of calories.” Serve it hot or at room temperature as a side, stir it into a cooled cooked grain like wheat berries or farro as a quick grain salad, or spoon it into bell pepper halves and grill. 

Read next: Ranking the 10 Best Trader Joe’s Salad Kits

Good food
people together.
So do
good emails.

What our editors love right now

Good food brings people together.
So do good emails.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden