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11 Best Seafood Picks at Trader Joe’s, According to RDs

June 19, 2024
Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s is one of our favorite shopping destinations; it’s a fantastic place to pick up, well, everything. From Mediterranean diet foods to frozen meals, dips, snacks, produce — the store has it all, and it’s easy on the wallet, so it’s always a win win. So it’s no surprise that it’s also a great source of some seriously healthy and delicious seafood options. We asked dietitians to share the seafood items they always toss into their carts at Trader Joe’s.

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1. Salmon Burgers 

A burger is a popular go-to for dinner, and a salmon burger is a creative and satisfying variation.  “Trader Joe’s Salmon Burgers have just 100 calories with 15 grams of protein and 100% of the daily recommendation for vitamin D. Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help support heart health,” said Mackenzie Burgess, RDN. Try grilling or pan-frying salmon burgers and serving on a bed of greens or pairing with sweet potato fries.

2. Wild Alaskan Salmon Filets

Wild salmon is a super-healthy option that can get spendy, but Trader Joe’s offers it at more affordable prices. “I’m a big Trader Joe’s fan, especially since moving to the ‘burbs,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Everyday Snack Tray. “My personal go-to is the Wild Alaskan Salmon Filets in both the refrigerated and frozen sections. They’re easy to throw on the grill or stove with some olive oil and seasoning of choice — even directly from frozen. And wild sockeye provides inflammation-fighting omega-3s and more vitamin D than any other type of salmon. I love that TJ’s offers it at an affordable price point for my family of five.” 

Dietitian and diabetes education specialist Caroline Thomason agrees. “They’re a low-prep option, as you can cook them straight from frozen,” she says. “Plus, I like to look for Alaskan sourcing on packaging to ensure the seafood is wild and sustainable. Wild sockeye from Alaska has the highest vitamin D content among salmon, boosting immune health and providing anti-inflammatory omega-3s.”

3. Gluten-Free Breaded Shrimp

If hosting a cookout or dinner party, appetizers are very important. Get the party started with Gluten-Free Breaded Shrimp, or serve them as an entree. “My favorite seafood item at Trader Joe’s is the Gluten-Free Breaded Shrimp,” says Megan Huff, RD. “It’s coated with coconut flour and is perfect for salads and tacos. All you have to do is air fry it or heat it up on the stove top. One serving has 7 grams of protein and just 13 grams of carbs.” 

4. Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp 

Wild shrimp is convenient to keep in the freezer for salads, scampi, or tacos, since it defrosts easily and cooks in minutes. “I always keep a few packages of frozen Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp  from Trader Joe’s on hand,” says dietitian Kristi Ruth. “They’re a good protein source and contain various vitamins and minerals. They contain almost 2.5 grams of protein per shrimp. I like to season it with a chili lime seasoning blend and serve it on top of a Southwest Chopped Salad for a light meal.”

Thomason also reaches for the shrimp when shopping at Trader Joe’s. “Their Argentinian shrimp is incredible. Think jumbo shrimp, but extra buttery,” she says. “Shrimp is a low-calorie, high-protein seafood option that pairs perfectly on top of salad, pasta, or as the main event like grilled kabobs.”

5. Mini Shrimp Bao Buns

If you’re looking for a fun and delicious bite-sized appetizer, these Mini Shrimp Bao Buns are the perfect choice. “They can be made in just one minute right in the microwave, and provide a good source of lean protein, omega-3s, and fiber, thanks to the additional vegetables including carrots and cucumber,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet.

6. Sea Scallops

Trader Joe’s frozen Sea Scallops feel luxurious, but they’re also really simple as a healthy seafood option. To prepare them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, lightly season, and then pan-sear, broil, or throw on the grill. “This delicious dish provides a good source of lean protein along with omega-3 fatty acids, with little sodium (depending how you choose to prepare them),” says Palinski-Wade.

7. Seafood Boil

Trader Joe’s spicy Seafood Boil makes it easy to enjoy a Cajun dish without all the work. “The combination of clams, shrimp, and tilapia add a source of lean protein and omega-3s, while the mini potatoes and corn provide a boost of fiber and antioxidants,” says Palinski-Wade. This item isn’t available all the time, so when you see it, grab it.

8. Wild Caught Cod Fillets

The Wild Caught Cod Fillets from TJ’s are delicious grilled, baked, pan-fried, or even air fried. “I’m a big fan of keeping frozen cod fillets on hand for a quick, protein-packed meal anytime. Cod is a high-quality protein, low in calories while still providing a good source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids,” says Palinski-Wade. 

9. Seafood Paella 

If you’ve ever had authentic seafood paella, either in Spain or at a Spanish restaurant, you know how delicious it is. But it’s pretty difficult to make at home. Thankfully, the Trader Joe’s frozen Seafood Paella does all the heavy lifting for you. “This Spanish seafood dish is a favorite of my patients,” says Kylie Bensley, MS, RD. “This blend of seafood offers an array of amino acid profiles: shrimp, mussels — one of the most iron-rich foods you can eat — and peppers, which are loaded with vitamin C that can readily absorb the iron in the mussels.”

10. Sardines 

Sardines are one of the most nutrient dense types of seafood you can consume — and if you’re pregnant, even better,” Bensley says. “Sardines are a low-mercury food and recommended for pregnant or [trying-to-conceive] couples. Sardines are loaded with healthy fats and iron. Besides clams and mussels, these are the most iron rich foods to eat.” Also, sardines are rich in omega-3 fats, and you can enjoy them hot or cold, she adds. “One serving of these sardines boasts 60% of your vitamin D and 15 grams of protein,” says Bensley. TJ’s sardines pair well with the Avocado Ranch Salad Kit.

11. Crispy Battered Calamari 

You may be surprised to find what’s typically greasy fried bar food on this list, but Trader Joe’s works some magic with its Crispy Battered Calamari. One serving, which is 3 ounces or about 10 pieces, was “lower in carbs than I expected at 14 grams, high in protein at 10 grams per serving, lower in sodium than expected at 400 miligrams per serving, and contained 20% of the daily need for vitamin D,” Bensley says. “This dish has only 2 grams of saturated fat and can be air fried. Calamari is also rich in numerous vitamins and minerals such as B12, copper, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.” 

Read next: The Healthy Trader Joe’s Shopping List You Need

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