TJ’s freezer section is pretty legendary thanks to the incredible selection and low prices, but to find the healthiest frozen foods at Trader Joe’s? You need a little help.
To be clear, we want to encourage cooking fresh meals whenever you can, but life is busy and having nutritious, frozen, when-all-else-fails options on hand is a great way to avoid bingeing on takeout after an insane day at work.
In fact, the freezer section is often overlooked or underrated when it comes to nutritious potential. We love stocking up on frozen fruits and veggies there, which are generally frozen at their peak ripeness (and are great for smoothies).
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There’s just a few things to watch for if you’re buying frozen meals that are more than a single ingredient: many contain crazy amounts of sodium and sugar, or additives, fillers (like processed soy), and preservatives you just don’t need in your diet.
But Trader Joe’s is already better than most in terms of using clean, whole foods and lots of organic ingredients (although not everything is organic!). To make it even easier for you, we read lots of labels to find some of the store brand’s healthiest options for fast, delicious, healthy dinners (and one dessert, which we couldn’t resist).
Trader Joe’s Healthiest Frozen Foods
1. Organic Superfood Pilaf
This is basically a nutrient-dense quinoa-veggie salad in a bag, with vitamin- and mineral-rich ingredients like sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, garlic, and spices. And there’s nothing extra added, so it’s low in sugar, sodium, and overall calories.
2. Organic Riced Cauliflower
Cauliflower rice is all the rage, but chances are you keep meaning to make it and then…life happens. Buy this organic frozen version to use as a base for all kinds of meals. Its only ingredient is organic cauliflower.
3. Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Buying your omega-3-rich fish frozen guarantees that it will last longer, and it still offers all of the same nutrients you get from buying it fresh. Since Trader Joe’s sells its own brand, it’s also super affordable compared to your local fish market.
4. Channa Masala
For a frozen Indian meal, this dish is surprisingly healthy (with no added sugar and less sodium than most microwave-ready meals). It’s filled with plant-based protein from garbanzos and antioxidant-packed ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and turmeric. Eat it on top of brown rice for added fiber.
5. Greens, Beans and Grains
This is exactly what it sounds like, which is why it’s a pretty solid nutritious meal. Think kale, tomatoes, and chickpeas with some couscous and spices like cumin and cayenne thrown in.
6. Stir-Fry Vegetables
Could making a veggie stir fry get any easier? This mix is filled with pea pods, water chesnuts, carrots, and more, so all you have to do is throw in some protein. And hey, you can serve it on top of that cauliflower rice.
7. Gone Bananas
These are slices of bananas covered in Belgian dark chocolate and frozen. That’s it! They’re a great option for satisfying that sweet tooth after dinner without going overboard, since they’re bite-sized.