The 11 Best Frozen Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s Right Now, According to a Nutritionist

published May 2, 2020
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You often hear dietitians and nutritionists tell you to “shop the perimeter” at the grocery store (translation: seek out the fresh, whole foods and skip the packaged, more processed stuff). While that’s solid advice — and it’s definitely come out of my mouth a few times — when it comes to Trader Joe’s, there are many, many reasons to dip into the center aisles. Especially right now, when most of us are trying to get the most out of a single shopping trip. (One super productive trip means fewer future trips, thus more sheltering in place.)

Although TJ’s freezer cases might not be as plentiful as they usually are right now, there are a few things I always recommend people look out for. These healthful finds will help you fill your freezer (fewer future trips to the grocery store), last for a long time (helping you cut back on food waste), and satisfy all the hungry bellies in your household.

If you happen to see any of these during next outing, consider giving them a try.

Credit: Brierley Horton

1. Shakshuka Starter, $1.99 for 9 ounces

Shakshuka for breakfast is not only delicious, but nutrition-wise it’s also a great choice because you’re starting your day with at least one serving of veggies. And most of us fall short on our daily veggie quota, so getting a head start during your morning meal is oh-so-helpful. Note: This breakfast technically serves two and is BYO eggs.

Credit: Brierley Horton

2. Organic Acai Bowl, $3.99 for 10 ounces

The first four ingredients in this bowl are fruit. And although the total ingredient list looks quite long, much of what’s in this bowl is a whole food and quite healthy. Better yet, a single bowl is quite low in added sugar (only 1/2 teaspoon) and packed with fiber, potassium, and iron.

Credit: Brierley Horton

3. Turkey Burger Patties, $2.99 for four

With just three ingredients (turkey, kosher salt, and rosemary extract), these burgers are nice and basic and make for a great addition to a whole-wheat burger bun or English muffin. They also get points for not including too much sodium: 280 milligrams per patty.

Credit: Brierley Horton

4. Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos, $3.99 for 16 ounces

Not only are these a great way to get some fiber (5 grams in a single serving), they’re also incredibly versatile. Keep them on hand for a hearty snack or a family-friendly dinner. You can eat them straight out of the oven or pair them with your favorite Mexican dip. 

Credit: Brierley Horton

5. Shrimp Stir-Fry, $2.99 for 16 ounces

It’s far too common for a stir-fry to be heavy on the sodium. This one, however, isn’t off the charts —1 3/4 cups of stir-fry has 580 milligrams (or 25 percent of your daily limit). It’s also a low-calorie and veggie-packed option.

Credit: Brierley Horton

6. Crushed Garlic, $2.29 for 20

Garlic is always going to be a pantry staple. If you can’t find the fresh stuff right now or you’re worried about it sprouting before you’re able to use it all, consider these frozen crushed cubes. This form of garlic also won Kitchn’s taste test of best fresh garlic substitutes.  

Credit: Brierley Horton

7. Cauliflower Pancakes, $3.99 for 6

Cauliflower’s popularity isn’t waning, and for good reason — it’s a low-carb staple ingredient. If you like cauliflower pizza crust, this is another tasty way to get your cauliflower fill.

Credit: Brierley Horton

8. Organic Brown Rice, $3.79 for 30 ounces

Take this whole grain from your freezer to your plate or bowl in a mere three minutes. (read: between Zoom meetings). You can also pick up the conventional (non-organic) version and save yourself 80 cents. 

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9. Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower, $5.49 for 24 ounces

Here’s another tasty way to get your cauliflower fill. Like the stir-fry, this is another dish that keeps sodium in check: A one-cup serving has 350 milligrams. It’s also low in saturated fat, despite the fact that it’s a tempura. Enjoy this cauliflower as a side, or mix it with your favorite protein and grain to easily turn it into a meal. 

Credit: Brierley Horton

10. Gone Bananas, $1.99 for eight ounces

We can all use a little pick-me-up these days. I love these for grown-ups and children, alike. FYI: The strawberry version is equally as delicious — and also kid-approved. 

Credit: Brierley Horton

11. Chocolate Ice Cream Cones, $2.99 for eight

Perfectly-portioned for little hands or adults looking for a tiny treat, these mini ice cream cones are great for dessert or an indulgent snack. Look for them in vanilla, too. 

What have you been buying from the Trader Joe’s freezer cases lately?