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Food and Nutrition

Food for Thought: Building Fast Healthy Meals at Trader Joe’s (Updated!)

Dana Calidonna, RD | Nutrition Specialist
/ July 7, 2022
fast and healthy bowl meal

One of the questions we get asked most often is, how can I make a healthy meal when I don’t have a lot of time? We originally posted this back in 2019 but since Trader Joe’s products are constantly evolving, I thought it was time for an update. Read below to find some quick ideas to create a balanced plate that requires minimal or no cooking. Plus some easy sample meals! 

Building Blocks for Healthy Meals

Quick Proteins 

  • Steamed Lentils
  • Balela (Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad)
  • Chicken Sausage 
  • Just Chicken 
  • Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs
  • Madras Lentils *may not be appropriate for a low sodium diet 
  • Yellow Tadka Dal *may not be appropriate for a low sodium diet 
  • Canned Smoked Salmon 
  • Canned Mackerel 
  • Canned Trout 
  • Canned Mussels 
  • Canned Sardines 
  • Smoked Oysters 
  • Dozen Cousins Mexican Cowboy Pinto Beans
  • Edamame (frozen) 
  • Turkey Burger (frozen)
  • Dr. Prager California Blend veggie burger (frozen)

Quick Starches 

  • Steamed Lentils
  • Balela 
  • Tabbouleh 
  • 10 min Barley or Farro

Quick Fats 

  • Organic Hummus 
  • Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Vegan Kale Cashew Basil Pesto 
  • Herbed Tahini Sauce
  • Avocado’s Number Guacamole To Go Packets 
  • Vegan Buffalo Dip

Quick Veggies

  • Frozen Rainbow Cauliflower or any frozen, plain (no sauce), quick cooking veggie such as spinach or broccoli
  • Spicy Mexican-Style Riced Cauliflower 
  • Riced Cauliflower Stir-fry
  • Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers with Onions 
  • Kohlrabi Pasta
  • Hearts of Palm Pasta
  • Spaghetti Squash Pasta 
  • Bags of veggies such Mixed Greens, Arugula, Kale, Broccoli Slaw, Ready Veggies


  • Greek Style Salad with Chicken 
  • Shrimp Stir-fry (frozen) *skip the seasoning packet and use light soy sauce or coconut aminos 
  • Gochujang Vegetable Stir-fry with Zucchini Spirals
  • Lentil Soup with Ancient grains 
  • Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup 
  • Whole Wheat Low Carb Tortillas 
  • Cauliflower Slims  
  • Organic Marinara Sauce 
  • Spicy Cashew Butter Dressing

Sample Meals

Meal Calories
2 cups Spicy Mexican-Style Riced Cauliflower sauteed with ½ tablespoon olive oil + 2 eggs 300
2 Low Carb Tortillas + ½ cup Mexican Cowboy Beans + ½ bag heated Fire-Roasted Bell Pepper with Onions + ½ guacamole packet + Salsa or Hot sauce 330
Yellow Tadka Dal + 1 cup heated Rainbow Cauliflower 290
3 oz Just Chicken + 2 tablespoons Hummus + Mixed Greens + 2 Cauliflower Slims 290
½ package Spaghetti Squash pasta cooked + ¼ cup Vegan Pesto + ½ cup Edamame 360
1 package Hearts of Palm Pasta + 1 cup Organic Marinara Sauce + 1 Chicken Sausage 270
1 can Smoked Salmon + ½ cup Balela + Arugula 370
½ cup Steamed Lentils + ½ cup Tabbouleh + Kale + 2 tablespoons Spicy Cashew Butter Dressing 310
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