The 26 Best and Worst Frozen Foods at Trader Joe’s

Freeze! Don’t buy anything from the Trader Joe’s frozen section until you’ve read up on the best and worst it has to offer.

The 26 Best and Worst Frozen Foods at Trader Joe’s

Freeze! Don’t buy anything from the Trader Joe’s frozen section until you’ve read up on the best and worst it has to offer.

Even though Trader Joe’s is known for its healthy options, there are still some freezer aisle staples that you need to give the cold shoulder. A cookie butter cheesecake may seem like an obvious red flag, but other products sneak under the radar with words like “organic,” “spinach,” or “chicken” when they’re secretly loaded with more sodium and fat than you want in one meal. Likewise, there are some waist-friendly treats that are as delicious as they are healthy.

Even though the frozen section can be hit or miss, we’ve compiled a list that will help you navigate it with confidence. Use The 46 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever while you’re there to make your trip to TJ’s even better.

First… The Worst


1

Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake

trader joes speculoos cookie butter cheesecake

Per 1/6 cake (106 g): 410 calories, 45 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (0 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 4 g protein

Sorry, sweet tooth. This is a tasty treat you’re just going to have to say no to. By sandwiching a cheesecake between two layers of Speculoos — cookie crumbs on the bottom and cookie butter on the top — Trader Joe’s has crafted a dessert that will cost you 70 percent of your recommended daily value of saturated fat, as well as set you back 25 grams of sugar. And that’s if you’ve got the willpower to stick to just one slice, unless you want to try out our 9 No -Sacrifice Ways To Bounce Back After A Binge.

$6.99 at most stores

2

Steak & Stout Pies

trader joes steak and ale pie

Per 1 pie (283 g): 800 calories, 46 g fat (25 g saturated fat), 1,180 mg sodium, 64 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 34 g protein

This pie may be created for dinner, but it packs more punch than a dessert. It clocks in at 800 calories, which is more than you’d get from three McDonald’s apple pies! So don’t be fooled by the promise of golden potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and mushrooms waiting inside. Despite all the veggies, this is still a butter pastry bursting with beef, gravy, and half your daily dose of sodium and fat.

$6.49 at most stores.

3

Puff Dogs

trader joes puff dogs

Per 1 dog (89 g): 270 calories, 19 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 8 g protein

At first glance, the nutrition label on this one doesn’t seem too bad. While the fat content is higher than we’d like it to be, it’s under 300 calories with a decent amount of protein. But let’s be honest. Eating one of these isn’t going to fill you up, so you’ll end up adding at least one more pastry-encased hot dog to your plate, not to mention some dipping sauce, and the calories will skyrocket before you know it.

$6.49 at most stores.

4

Golden Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

trader joes golden caramel swirl ice cream

Per ½ cup (200 g): 260 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (>1 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 3 g protein

There are rumors going around that this golden caramel swirl ice cream is seriously devoid of caramel, but that’s the least of your worries. Even if this french vanilla and chocolate combo has a misleading name, its nutrition label doesn’t lie. There are eight servings in one carton, each of which contains more calories, fat, and sugar than we can justify with so many delish diet ice creams on the rise.

$4.49 at most stores.

5

Wood Fired Naples Style Uncured Pepperoni Pizza

trader joes wood fired naples style uncured pepperoni pizza

Per ⅓ pizza (144 g): 390 calories, 19 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 840 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 16 g protein

Trader Joe’s freezer aisle strikes again with another fatty frozen food. We love that this four-cheese pizza is made from wheat flour and topped with uncured pepperoni, but our list of pros stops there. Even if you split this with a couple friends, you’re looking at ingesting almost 400 calories and 1,000 milligrams of sodium, not to mention 40 grams of carbs. While this might be better than some of the greasy slices at popular chains, that doesn’t mean we approve.

$4.99 at most stores.

6

Mandarin Orange Chicken

trader joes mandarin orange chicken

Per 1 cup (140 g): 320 calories, 16 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 21 g protein

Once upon a time, shoppers thought this was a healthy frozen find. But then Trader Joe’s remembered that their nutrition label should actually include the sauce that sets this orange chicken apart from just plain chicken. Bye-bye, guilt-free Chinese. Hello, 16 grams of fat.

$4.99 at most stores.

7

Pepperoni Pizza Mac And Cheese Bowls

trader joes pepperoni pizza mac and cheese bowls

Per ½ container (170 g): 290 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 14 g protein

If you thought something was missing the last time you had a bite of mac and cheese, maybe it was a slice of pepperoni. With this microwaveable meal, Trader Joe’s combines two fan favorites — pizza and macaroni. Multiply the nutritionals by two and you’ve got yourself a bowl with about as much fat as protein and more sodium than we know what to do with. Maybe it’s time to rethink this combo, or at least rethink its place in your shopping cart.

$2.99 at most stores.

8

Chicken & Vegetable Wonton Soup

trader joes chicken and vegetable wonton soup

Per 1 bowl (305 g): 220 calories, 3.5 g fat >1 g saturated fat), 1,060 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 11 g protein

What could possibly be wrong with a bowl of soup comprised of chicken and vegetables? It sure sounds healthy enough and a quick glance at the nutrition label will only reassure you that it is… until you reach the sodium content. Eating this means spooning up more than 1,000 milligrams of salt and for every extra gram you eat a day, your obesity risk is raised 25 percent, according to a Queen Mary University study. So don’t let this much sneak by you.

$2.29 at most stores.

9

Shells With Brie And Asparagus

trader joes shells brie asparagus

*Per 1/2 package (184 g): 340 calories, 20 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 11 g protein

If you’re looking to knock out an entire day’s worth of saturated fat in one sitting, just microwave this package of shells and eat both servings. With its rich, creamy sauce and an extra slice of Brie laid on top, Trader Joe’s refers to this pasta dish as “upscale macaroni,” and they’re sort of right — it won’t bring the number on your scale down, that’s for sure.

$3.69 at most stores.

10

Breaded Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

trader joes breaded mozzarella cheese sticks

Per 2 pieces (51 g): 190 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

When it comes to mozzarella, you’re much better off eating it in string cheese form instead of seasoned in panko bread crumbs. Trader Joe’s sells both options, but if you opt out of these frozen sticks, string cheese will give you just as much protein while cutting down heavily on calories and carbs.

$3.99 at most stores.

11

Mudd Pie

trader joes mudd pie

Per 1/6th pie (99 g): 320 calories, 18 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 4 g protein

There are a lot of sweet desserts who call the TJ’s frozen section home, but we decided this one took the cake with its chocolate cookie crumb crust, fudge lining, coffee ice cream, chocolate drizzle, and fudge rosettes. An ingredients list like that leads to 27 grams of sugar in every serving, and it’s no secret that consuming high doses of the sweet stuff has been linked to health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. No slice of pie, regardless of how rich and moist it is, is worth that.

$6.49 at most stores.

12

Grass Fed Angus Beef Burgers

trader joes grass fed angus beef burgers

Per 1 patty (113 g): 290 calories, 23 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 19 g protein

Grass-fed beef is one of our 29 Best High-Protein Foods For Weight Loss, but for being 80 percent lean, these patties are full of fat. Not to mention, they’re probably just one of many ingredients that will go into the burger you’re making. So why not load up on some of the other frozen options? Trader Joe’s turkey patties have half the fat, while the salmon ones have even less.

$5.99 at most stores.

13

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche

trader joes broccoli cheddar cheese quiche

Per 1 quiche (170 g): 460 calories, 30 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 910 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein

If we can’t convince you to walk away from this quiche, at least make sure you share it — with multiple people. There’s no other way to consume this fluffy, flavorful dish without overloading on calories, fat, and sodium.

$2.29 at most stores.

Now… The Best


1

Unsweetened Organic Acai Puree Packets

trader joes organic acai puree packets

Per 1 pack (100 g): 80 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein

It’s hard to find an acai smoothie or bowl that isn’t packed with sugar. The Primo Bowl at Jamba Juice, for example, has 67 grams of the sweet stuff, which is why we’re so glad Trader Joe’s has started selling these unsweetened puree packs. You can take control of your acai intake with the same great taste and far less sugar, whether you’re mixing one of these with coconut milk for your own bowl or adding it to Greek yogurt. Thanks to the low calorie count in each pack, you can have fun choosing toppings!

$4.49 at most stores.

2

Seafood Paella

trader joes seafood paella

Per 1.5 cups (213 g): 220 calories, 4.5 g fat (>1 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (3 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 13 g protein

For only five bucks, you can walk out of Trader Joe’s with a frozen bag of paella that’s 32 percent seafood. The rest is made up of rice and spices, creating a tasty meal that’s low in calories and high in protein. We especially love that some of the featured fish include shrimp and mussels. Shrimp are high in B12 and selenium, which are great for a healthy metabolism, and mussels are one of the lowest calorie proteins.

$4.99 at most stores.

3

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

trader joes cauliflower pizza crust

Per 1/6 crust (50 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 1 g protein

This new Trader Joe’s product sells out quickly every morning at most locations, so act fast! Whether you’re gluten-free or just looking to cut carbs, you should stock up on this pizza crust. With nutty, riced cauliflower and corn flour serving as its base, each slice is under 100 calories. And since there’s no fat and less than one gram of sugar, you can pile on the toppings without piling on the pounds.

$3.99 at most stores.

4

Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers With Mango Chutney

traders joes grilled jerk chicken thigh skewers mango chutney

Per 2 skewers (100 g): 170 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 670 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (1 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 19 g protein

While we admit plain skewers would be a better choice than grilled chicken that’s seasoned and glazed, this jerk chicken doesn’t sacrifice too much sugar or fat for a stronger flavor. Besides the taste of black pepper, chili, peaches, and oranges, the package comes with a mango chutney that you can drizzle on top. If one serving doesn’t fill you up, you can complement all these tangy flavors with a healthy, satiating side like organic brown rice.

$5.49 at most stores.

5

Canneles De Bordeaux

trader joes canneles de bordeaux

Per 1 cannele (51 g): 120 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 2 g protein

If you didn’t think you’d find any frozen desserts on this side of the list, think again. These canneles, which have a chewy caramelized exterior on the outside and a custard-like texture on the inside, are made up of recognizable ingredients you can pronounce. When it comes to the sweet stuff, it’s rare to find an option that’s this low in calories, fat, and sodium, so stock up and treat yourself.

$3.99 at most stores.

6

Organic Mixed Berry Blend

trader joes organic mixed berry blend

Per 3/4 cup (140 g): 80 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein

Don’t let the colorful produce section in the front of the store distract you from the variety of fruit hiding in Trader Joe’s frozen section. With a mixed blend like this one, you can go home with a variety of berries for less than four dollars. They’re organic, pesticide-free, and the perfect addition to oatmeal, smoothies, or Greek yogurt.

$3.49 at most stores.

7

Mango Salsa

trader joes mango salsa

Per 2 tbsp (30 g): 20 calories, <1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

This salsa may be sweet, but thanks to some jalapeno peppers, it’s got a bite. We love incorporating spicy peppers like this into our diet because they can speed up metabolism, so don’t miss out on TJ’s mango salsa just because it’s hiding in the frozen section. Combine this low-fat, low-cal dip with one of the healthy tortilla chip options a couple aisles over, and you’ve got a snack you can feel good about.

$2.99 at most stores.

8

Steelcut Oatmeal

trader joes steelcut oatmeal

Per 1 package (227 g): 150 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 5 g protein

Breakfast doesn’t get much easier than this. Much like salsa, steelcut oatmeal may not be on your mind when you’re perusing the freezer aisle, but keep an eye out for this package. Each serving is set apart so you can have a hot bowl of porridge in front of you after just three microwaveable minutes. Don’t miss out on all the toppings Trader Joe’s has to offer throughout the rest of the store. We recommend a spoonful of natural peanut butter or handful of fresh (or frozen!) berries.

$1.69 at most stores.

9

Shiitake Mushroom Chicken

trader joes shiitake mushroom chicken

Per 1 cup (150 g): 180 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 20 g protein

If you’re mourning the loss of orange chicken in your freezer now that you’ve seen its nutrition label, satisfy your craving for Chinese with this dish instead. Green beans and edamame are sprinkled throughout dark-meat chicken and mushroom caps, which all adds up to a high-protein meal that’s loaded with healthy veggies. And even though it’s mixed with a ginger-soy sauce, the calorie count and sodium content remain low.

$4.99 at most stores.

10

Organic Kabocha Squash

trader joes organic kabocha squash

Per 2/3 cup (85 g): 30 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), <1 g protein

Pumpkin season is arguably the best time to shop at Trader Joe’s, but you don’t have to wait for fall to pick up some yummy squash. Head to the frozen section for a bag of kabocha, which has 90 percent of your daily dose of Vitamin A. You can reap all the benefits that come from this vitamin — bone strength, tissue growth and repair — without putting in any effort. TJ’s has already peeled and cut the squash for you!

$2.69 at most stores.

11

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

trader joes chile lime chicken burgers

Per 1 burger (114 g): 150 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 310 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 19 g protein

We told you there were better burger options. Swap your beloved beef patty for chicken that’s got 6 grams of fat and 19 grams of protein. And if you’re worried that a food this healthy can’t possibly taste good, give this patty a chance! It’s made up of more than just chicken; it’s got onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Looks like your BBQ just got a much-needed makeover.

3.49 at most stores.

12

Organic Superfood Pilaf

trader joes organic superfood pilaf

Per 1 cup (160 g): 160 calories, 5 g fat (<1 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 5 protein

Tri-color quinoa, sweet potatoes, kale, and carrots teamed up in this new superfood pilaf. You won’t just love seeing this colorful concoction on your plate, but you’ll love its effect on your body. These organic ingredients are packed with vitamins, and one serving of the stuff will only set you back 160 calories. If that’s not super, we don’t know what is.

$3.99 at most stores.

13

Chicken Burrito Bowl

trader joes chicken burrito bowl

Per 1 bowl (330 g): 380 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (10 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 22 g protein

What’s not to love about a bowl of seasoned chicken, brown rice, red quinoa, black beans, corn, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese with smoky Chipotle sauce and a ton of protein? With a whopping 22 grams in each bowl, this microwaveable meal fits right into the range of Exactly How Much Protein You Need After A Workout, so head straight from the gym to the kitchen table with this easily prepared dish.

$3.49 at most stores.