Trader Joe's 16 Best High-Protein Foods
Every fan of Trader Joe's has their ride-or-die items. Whether it's the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, Vegan Pesto, Mandarin Chicken, Cauliflower Gnocci, or "Two-Buck Chuck", there will always be the TJ classics we know we can't live without. But loyal Trader Joe's shoppers know that beyond the fun classics, you can also find your everyday necessities. For instance, if you're looking to add more protein to your diet, there are plenty of helpful high-protein foods to buy at Trader Joe's.
It can be hard to get enough protein during the day, but it's necessary for our overall health. For starters, you need protein for bone health, as well as building more muscle strength and maintaining muscle health. Protein also helps with healthy weight loss by regulating feelings of hunger and satiety, as well as improving metabolism.
But how much protein is "enough?" Your protein requirements depend on multiple factors like your age, level of physical activity, etc., so there isn't one set number for people to aim toward. Harvard Health says that a good place to start would be 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. However, this is just a starting point and the bare minimum intake, so talk with your doctor or dietitian about the goals you can set.
You can meet your protein requirements with food, so buying more high-protein foods that you enjoy eating will help make sure you're getting enough throughout the day. Read on to learn about some dietitian-recommended options from Trader Joe's, and for more healthy eating tips, check out the 28 Best High-Protein Store-Bought Snacks.
Just Chicken Strips
When you need a quick meal or snack but want to make sure you're getting enough protein, pre-made chicken strips like the Just Chicken from Trader Joe's are the way to go.
"With an impressive 24 grams of protein per serving, these fully cooked and ready-to-eat chicken strips can be a game changer for your salads, wraps, or simply as a high-protein snack on the go," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN. "Their versatility and convenience make them a perfect choice for those busy days when you still want to ensure a healthy, protein-rich intake."
Orgain Organic Protein Powder
When you need a quick boost of protein, you can't beat the convenience of a classic protein powder, and Trader Joe's sells Orgain Organic Protein Powder, a delicious plant-based protein source.
"For those who prefer plant-based protein, Orgain Orgain Protein is a must-try," says Manaker. "Each serving delivers an outstanding 21 grams of protein, making it an excellent supplement for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, or anyone looking to up their protein intake."
Manaker adds "It blends well in smoothies, shakes, or even your morning oatmeal, providing a quick and easy protein boost to start your day."
Cage-Free Fresh Hard-Cooked Eggs
What could be easier than having pre-cooked, pre-shelled eggs on hand? "These hard-cooked eggs, like all eggs, are a source of high-quality protein, iodine, choline, and a slew of other key nutrients," says Manaker.
Because of their nutritional value and convenience, Manaker believes "These eggs are great to have on hand when mornings get too busy to cook but you need a boost of protein."
Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt
"Trader Joe's Non-fat Greek Yogurt is a healthy high-protein choice because it provides a substantial amount of protein (17 grams per portion) while being low in calories (only 110 calories per portion)," says Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD. "This makes it an excellent option for those looking to increase their protein intake without significantly increasing their calorie consumption, supporting weight management and overall nutrition goals."
Manaker agrees that Trader Joe's yogurt is the way to go when you need a protein-packed snack, and says "This creamy and delicious yogurt can be enjoyed alone, with fruit and nuts for added fiber, or used as a healthier alternative to sour cream in various recipes."
Trader Joe's Organic Tofu
For a nutritious plant-based protein source, tofu is the way to go. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids your body can't produce on its own but needs to make proteins. Most complete proteins come from animal products, so there are only a few plant-based complete sources of protein, including tofu, edamame, tempeh, and pistachios.
"Trader Joe's Organic Tofu is a good high-protein choice because it provides 8 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving while being relatively low in calories (just 70 calories)," says Manaker. "This makes it an efficient way to meet your protein needs without consuming excess calories, making it suitable for various dietary preferences and weight management goals."
Sabat also adds that "Tofu is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of savory and sweet dishes, making it a convenient and nutritious addition to your diet."
"Pistachios are a complete source of plant-based protein, meaning that they provide all of the essential amino acids," says Manaker. "Plus, they provide antioxidants to help support your health in various ways.
Getting your antioxidants and protein from Trader Joe's Pistachio Nutmeats is a good choice because they're already shelled and easy to take on the go, making them "the perfect addition to salads, trail mixes, and more," adds Manaker.
Trader Joe's Organic Free-Range Chicken
For some simple and affordable chicken breast, Sabat says to look for Trader Joe's Free Range Organic Chicken.
"This chicken is a good high-protein choice because it offers a generous 25 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving while remaining relatively low in calories at just 130 calories," she says. "Being organic and free-range, it assures better animal welfare practices and fewer pesticides or antibiotics in the chicken's production, making it a healthier and more environmentally conscious option."
Trader Joe's Young Free Range Turkey
Just in time for the holidays, you can buy a free-range turkey from Trader Joe's and get a protein boost while indulging in your favorite festive dishes.
"The Trader Joe's Free Range Organic Turkey is a healthy high-protein choice because it provides 24 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving with only 160 calories," says Sabat. "Being free-range and organic ensures that the turkey is raised without hormones, antibiotics, or exposure to GMO foods, which promotes better animal welfare and a cleaner, more natural diet."
Trader Joe's Pasture Raised Eggs
You can scramble some up for breakfast or enjoy them hard-boiled as a snack, but regardless of how you eat them, the Trader Joe's Pasture-Raised Eggs are a great high-protein food choice.
"Each egg has 6 grams of protein for just 70 calories, making it a great way to add protein to your diet," says Sabat.
Fresh Atlantic Salmon Filets
When you want a protein source that also provides a ton of vitamins and healthy fat, salmon is the right choice.
According to Manaker, the Fresh Atlantic Salmon Filets at Trader Joe's are a choice of fish because "Salmon is packed with high-quality protein as well as healthy fats (like DHA), selenium, and vitamin B12."
She adds "This fresh salmon tastes great and it is easy to cook, too."
Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese
We love the cheese section at Trader Joe's because the options are endless. If you're looking for a cheese that contains protein and can be used in a variety of recipes, their Classic Cheddar will do the trick.
Sabat suggests incorporating cheese into your day when you want a protein boost. "During the cheese-making process, milk proteins like casein and whey become concentrated, resulting in a higher protein content in the final product," she says. "This makes cheese not only a tasty addition to a diet but also a convenient way to incorporate protein into meals and snacks."
Trader Joe's Grass-fed Organic Beef Patties (need picture)
For 21 grams of high-quality protein, pick up some Trader Joe's Organic Grass-Fed Beef Patties next time you're out.
"These beef patties are a good choice for a high-protein food because they provide a substantial 21 grams of protein per 240-calorie patty, and grass-fed beef is typically leaner and contains more beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants compared to conventionally raised beef," says Sabat.
Sabat adds "Additionally, the convenience of pre-made patties makes them a quick and easy option for those looking to increase their protein intake while enjoying the benefits of organic and grass-fed meat."
Trader Joe's Albacore Tuna
You can't beat a can of tuna for its convenience and protein content, which is why Sabat suggests grabbing a can or two from Trader Joe's.
"Trader Joe's Solid White Albacore Tuna is an excellent high-protein choice because it offers an impressive 29 grams of protein per can while being relatively low in calories at just 130," she says.
Sabat says that when it comes to the other health benefits of tuna, it is not only a lean source of protein but is also "rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart and brain health."
Trader Joe's Edamame
As we noted earlier, edamame is another plant-based source of complete protein, and if you buy Trader Joe's Shelled Edamame, you'll get 9 grams of high-quality protein per 1/2 cup serving.
"Trader Joe's edamame is a good plant-based high-protein option because it provides 9 grams of protein in just a 100-calorie serving," says Sabat.
Beyond its protein content, "Edamame is also rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritious choice for plant-based diets," Sabat adds. "Its combination of protein and fiber helps promote satiety and supports overall health, making it a satisfying and well-rounded addition to meals or snacks."
Chicken Burrito Bowl
Arguably one of the best things about Trader Joe's is their frozen food selection, which provides plenty of healthy, convenient, and delicious options to choose from.
According to Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, a great high-protein frozen option at Trader Joe's that she often chooses for herself is their Chicken Burrito Bowl. "I always aim to make sure I'm getting a good amount of protein at every meal to support satiety, blood sugar balance, and more," says Michalczyk, "so I like this option because I can quickly build a well-rounded meal around it."
You can choose from the Cheese, Spinach & Kale option or the Cheddar Cheese & Uncured Bacon, but either way, you'll get around 12 grams of protein in a fully-cooked, super convenient package.
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180248/
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566799/
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32768415/
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4258944/
- Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20807460/
- Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20219103/
- Source: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.015176
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9641984/