8 Quick Trader Joe’s Lunches for an Easy Balanced Meal

It may not be the most easily accessible store for me, but man, do I love me some Trader Joe’s products. After seeing TikTok after TikTok of minimal ingredient, easy Trader Joe’s meals, I decided I needed to try some out and make my own round up for tasty Trader Joe’s lunches. Of course these could be for any meal of the day, but lunch tends to be the meal that I need no-fuss, quick and easy options to either prep in advance or quickly heat and eat.

I don’t frequent Trader Joe’s that often because it’s not in a very convenient location for me. However, there are some staples that I will gladly make the drive for. Everything but the Elote seasoning? Yes please. Cauliflower Gnocci? Love it. Unexpected Cheddar? Can’t get enough. So whenever I see online reviews and social media posts about TJ products, I add it to my list to try next time I make it there. 

Now a hesitation to convenience foods like Trader Joe’s products, but also from other stores (like rotisserie chickens as an example) is concern for the sodium content. Yes, there is a likelihood that convenience options are going to be higher in sodium. However, if you do not have a medical condition that requires limiting sodium, there’s a good chance it’ll be just fine. Even if you do have a medical condition that limits your sodium intake, my question would be, what’s the alternative meal if you don’t utilize convenience options? Is it to get fast food or take out? It’s very likely that any restaurant meal you choose is going to be higher in sodium than a convenience food from the grocery store. 

So what would I get for my lunches when going to Trader Joe’s? Well you certainly could check out these two blogs to see other favorites:

But here I’ve rounded up 8 delicious ideas inspired by my excessive TikTok scrolling.

8 Tasty and Convenient Trader Joe’s Lunch Ideas

Sourdough Toast with Burrata

Tomato and mozzarella are a perfect combo in my opinion. This toast takes it up a notch with something I had never tried before – the garlic spread. This stuff is delicious and going to be a staple from now on. Also worth noting, the sourdough from TJ’s is great for a grocery store loaf! 
Toast up 1-2 slices of the sourdough bread, then spread with garlic spread, a couple spoonfuls of bruschetta sauce, a bit of burrata (I did about 1/4 of the burrata ball on each toast), then sprinkle with fresh basil if you have it, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. 

 

Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

I love a good pasta salad and this Mediterranean orzo pasta salad is no exception. I do like to add chicken to round it out as a meal. The lemon grilled chicken is a great option from TJ’s.

Tomato Soup with Rice, Black Beans, and Corn

This was a combo that I heard about and had to try but unfortunately my TJ’s didn’t have the chimichurri rice or the cuban style beans.
Darn. Well, I figured I would come up with my own version. So I started with 2 cups of the tomato soup, added up to 1 cup regular cooked white rice and 1 cup regular canned black beans. Use less rice and beans if you don’t want it to be as thick. For more flavor, I grabbed a bag of the Mexican roasted corn and mixed 1 cup of that in, then topped with a little of the cotija that came along with the corn.

Creamy Tomato and Gnocchi Soup

I don’t have anything against good old potato gnocchi, but I also enjoy the cauliflower gnocchi from time to time. It’s a good source of fiber and I think it’s pretty decent. Sauté gnocchi in a pot in a little olive oil until cooked through. Add 2 cups of tomato soup and mix in blended cottage cheese to make it creamy and boost the protein.

Falafel Bowl

I love an elevated salad kit. Top the mediterranean salad kit with falafel and hummus and a drizzle of something spicy. In the video I saw on TikTok, the creator used chili onion crunch and I just happened to have some in my pantry so I used that, but the zhoug sauce would be great.

Lemon Chicken with Burrata and Arugula

Pair the lemon grilled chicken with some burrata and arugula, and top with olive oil and balsamic. The creator of this meal used a sticky balsamic but I don’t have that. I like a good aged balsamic because it’s nice and thick, but you could do regular balsamic or even balsamic glaze.

Chicken and Roasted Corn Rice Bowl

This is a simple rice bowl and you could certainly add to it for more textures and flavors (maybe some lettuce, peppers/onions, salsa, etc). But to make things simple, top rice with the Mexican roasted corn, the everything and the elote dip, and diced chicken.

Chicken Soup Dumplings with Crunchy Chili Onion

I’m a fan of the chicken soup dumplings but I had never paired it with the chili oil crunch. YUM. I would probably pair this with a salad kit just to finish it as a meal.

If you frequent Trader Joe’s, there are so many tasty frozen and prepared foods to help make meal time happen, and keep things interesting! Variety is so helpful in the sustainability of meal planning and prep. We often get bogged down in what is the “best” choice or “most nutritious” or “least processed” when sometimes it comes down to how can you fuel your body? How can you make mealtime happen? How can you incorporate a balanced meal of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber? Convenience options do not need to be demonized and can be a part of a balanced diet! 

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An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.