Everywhere I go lately, conversations with other moms lead to questions about how to feed healthy meals to our families without spending hours in the kitchen each day.
Whether you’re busy shuffling kids between music lessons and the ballpark, preparing for vacation, or spending afternoons at swim team practice like me, we could all use a few good dinner shortcuts to get us through busy seasons without resorting to drive through dinners and take out pizza.
10 Trader Joe’s Convenience Foods that are Healthier than Take Out
These are some of my favorite convenience foods to keep on hand for those busy nights when I’m tempted to call in for take out. They can be prepared in 30 minutes or less and all are made from “real” ingredients with very few, if any, preservatives.
Specifically, they have:
No trans fats
No corn syrup
No artificial colors or flavors
No natural flavors
Ready to stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy, time-saving convenience foods?
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1. Grass Fed Beef Sirloin Roast
Ingredients: Beef Sirloin, Sea Salt, Black Pepper
2. Seasoned Rack of Lamb (Frozen)
Ingredients: Lamb, Celery Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Sesame Seeds, Spices (Including Rosemary, Thyme, Black Pepper)
3. Spiral Sliced Uncured Ham
Ingredients*: Bone in Ham, Water, Turbinado Sugar, Vinegar, Kosher Salt, Molasses, Celery Powder, Spices
* It comes with an additional seasoning packet (which I don’t use) – Packet ingredients are: Evaporated Cane Syrup, Spices, and Canola Oil.
4. Ravioli (Various Flavors)
Ingredients: Ricotta Cheese (Cultured Whey, Salt, Citric Acid), Aurgula Paste (Arugula, sunflower Oil, Salt, Citric Acid), Bread Crumbs (Wheat Flour, Yeast, Salt), Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (Milk, Salt, Animmal Rennet), Cream, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Whey Powder, Salt, Noodle: Soft Wheat Flour, Liquid Whole Egg, Durum Wheat Semolina
Price: @2.99 each
Serving Ideas: Boil according to package directions, ladle a little homemade or store bought organic marinara over top, then garnish with fresh Parmesan and basil leaves. While the pasta cooks, quickly steam a package of frozen organic broccoli florets (TJs carries these too!).
5. Organic 3 Cheese Pizza
Ingredients: Crust: Organic Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Yeast; Topping: Organic Tomato Sauce (Organic Tomatoes, Water, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Organic Oregano), Organic Fontal Cheese (Milk, Vegetable Enzyme, Lactic Culture), Organic Hard Cheese (Milk, Salt, Vegetable Enzyme).
Price: $4.49 each (I bake two pizzas for our family of four)
Serving Ideas: I usually add a few slices of prosciutto (TJs carries one that has only pork and salt for ingredients) before baking for 8-10 minutes, then sprinkle with ribbons of sliced basil just before serving. While it’s baking, prep a 5 minute Cucumber, Tomato, and Spinach Salad as a starter.
6. Wild Caught Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined (Frozen)
Ingredients: Raw, Wild Blue Shrimp
Serving Ideas: Defrost in the fridge overnight, boil for a few minutes, then chill and serve with cocktail sauce, crusty bread, and a substantial salad like an Iceberg Wedge with Creamy Feta Cheese Dressing or my Bacon Avocado Blue Cheese Salad.
7. Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Ingredients: Organic Reduced Fat Milk, Water, Organic Tomato Paste, Organic Red Bell Peppers, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Organic Roasted Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Butter, Sodium Citrate, Organic Nonfat Dry Milk, Organic Rice Flour, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Spices (Organic Black Pepper, Organic Cayenne Pepper)
8. Organic, Grass Feed Beef Hot Dogs
Ingredients: Organic Grass Fed Beef, Water. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sea Salt, Organic Spices, Organic Dehydrated Garlic, Organic Dehydrated Onion, Organic Paprika, Celery Powder
Price: $5.99 (7 dogs)
Serving Ideas: Heat and serve in hot dog buns, with the Best Kale Slaw and corn on the cob.
9. Grass Fed Angus Beef Burgers
Ingredients: Ground Grass Fed Angus Beef
Price: $6.99 (4 quarter pound patties)
Serving Ideas: Cook on grill or stove and serve on burger buns. Add a Tomato, Bacon, and Corn Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a batch of oven fries.
10. Wild Smoked Sockeye Salmon
Ingredients: Sockeye Salmon, Brown Sugar, Natural Wood Smoke
Serving Ideas: Sprinkle with dill and capers. Serve with a selection of crackers, spreadable garlic herb cheese, other cheeses, and raw veggies. I also like to serve fruit or berries with fresh whipped cream to round out the meal.