If you’re a frozen food fan, Trader Joe’s freezer aisle might be one of your go-to destinations. While the store is known for its original product lines, not all of the Trader Joe’s frozen food offerings are created equal when it comes to nutrition. To help you navigate the freezer aisle with your health in mind, we interviewed dietitians to uncover the least healthy frozen food options at this beloved grocery chain. From hidden sodium content to sneaky sugars, our experts reveal the frozen items you may want to think twice about before adding to your shopping cart.
It’s worth noting that not all frozen foods are unhealthy. There are many nutritious choices available at Trader Joe’s too. By being mindful of the ingredients, nutrition facts, and processing methods, you can make better decisions and find frozen foods that align with your health and dietary goals.
When it comes to frozen food options in general, there are a few categories that tend to be less healthy due to their nutritional profile. Here are some of the least healthy frozen food options, generally speaking, that you may want to be cautious of:
“While Trader Joe’s Cheese Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce is a delicious pasta dish, its cream-based sauce is heavy in saturated fat. According to the nutrition label of this frozen entrée, a 1-cup serving contains 50% of a person’s daily recommended saturated fat intake. Frequent overconsumption of saturated fat may result in high blood cholesterol and put you at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. To cut back on your saturated fat intake while enjoying pasta, opt for sauces that are tomato-based instead of cream-based,” recommendsCatherine Karnatz, MPH, RD.
Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN, dietitian of The Actors Fund, shares her take on this healthy-appearing frozen item. “The Vegetarian Meatless Cheeseburger Pizza is not necessarily a healthy choice, despite being meatless. Just one-third of this pizza contains 790 milligrams of sodium, or just over a third of the recommended daily allowance of sodium for those with high blood pressure.”
Instead, look for options with whole grain crusts, low-fat cheese, and more vegetable toppings to improve the nutrition balance.
“Don’t be fooled by the word ‘vegan’ on the package and assume that because it contains no meat that it must be healthier for you,” Rauch adds. “This Korean Dish has 420 milligrams of sodium in just a 1-cup serving, which is equivalent to approximately 20% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium for those without hypertension. In addition to the 10 grams of added sugar from tapioca syrup and brown sugar, a single serving contains a whopping 61 grams of carbohydrates,” Rauch cautions.
“Trader Joe’s Breaded Fried Ravioli is a less healthy choice due to its 10 grams of fat, including 3 grams of saturated fat per serving of four ravioli. Excessive consumption of saturated fat can impact heart health. says Maya Oueicek, MBA, RDN. “Moreover, it is high in sodium, containing 630 milligrams per serving, which can lead to increased blood pressure and related potential health concerns. When selecting frozen foods, it’s crucial to be mindful of portion sizes and explore healthier alternatives.”