11 High-Protein Finds at Trader Joe's to Help You Lose Weight
The aisles of Trader Joe's are packed with high-protein items that can help you lose weight without sacrificing taste—and without breaking the bank. From the refrigerated section to the freezer, it's easy to fill your cart with delicious items that can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
"When following a weight-loss lifestyle plan, it's important to choose foods that keep you feeling full," says Jenna Appel, MS, RD, LDN, CPT, a registered dietitian based in Boca Raton, Fla. "A high-protein diet is satiating, which leads to reduced appetite and hunger compared to lower-protein diets, and can also help you reduce cravings (i.e., less snacking between meals)."
Here are 11 high-protein Trader Joe's finds, hand-picked by nutritionists, to add to your shopping list.
Hi-Protein Veggie Burger
Made from pea protein and black beans, this burger has 260 calories and 26 grams of protein, plus 4 grams of dietary fiber that helps keep you fuller longer, says Appel. She recommends cutting a (cooked) one up and adding to a salad.
Raw Almond Snack Packs
Almonds are an easy go-to snack, as they provide protein, vitamins, minerals, healthy fat and fiber, says Ariella Viner, MS, CSN, LDN, a licensed dietitian nutritionist in Highland Park, Ill. She recommends picking up some individual packs over a full bag, as they're portable and portion controlled (one pack has 7 grams of protein).
Uncured Black Forest Ham
Free of nitrates and preservatives, a single slice has 6 grams of protein and is easy to pack into wraps and sandwiches, or even add to a healthier snack spread for game day. "I like to make a finger-food lunch with black forest ham, veggies and cheese—an easy, high-protein lunch for those trying to stay on track," says Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, CTP, a registered dietitian based in Tempe, Ariz.
Premium Salmon Burgers
Not only is salmon a good source of protein, it also provides omega-3 fats that are essential for brain health. These convenient, individually portioned burgers are an ideal healthy dinner paired with a whole-grain roll, salsa, arugula and avocado, says Margie Saidel, MPH, RD, LDN, vice president of nutrition and sustainability at Chartwells K12.
These are a darn-good substitute for real meat and boost a healthy dose of protein: 14 grams in one serving of six meatballs. Use the frozen, fully cooked meatballs for spaghetti night, or make a lower-calorie meal by subbing pasta for cooked and shredded spaghetti squash, says Appel.
Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix
"You might not think of pancakes when pondering a high-protein meal, but this mix is a delicious alternative to other pancake varieties, thanks to its whey protein concentrate," says Saidel. A 1/3-cup serving, which makes two pancakes, has 10 grams of protein that will provide staying power. You can even make a big batch and freeze them for easy access on busy mornings.
2% Plain Greek Yogurt
A one-cup serving has 170 calories and 22 satiating grams of protein. "Most people are surprised by this recommendation over nonfat," says Shallal, "but even though it's higher in calories than nonfat, it's also creamier and more filling." Skip the fruit-filled varieties and add your own berries instead.
Sunflower Seed Butter
For those with nut allergies, try sunflower seed butter, which is also packed with protein and healthy fats. "It's smooth and creamy, and flies off the shelves [at Trader Joe's]," says Viner. "Some of my clients have to order it online because [it's out of stock in stores]." A friendly reminder: Stick to a 2-tablespoon serving, as this nutrient-dense food is also high in calories.
Organic Baked Teriyaki Tofu
One serving packs 16 grams of protein, and the fact that it's pre-marinated makes it very versatile—add it to soups, salads and stir-frys, says Appel. Combine with high-fiber cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts for a satisfying meal that may be helpful for weight loss, she adds.
Shawarma Chicken Thighs
Traditionally cooked over a vertical spit, shawarma is an unexpected find at Trader Joe's—but one you'll be returning to again and again for an easy dinner once you try it. A 4-ounce serving has about 25 grams of protein and is easy to cook. "Throw them on the grill or in the slow cooker for a low-fuss, healthy dinner," says Shallal.
Organic Sprouted Tricolor Quinoa
A 1/3-cup serving has 6 grams of plant-based protein and is easy to make, similar to rice or couscous. For someone trying to lose weight, Viner recommends keeping your gluten-free grain intake to ½ cup per day. Mix with roasted, spiced vegetables for a filling lunch or easy dinner.