6 Time-Saving Trader Joe's Products That Make Meal Prep a Breeze

You can't buy time, but these come pretty close.

Did you know that women in America spend an average of 51 minutes a day on meal prep? If you have a family to cook for, that number may seem low. And some days, you just don't have that extra hour to spare. Luckily, in addition to its creative private label products, Trader Joe's has an extensive collection of affordable cut vegetables, frozen apps, entrees and desserts, and private label sauces that make weekly meal prep fly by (or save you on days there's no time to prep at all). Stock up on these products and wind down in your newfound free time.

01 of 06

Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix

Trader Joe’s Health 8 Chopped Veggie Mix

I buy this every visit to Trader Joe's, without fail. It makes weekly meal prep go so much faster, and ensures a ready supply of pre-chopped veggies at my fingertips for stir fries, salads, and soups.

Healthy 8 is a colorful mix of carrots, cabbage, celery, jicama, and broccoli—basically everything you need for the base of a nutritious meal without any washing and chopping. Throw it into your favorite chili recipe for an added dose of vegetables that even picky eaters won't notice.

02 of 06

Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

Traditional Thai green curry is delicious, but time-consuming to prepare, not to mention its long list of ingredients. This Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce gives you all that rich, coconutty flavor with none of the work.

For an easy and fast weeknight meal, grab some pre-cooked rice or quinoa, veggies pulled from the freezer, and baked or grilled protein of your choice. Pour this sauce overtop and voila; dinner is served. You can also take those same ingredients and throw them in a wok or large saucepan for a simple stir-fry.

03 of 06

Cut Butternut Squash

Trader Joe's Cut Butternut Squash

Squash season means a plethora of baked, roasted, and pureed recipes taking full advantage of creamy and sweet squash varieties. But what about the time and hassle of peeling and cutting hard squash? Even if you don't mind the meticulous peeling and cubing, sometimes there isn't just time in the day—relegating those gorgeous squash as table decorations rather than the main course.

For those busy moments, I rely on TJ's Cut Butternut Squash. It makes this cold-weather staple accessible for last-minute meals; no sharp knife required.

RELATED: 7 Products to Avoid at Trader's Joe's No Matter What, According to TJ's Superfans

04 of 06

Frozen Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

Trader Joe’s Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche

It's Sunday morning and you're hosting brunch for your extended family. They're coming in an hour and you still have to clean the house, dress the kids, and walk the dog; so your well-laid plans of cooking all morning have gone awry.

Enter: TJ's Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Quiche. Pop a few of these babies in the oven while you're running around getting everyone and everything ready, and your brunch main is deliciously taken care of by the time your guests arrive.

05 of 06

Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit

Trader Joe's Southwestern Chopped Salad

Taking a salad to work for lunch is a great way to stay on a healthy track during the week and save money. But sometimes that washing and chopping is just too much, like those mornings you have a packed day and need to bring lunch five minutes before you have to leave.

What really sets this salad kit apart are the creative add-ins: like cotija cheese, pumpkin seeds, and crunchy tortilla strips; plus a spicy avocado dressing with no blender-cleaning required.

RELATED: All the New Trader Joe's Locations Opening in 2022 (So Far)

06 of 06

Enchilada Sauce

Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce

I've written about this before, but my go-to weeknight dinner when I'm short on time is chicken breasts in the slow cooker with this enchilada sauce. Literally just throw it all in there and set on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours. Shred the chicken, throw onto a tortilla with some avocado and cilantro, and voila: You have a delicious, Mexican-inspired meal that required about 10 minutes of prep, total.

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