As we approach the final days of summer, we at Trash Panda found it fitting to create a list of our favorite prepackaged and frozen entrees. More often than not, these types of products can contain long ingredient lists with plenty of potentially harmful additives, but it’s helpful to have some convenient options, especially if you’re going back to school. Our intern Kate, who is heading back to college next week, shares some of her favorite brands and products made with real ingredients.
Feel free to send this list to someone heading out to the dorms, to a new apartment in a college town, or someone who simply wants the benefit of a quick and delicious meal!

Amy’s Kitchen Black Bean Burrito

Amy’s Kitchen consistently puts out products that are both delicious and made with quality ingredients. Made with organic broccoli, corn, and bell peppers, this black bean burrito is a staple in my kitchen.

Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Trader Joe’s makes some of the best frozen meals, and their Cauliflower Gnocchi is no exception. Made with only 5 ingredients, I swear by this product because it’s nutritious, filling, and genuinely delicious. Check out our viral TikTok about this meal.

Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza

Another TJ staple: these Thai Vegetable Gyoza are a must-have. Personally, I make them in the air fryer and pair them with stir-fry veggies. Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza and Shrimp Gyoza are also not to be missed.

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers

My college roommates would likely kick me out if I didn’t mention Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers. Besides being easy to make, these burgers elevate any salad, bowl, or meal to the next level.

Tattooed Chef Vegan Frozen Buddha Bowl

I’ve just recently discovered Tattooed Chef products in my local Target. After scanning their products through Trash Panda, I’m sold. This Frozen Buddha Bowl is chock full of vegetables and tastes restaurant quality. I most definitely will be trying out more Tattooed Chef products this upcoming year.

Ramen Noodles - Trash Panda’s Product Swap

How could we make a college essentials list and leave out ramen noodles? Our suggested Trash Panda swap is to opt for instant ramen from Lotus Foods and ditch Maruchan’s Spicy Beef Ramen Fire Bowl. The latter consists of ingredients like maltodextrin, diglycerides, and tert-butylhydroquinone… kind of takes the fun out of this school year staple.
Let us know if you give any of these products a try - or if you think we missed something - on our Instagram or with the hashtag #TrashPandaApproved.
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