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Health Starts Here: 5 Simple Lunches

Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green OnionsLunch can be one of the toughest meals to keep on track when it comes to sticking to eating healthfully, especially when that mid-day hunger sneaks around. So often our days get away from us and we end up grabbing a meal that is convenient and easy, but perhaps not the best in terms of nutrition, leaving the second part of the day sluggish and unproductive.

Here are a few plant-focused nutrient dense lunch ideas — a few you can quickly throw together in the morning, and a few you’ll want to prepare the night before.

Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green Onions For a delicious lunch, fill pita bread halves with this tangy bean salad and top with shredded lettuce.

Spinach Salad with Aduki Beans and Clemetine VinaigretteSpinach Salad with Aduki Beans and Clemetine Vinaigrette To make ahead, simply prepare the vinaigrette and Clementines, pack everything separately and toss all together just before you eat. For an entrée salad, add raw veggies and double the beans.

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews Make this one for dinner, then take the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Black Bean Salad This colorful mix of veggies and beans makes for a robust vegetarian lunch. It's best to enjoy this dish the same day it's made. Kale Waldorf Salad

Kale Waldorf Salad This variation on the classic Waldorf salad uses kale instead of lettuce and adds apple and walnuts to the dressing for a creamy consistency without using the typical mayonnaise base. To pack for lunch, keep the dressing separate and then toss when you’re ready to eat. This is a favorite of mine just tossed in a wrap with some grilled tofu.

HSHGet more quick and simple recipes, or browse over 100 Health Starts Here recipes. What are some of your go-to nutrient-dense lunches?

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SusieBeeOnMaui (Eat Little, Eat Big) says …

I'm doing more veggie based sammys, paired with a crunchy apple for 250 cals or less: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2011/01/veggie-and-hummus-sammys.html

Rachael Green says …

the link for the kale waldorf is for the other salad on the page?!

Linda says …

Try a sandwich with sprouted grain bread, hummas,guacamole and leafy greens. If you want to jazz it up add red roasted peppers.

Sherry Mahan says …

He is a simple and delicious way to make Chili Healthy - Great for Super Bowl Sunday. 1 Onion, 4 cloves of Garlic, 2 lbs. of 99% fat free, free range ground chicken, 2 cans organic Cannelli beans, 4 cups of low sodium chicken stock, 1 tbsp. chili powder, 1 Tbsp. oregano, 2 Tbsp. Cumin. 2 Tablespoons of Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil. One Bunch of Organic Greens, I used Kale, but whatever looks good will do. Chop Onions, garlic. Add two tablespoons of Olive Oil saute the onions and garlic till translucent. add the ground chicken and brown. add two tablespoons of flour to thicken the chili. Add the spices and stir competely. Add four cups of chicken stock (or Vegtable Stock, if preferred) Drain the Cannelli beans and rinse under cold water. add to stock pot. Add the chopped greens. Cook for 50 minutes. If desired add some frozen 365 Organic Corn for a hearter chili. Serve with 365 Grated Sharp Cheddar and a tbsp of Sour Cream. Delicious and low fat!! My kids loved it!

Sherry Mahan says …

Thank you Whole Foods for going more to the Healthy side of Eating Im eating better, losing excess fat and loving it! Watch out Summer !

Peter G says …

Good Afternoon I have recently become a shopper of yours due to a new store openning within walking distance of my place of work, and while I have enjoyed your fresh produce and salad bar immensely, I was quite surprised to review your soups and chilis bar for their salt content. Your sodium counts on your soups per serving are HUGE!!!!! 750 to 1100!!!!????? Please don't contribute so much to our growing national heart health issues, which is already the #1 killer in the country. Is there anything you can do to lower these substantially? A 100 or 200 MG drop of salt will not even come close to doctors recomendations for sodium reduced dites, let alone sodium free or even near-free diets. My own personal goal is reduced my salt consumption but not because of medical needs, simply wanting to live a healthier life style overall. What would it take for WFs to market soup or chili with a MG count of salt below 300 per serving? Is this even something possible or that you have interest in doing? If not, I cannot keep getting my lunches at your fine stores. Thank you for your time. Peter Genet

Lydia says …

I found a dark chocolate bar in the ice cream section. I was wondering if it can be purchased online and shipped? I don't remember the name of the product except that it was dark/mint/rasberry flavors

says …

@Lydia Mmm dark chocolate. Good stuff! Since each of our stores offers a little different supply of goodies, the best way to get the most accurate information regarding the availability of this chocolate bar and it's ordering is to reach out to your store directly. You can identify the contact information for your store at the below link and a Team Member will be happy to chat with you. www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Stan says …

I'm not a vegetarian, and happen to believe that lean, chemical-free (as much as possible, of course) meat - fish, chicken, and yes, even beef - is actually good for us. I believe animal protein is - and should be - part of a well-balanced diet. My biggest challenge is that even at supposedly health-focused stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (I confess I've had very little experience with the latter but frequent the former) is finding LOW-SODIUM foods that are still palatable. In fact, low-sodium prepared dishes (tasty or not) seem to be in very short supply universally. My wife and I will be traveling to Tempe, AZ in late March for some Spring Training baseball games, and I was pleased to see that there is a Whole Foods in Tempe. I was hoping to pick up some healthy, low-sodium lunches in advance (assuming they'll let me bring them to the ballpark). That way, I can mostly avoid the typical, high-fat, high-sodium food (which, admittedly, I love!) at the games. But I'd like some meat on my sandwiches and salads! Any suggestions, help, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

says …

@Stan We'd be happy to get you in touch with the Tempe store for this request. Please check your email for a response from them.