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Inspired Lunches


As a kid I wasn’t really a fan of the PB&J sandwich. That led to plenty of household head-scratching when it came to what went into my lunch box, and my midday meal was often a thrown together last-minute jumble of random things from the fridge.

As a grown up I've come to appreciate the PB&J (strawberry jam only, please!) and while I love routine in other parts of my life, having the same lunch every day is not a routine I enjoy! Thankfully, I’ve figured out a few simple ways to make lunch exciting every day of the week.

  • Whole wheat tortillas are a great stand-in for bread. Fill with hummus and veggies, or peanut butter and dried fruit, then roll up and slice in half (or pinwheels for little hands).
  • Quesadillas are easy to prepare and can be filled with a variety of options. Try mozzarella and pepperoni for the pizza lover, or load up with cheddar cheese, black beans and salsa.
  • Buckwheat noodles (also called soba) are delicious cold. Dress them with a spicy peanut sauce and add crisp veggies.
  • How about an antipasti lunch? Cold tortellini, salami and cheeses paired with fresh fruits like grapes are satisfying and fun for nibblers.
  • Keep up the small bite theme with crostini and a variety of spreads and dips.
  • Make brunch your lunch when you combine smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumbers on mini bagels.
  • Use leftover rice to whip up a batch of vegetable fried rice, made easy by using pre-cut frozen vegetables.
  • Make mini Hawaiian pizzas with bagels or English muffins, using ham leftovers and juicy pineapple.
  • Spring rolls are always a refreshing and portable no-cook option.
  • Make a quiche ahead of time and slice into portions for easy packing. It tastes great cold and holds up well in reusable containers.

Still need lunch inspiration? Try one or more of these recipes the next time you brown-bag it:





What are some of your most inspired lunches?

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Kaci says …

That tomato and goat brie salad looks super tasty! What a great time to use in-season heirloom tomatoes! Yum!

KH says …

I'm tired of the same old sandwiches I make for lunch, so I'll definitely be giving some of these recipes a go!

June says …

I just came up with this last night. It's a vegan (cruelty-free) idea: Asian Tempeh Burrito: Steam tempeh for about 15 minutes, then grill on stove. Grill veggies too: red peppers, onions, garlic. Make an asian dressing and drizzle it on tempeh and veggies; then stuff into a warmed tortilla. It tastes great and is very satisfying. Will be making that for school lunch bags.

Suzy says …

Kids like variety. Try to include something soft and something crunchy, one salty and a sweet food, and include healthy foods too , hot and cold. Given enough choice, kids will be happy and not trade their lunch.

Sam says …

My daughter it's such a picky eater but sure love these ideas. I'm so happy she's willing to give them a go!

Kalani says …

Loooks beautiful! I am happy to see there are inspired choices for vegans!

Kalani says …

Loooks beautiful! I am happy to see there are inspired choices for vegans!

Maria says …

i made green/yellow squash. i cut it in 2 halves along the zucchiny i rubbed the slices of squash with extra virgin olive oil i covered them with black pepper i fould them on foil i place them on the over at 425 temperature for one hour, but i check then on 1/2 of hour and they ready. i unfoldem and spreade them out i turned off the overn and left them there until the over was cool off. i took my squash out of the oven i placed the on a plate. i ate them with a fork. Oh! my God, what a delicious, healthy meal i head.

Haylie says …

Mmm....it all looks delicious!