Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Lunch: Faster, Tastier and Less Expensive!


Lunchbox Quesadilla

Fall is often linked with a return to routine. This can mean adopting time-and money-saving strategies or embracing healthier eating habits. In both cases, the Whole Story blog is here to help. Through mid-September we’re sharing our favorite pointers for mealtimes (including snacks!) from how to shop to how to prep, so you can get back on track with ease.

Yes, you can save time and money at lunchtime and banish boring brown bag lunches. Here’s how:

Save Time

Think you’re too rushed make your lunch? Check out these time-saving tips. Spoiler alert: Do the work when you do have the time, to reap the rewards when you don’t.

  • Avoid Rush Hour. Prep lunch ingredients ahead while cooking other meals. Chop extra veggies and cook extra greens, grains and beans. While the oven is hot, roast chicken breasts or a double batch of veggies.
  • Batch cooking. Prepare a big batch of staple ingredients — beans, grains or roasted veggies — and incorporate into lunches throughout the week.
  • Big chill. Make baked pasta, soup or a casserole and freeze in individual portions.


Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets

Save Money

Going out to lunch adds up, so pack your lunch and save. Here are shopping and prep tips for tasty lunches.

  • Bang for your buck. Whole foods like grains, beans and lentils give you more nutrients for less cash. Shop the bulk bins and save.
  • Cut costs in half. If you need only half a sandwich, chunk of cheese, loaf of fresh bread, etc. we’re happy to provide just the half you need.
  • Essentials gone organic. From peanut butter and juice boxes, it’s easy to find hundreds of affordable organics with our 365 Everyday Value® line.
  • Bulk up. Our bulk bins let you get a little or a lot of lunch-friendly foods without waste. Think grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruits with no hydrogenated fats and artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and colors either.
  • Case discount. Get discounted pricing on most items when you buy a full case. Ask Customer Service for details.
  • Wrapped with value. Leftover ingredients = lunch. Tuck cooked shredded chicken, veggies and grains in a whole grain wrap or tortilla. 
  • Don’t throw away money. Invest in an insulated lunchbox and reusable storage containers rather than buying single-use bags.
  • Save your bread. Freeze sandwich bread to help preserve freshness (no waste). Plus, sturdier frozen slices slowly defrost in lunchboxes preventing squished sandwiches come noon.

Daily Lunch Planner

By planning your meals before you shop, you can save time and money. Get inspired with this weekly lunch planner created with flavor and nutrition in mind.

Monday
Tuna or egg salad with whole grain crackers. Cherry tomatoes and raw snap peas. Nectarine.

Tuesday
Two-Bite Breakfast Poppers(yes, for lunch!). Wedges of organic heirloom tomatoes. Dried cranberries and almonds.

Wednesday
Lunchbox Quesadillas. Applesauce cup. Baby carrots and/or jicama sticks.

Thursday
Pita with hummus, shredded carrot and sliced cucumber. Or Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets. Jarlsberg Mini cheese and fresh raspberries.

Friday
Shredded chicken (from dinner leftovers) in a whole wheat pita with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Steamed broccoli bites with dip. Grapes.

What are your favorite tips or meal ideas for weekday lunches? Share them in the comments section below.