Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Lunches Packed with Healthier Choices

Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets

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.

A kid-friendly lunch doesn't have to be peanut butter and jelly. Not only can foods like fruit kabobs, burritos and veggie and hummus wraps be just as easy to make as a PB&J, you may be surprised by how much kids enjoy these healthier choices.

Fall is a great time to encourage healthy changes, and lunch is a smart place to start.

Aim for a lunch with lots of fiber and whole grains, some protein and healthy fat, a veggie, and just a bit of natural sugar, like a piece of fresh fruit. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A whole wheat pasta salad with roasted veggies, cooked greens and beans. (Use whatever’s in the fridge!)
  • Black bean hummus (purée a can of drained black beans with one tablespoon each tahini and lemon juice) with carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and whole grain crackers.
  • Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets packs a mixture of greens, tomatoes and mashed avocado into whole grain pitas.
  • Fruit and veggie skewers with hummus and nut butter (if permitted at school) or sunflower seed butter for dipping.
  • Whole grain tortilla wrap with shredded carrots, baby spinach, avocado, cooked grains and a few slices of rotisserie chicken.
  • Round out lunch with whole grain crackers, raw veggies, mixed nuts and seeds (if permitted at school), raisins, a nectarine, raspberries, grapes or a handful of dried apple slices. Unsweetened applesauce cups and edamame have been hits recently with my kids.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve got plenty more kid-friendly recipe ideas.

Shopping List for Healthy Lunches

Here are a few of our top picks to keep in the pantry and fridge for delicious nutritious lunches.

  • 365 Everyday Value® Organic Tahini
  • 365 Everyday Value® Organic Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Health Starts Here® bread
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, barley, wheat berries, whole wheat couscous)
  • Canned 365 Everyday Value® No Salt Added Beans
  • Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Fresh fruit (apples, pears, raspberries, bananas)
  • Colorful veggies (bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, green beans)

Money-Saving Tips

Luckily, whole foods like grains, beans and lentils give you more nutrients for less cash. But there are plenty of other ways to save when you’re working towards healthier options.

  • Give leftovers a new life. Transform turkey meatloaf to sandwiches, chopped fresh veggies to roasted veggies and diced roasted chicken to burrito filling – just add beans!
  • Batch and stash. Prepare a big batch of staple ingredients — lentils, whole grains or veggies — then incorporate them into various lunches during the week.
  • Case discount. Get discounted pricing on most items when you buy a full case. Ask Customer Service for details.
  • The scoop on bulk bins. Shop our bulk bins and get a little or a lot without waste. No hydrogenated fats and artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and colors either!
  • Cut costs in half. If you need only half a cabbage, chunk of cheese, loaf of fresh bread, etc. we’re happy to provide just the half you need.
  • Clip coupons. Download and print coupons before you shop or pick up an issue of The Whole Deal in store and save.

What are your kids’ favorite lunches that incorporate healthier choices? Share them in the comments below.