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The Whole Deal Pack-a-Lunch Contest

Tell us what’s for lunch and you might win a $50 gift card. You know packing lunch is worth it. It saves you money vs. eating out and lets you know exactly what is going into your meal—and your body. But when is lunch worth $50? When you win $50 just for your concept of lunch! Whether you’re packing your own lunch or packing one for someone else, no doubt you’re always looking for fresh ideas to make it both tasty and healthy. Throw your favorite lunch concept into the mix below and see what you get back. It might be great ideas from other readers. And it might be a $50 gift card! We’re truly looking for both tasty and healthy, so be sure your lunch idea includes a protein, a whole grain and at least one serving each of fruits and vegetables. We’ll choose 5 winners—one for each weekday—at random from all entries that meet those guidelines and are submitted by September 30, 2010. So, tell us…what’s for lunch? We’re hungry!

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2426 comments

Comments

Andrew Morrions says …

I usually go all out when it comes to lunch. My work is hard and long, so i need some protein to get this vegan bake on his feet. I make my own granola bars: Mix together rolled oats, cranberries, raisins, mixed nuts, whole flax seeds, agave syrup and a little apple juice. Put into a square baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until slightly browned. Let it cool and cut into squares. Then i make a sandwich. I make many different ones, but here is a favorite of mine: Grab two slices of bread and put 365 creamy cashew butter on each. Then puree some avocado, shredded carrots, and banana. Put it one one side of the bread. On the other slice, put lettuce and tomato. Put the sandwich together. I love it. The sandwich almost taste like carrot cake with the bread texture, the carrot crunch, and the sweetness of the cashew butter. Enjoy!!!

Monica says …

Actually, here's what I packed for my lunch today: For my breakfast snack (since I didn't leave time to eat in the morning) is: Strawberry Kefir with organic chopped walnuts, & a side container with about 1 /4 cup of organic chopped cantaloupe & blueberries (sprinkled with ground flaxseed). For lunch (or my recess snack) loose leaf red lettuce mixed with arugula, tomatoes & drizzled with extra virgin olive oil (with a dash of sea salt & black pepper). I also included left over bbq'd mesquite grilled chicken. For my later afternoon snack: pretzels. To drink: pau d'arc tea & water. Voila! My brown bag lunches are always the best!! <3

Lori Miroth says …

I make my husband and kids school lunches everyday. Their lunches include a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. Oraganic peanut butter and jelly on sprouted bread. A granola bar, today was a peach, and trail mix.

Michelle says …

A whole-wheat tortilla, smeared with hummus and wrapped around 2 cups of fresh spinach and a slice of cheese. Apple (with or without peanut butter) on the side.

Laura says …

I swear, there's nothing like a sandwich. Saturday at the Farmers Market I got some perfect avocados (from Mexico) and made some guacamole, which went beautifully on my tomato, Swiss cheese, bean sprouts and banana pepper sandwich. The tomato, cheese, sprouts and whole-grain bread (warm on Saturday ...) also came from the Market, as did my brown-bag splurge: Containers of cut-up cantaloupe and black raspberries, which stained my fingers as I snacked and worked. Mid-afternoon wakeup was a hard-boiled egg, bought from friends whose chickens run free (when my dog's not visiting ... then they run and hide!). I am totally full, wide awake, and ready to finish weekend chores when I get home. Yay!

Danielle Rabin says …

I recently made a farro and pearled couscous salad with goat cheese, asparagus, toasted almonds and lemon zest. Delish! I was getting quite bored of my turkey sandwich.

Heather says …

Fresh Sandwich, with meat, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and Dave's Killer Bread. On the side, blueberries, olives and fresh lemonade.

Laura A. says …

One of our favorites in our brown bags is a PB&H (all natural peanut butter and honey from the farmers market)on whole wheat bread made at Schulers, a local restaurant in town. A bag of grapes or an apple is a must! We also add carrots in a bag and put a few tablespoons of hummus in a container for dipping, along with a bottle of frozen water that will thaw by lunch time. Dessert anyone? Homemade honey and oat bars are a perfect ending (or beginning!). Oh yeah, you can't forget your I Love You note hidden in their brown bag!

Trinh Nguyen says …

Evol pork and green chili burrito. Side of romain lettuce and diced tomato. Cherries or blueberrt for dessert.

Lisa Schultz says …

Turkey, low fat cream cheese and spinach on a habenero/lime tortilla, baby bell cheese round (I mean, I AM from WI!!) and a whatchamacallit candy bar! Yum-O!!!

Savannah says …

Organic spicy buffalo style chicken strips; with a light organic ranch dressing, lettuce finely chopped, tomato slices and thinly sliced avocado... a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese topped with some olives on an organic whole wheat tortilla!! With an organic fruit bowl consisting of cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries & honey dew, & some delicious rainier cherries... mhhhh!!! :D

Leah says …

I have this down to a science: "Home-made" soup - Make ahead - Freeze in one-serving containers. - Grab and go in the morning. Ingredients: 1 quart of tomato soup. 3-4 cups frozen vegetables (corn, peas, spinach; just about any will do. 2-3 cups cooked rice 2-3 cups cooked protein of your choice (for example, chicken, beef or tofu.) salt, pepper or herbs to taste. Divide the vegetables, rice and protein among five freezer-friendly one-serving containers. Add salt & pepper to taste. (You will probably want a little extra salt or herbs or the vegetables will dilute the flavor of the soup too much.) Pour soup over the vegetable/rice/protein mix to cover. Freeze. On Sunday evening, I make five portions, then grab one each morning on the way to work. I don't need to refrigerate it because it thaws slowly. When ready to eat, heat in a microwave. The vegetables don't get as overcooked as they do in canned soups. This is a great way to use left-overs, and I can switch out the vegetables or proteins to keep from getting bored. More substantial and much cheaper than canned soup. I know exactly what I'm getting - no mystery meat!

Skylor says …

My lunch: Kale and spinach with kasha (toasted buckwheat), bell peppers, blueberries and avocado. A few rolls of deli turkey on the side. I drizzle some olive oil, fresh squeeze lemon and lemon pepper on top. So delicious!!!

Nina says …

today I made my son's lunch which consisted of whole wheat pasta, mixed veggies, sliced peaches and blueberries and pulled rotisserie chicken.

Lisa Goldberg says …

Plain yogurt with diced mangoes Whole wheat crackers, cheese cubes Hard-boiled egg Apple Almonds and raisins mixed together

Joe Baldwin says …

I'll tell you what's for lunch, losing 40 pounds -- this year in addition to adding regular exercise to my daily routine I also started eating out much less and substituting with rice cakes, veggie meats and cheeses, produce, and what ever it took not to get bored with the 'same old sandwich'. That's a Whole lot of weight.

Debby says …

Made from as many organic items as I can find: whole grain wrap with homeade hummus and tabbouli, glass of milk and a bannana. Yum.

Stephanie says …

I love putting hummus on a whole wheat wrap and adding roasted red peppers and avocado. For a treat I have celery sticks dipped into almond butter.

Sandy Grau says …

I had my husband grill some eggplant, zuchinni, yellow squash and corn - I let it cool and chopped them up, mixed in some lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. This morning I made some brown rice, mixed it with some of the veggies and topped with a dab of parmesan cheese. One minute in the microwave and I was all set. Plus I have lunch for all week and I can change the taste by adding different cheese or seasonings all week.

See says …

Today I'll be feasting on Nature's Path organic Maple Nut hot oatmeal mixed with a handful of crushed organic raw walnuts. My oatmeal will be washed down with my daily Green Smoothie which consists of organic spinach/kale/chard, fresh ginger, organic lemon juice, organic apple, organic banana, organic celery, ground flax seeds and filtered water.

Amy G. says …

Salmon "candy," flaked and mixed with whipped cream cheese and a few capers, spread on fresh bagel crisps and topped with minced red onion. A sliced and salted ripe, local tomato on the side and fresh local cherries for dessert.

Rebecca U. says …

Whole wheat pita dressed with a small amount of mayo, swiss cheese, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, alvocado, and spouts.

Sandy McCarthy says …

Hummus, roasted red pepper, red onion and fresh spinach on toasted whole wheat bread. Fresh berry salad for desert. This will keep you satisfied all day!!

Jennifer Cain says …

I love this wrap: A whole-wheat tortilla (Ezekiel brand) Roasted red-pepper hummus as a light spread Mixed herbs/salad greens Sliced cherry tomatoes, green &/or black olives, bell peppers Shredded carrots and cabbage (like from a slaw mix) Some nuts or seeds for texture A little tuna (or sliced chicken or turkey if I have it) It's basically a salad in a wrap, with a little hummus to hold it together. It tastes so fresh, and it's easy to transport. I usually take it with a side of an apple or a bag of green grapes for a fresh, cool lunch.

Carmen Payton says …

Slice of Turkey and low fat cheese, light mayo, on whole wheat bread with a slice of lettace and tomato. Red Grapes on the side to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Evan Thomas says …

I would pack honey lime grilled chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces, a sweet brown rice salad made with apple juice, apple chunks and cinnamon, and a serving of baby carrots, since those are my favorite veggie to munch on. It's hard packing to eat on the go around hear with dairy and gluten allergies but there's always a way.

Pauley Gasparis says …

Mango Salad: 1/2 fresh mango, diced 1/4 cup of dried cranberries 1/4 cup pecans crumbled goat cheese baby spinach Add the fruit toppings to the bottom of a transportable container, then add the spinach, and the nuts and cheese last. Dressing:3 tbsp of balsalmic dressing 1 tbsp of seedless raspberry or strawberry jelly 1 tbsp of olive oil salt and pepper Mix these ingredients and add the dressing to a separate small container and dress salad right before lunch time. Enjoy!

Wendy Gordon says …

Today my lunch was a conglomeration of leftovers: romaine lettuce, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, almonds and dried cranberries; sauteed lightly seasoned tofu; and quinoa with oranges and pistachios. All served mixed up, cold and in one tupperware. YUM!

Linda Therrell says …

Nitrate-free turkey and salami, and Havarti cheese, with mayo, fresh ground pepper, lettuce, and tomato. On multigrain bread, with cantaloupe and blueberries on the side. Yum!

Elizabeth P. says …

My favorite take-along lunch is my homemade chicken salad on a croissant, a fresh fruit mix (berries, kiwi, and orange pieces... yum!), and semi-sweet iced tea. Now I'm hungry. :)

Cherie Doughtie says …

School Lunch: Organic chicken, grape and walnut salad sandwich on whole wheat bread cut in 2 triangles, edamame, organic milk box, napkin, ice pack, and a love note from mom.

Lisa Rodriguez says …

I love leftovers, but here is another idea. Pasta (I like whole what pasta, or brown rice pasta) with broccoli, cherry tomatoes cut in half, some feta cheese and/or some roast chicken, black olives (brine or oil, not canned, more flavor!), a simple homemade or good quality dressing - mixed up the night before and delicious hot or cold! After lunch a bowl of raspberries and a tiny piece of dark chocolate or a handful of dried fruit and nuts satisfies my sweet craving perfectly. Bon appetit!

PJ Rosen says …

I never let my children eat at the cafeteria at school. The choices there are SO unhealthy. A sample school lunch for my 6 and 8 year old is, brown rice sushi (cucumber, carrot and cream cheese) with pickled ginger (they LOVE the ginger), heated edamame with sea salt in their thermos', sliced fuji apples and ice water to drink. This is one of their favorite lunch box meals :)

Nadyne says …

Tomorrow's lunch is brown rice and baigan bharta (roasted eggplant, which is then mashed and mixed with spices, tomatoes, and peas). I made a big pot of baigan bharta yesterday, and froze it in single-serve packages for lunches to take to the office. I'll add a piece or two of fruit for a snack after I do my shopping later today.

Michele Dinsmore says …

Packing lunch for my gluten intolerant son can be a challenge because he is also a very finicky eater. During the week, I try to cook and pack up extra servings from dinner, but inevitably, by the end of the week, we've exhausted both our leftovers and our loaf of gluten-free bread, so I need to be creative. I've learned to keep whole grain corn tortillas handy in the freezer because they take only a few minutes to defrost. I spread refried beans on one and put a slice of cheese on the other and stick both in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Once the cheese is melted, I put them together and he has a quesadilla. They're good hot or cold. He enjoys them with apple slices or grapes, cucumber spears, and a Silk chocolate soy milk.

Laura M. says …

As I don't have a way to heat up food I love to make a big batch of healthy eggrolls that can be eaten cold from my brown bag. I saute garlic, onions, pine nuts, shredded carrots and cabbage with olive oil. Add some ginger or lemongrass. The I take that mixture and roll up into wonton wrappers and instead of deep frying I put in a skillet with a little oil and keep turning on each side until they are brown and crispy. The eggrolls keep for several days in the frig at home. (My husband loves them as a snack when he gets off 2nd shift) This is a great way to get veggies and protein from the pine nuts. Plus they are very portable. I usually pair with brown rice and a salad to round out the meal.

Ron Wall says …

My local Walmart sells their rotisserie chickens off at the Rotisserie chicken is amazing & low fat. I only eat whole wheat or multigrain bread & love to swap up my toppings for a little variety. Next time you are slapping a sandwhich together try slicing up a nice big strawberry to take the place of the tomatoe. It adds a zesty kick & its not overpowering. Also, I never use soimple iceberg lettuce. Stick to something packed with nutrients like fresh spinach or even grill up some sliced zuccini for a change. Don't forget to toss some onions on the grill for that mice sweet zing & finish with some cracked pepper. If plain old mustard ain't doing it for yah anymore try some peanut butter. Lots of protein & I actually feel full afterwards. Another alternative can be your preferred salad dressing. Just pour a few drops of your fave on one slice of your heavenly concoction & go to town*

Ashlei says …

Tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich on whole grain sprouted bread, with a hardboiled egg or two, roasted red pepper soup, and fresh cherries with dark chocolate chips for dessert.

Jessica says …

For a quick packed lunch I love raw veggies with white bean pesto, a gluten free flaxseed muffin and low fat yogurt with bakery on main granola and fresh raspberries.

Wins says …

Easy favorites (all with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper): 1) roasted beets, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, golden raisins, wheat berries and walnut oil; 2) cooked shrimp, mango, avocado, cherry tomatoes, whole wheat couscous, diced jalapeno and lime juice; and 3) steamed string beans, feta cheese, bulghur, dried apricots, and almond oil.

Hema says …

Whole wheat tortilla with cilantro-lime rice (a la Chipotle), boiled and seasoned lentils, chunks of boiled egg, mango salsa and Tabasco. A cup of yogurt and some cantaloupe slices on the side.

Katie K says …

I’m having a whole wheat pasta salad which chicken, red onion, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber (tomatoes & cucumbers are fruit!), mozzarella cheese, and basil with a lemon vinaigrette over the top. I make a big batch on Sunday, and then am able to enjoy it for lunch a few days in the following week.

sara says …

This is my favorite lunch to pack for my 5 kids! A whole wheat wrap filled with sliced cheese, mustard, a bit of spinach and sliced tomato. Also a fruit salad kabob on the side. For dessert a homemade carrot quinoa muffin! And a reusable water bottle to drink. Thanks Sara

Inas says …

I recommend a healthy falafel sandwich (falafel patties made from chick peas) on wholewheat pita bread, with a side of grilled corn on the cob, and seedless watermelon for dessert.

Stephanie Abney says …

I pack for my husband and I'm a SAHM, so it's usually homemade goodies! A homemade granola bar and orange juice to eat on the way to work, a fresh chopped salad, dressing on the side. Either grilled chicken to throw over the top or half a tuna sandwich. A yummy, freshly made fruit salad, yogurt or homemade fruit leather for snacking. Once in a while if he's feeling adventureous I'll throw in some snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies. He hasn't complained yet!

Samantha says …

My whole family LOVES sardines or canned tuna, crackers, and cheese. This is a great meal I can grab (mostly!)from the cupboard, packs well, and requires minimum refrigeration, so its perfect for boating or picnics. I start with the Back to Nature Chedder Flax cracker, then a smear of avocado and a bit of fish for my children, ages 2 and 4. Depending on their mood, I may add additional veggies. My husband and I will usually top our crackers with of a bit of fish, thin shaved red onion, and a thinly sliced cherry tomato. We then sprinkle a little cheese, maybe A St. Agur or Humboldt Fog goat's milk...a little goes a long way so we can afford to splurge. We complete our meal with carrots, celery, and seasonal fruit. Mmmmm....yum!

Alexandra P. says …

My favorite sandwich: Blackened tofu with mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, muenster cheese and avocado on crusty white bread. Grapes for dessert.

kee says …

Today's packed lunch: A slice of whole wheat pizza (pizza dough from Trader Joe's) topped w/ tomato sauce, tomato slices, basil, and cheese; and a bowl of chicken & vegetable/bean soup (rotisserie chicken, kale, swiss chard stems, mushrooms, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onions, and shelled edamame. A couple hours later I'll have an apple as my afternoon snack.

Vanessa says …

I sometimes make my husband fish sandwiches for lunch and he loves them! I use whole wheat toast, hummus, a fish fillet (usually leftover from dinner), tomato, onion, and lettuce. I also pack him granola bars, an apple or banana, and celery with peanut butter. Everyone at work always says how lucky he is that his wife packs his lunch. :)

Amy says …

Quinoa salad with chickpeas and an array of veggies in it (blanched green beans, cubed yellow squash, diced tomato, diced cucumber, and other veggies you have on hand) dressed with a smoked paprika and basil lime dressing. Finish that off with a piece of fruit, like the gorgeous plums that are in stores now - YUM!

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