The Best Quick Meals You Can Grab At Whole Foods

Here's a scenario you're probably familiar with: You're ravenous, in a hurry, and want a satisfying, wholesome meal that delivers flavor and nutrients. It's Whole Foods or bust; a place you can rush in famished, and dash out holding a healthy bag of goodies without breaking the bank.

But walk through the doors of this massive grocery store and it's nearly impossible to decide what to choose. When you're hungry, everything looks and smells fantastic. Thankfully, the folks at Reddit surveyed Whole Foods employees to find out what affordable foods they eat when hunger pangs strike. Their answers may surprise you. Sure, there's the massive salad bar of hot and cold foods – but at $8.99 per pound, things can get pricey quickly (via Spoon University).

Thankfully, WFM folks know how to make cheap meals fast. Seems getting creative with a package of spring mix is a common practice; and a great way to springboard greens into a complete meal. Contents vary by brand, but spring mix typically features a colorful blend of baby lettuces, spinach, arugula, kale, chard, frisse, and radicchio. Staffers stuff the greens into burritos or top the mix with items from the salad bar – which means the lettuce doesn't hit the scale. It's a complete, money-saving meal in minutes (via Delish).

What's hot and what's not

Food from the hot bar can be ultra-satisfying, but not always healthy or affordable (via The Kitchn). Seems Whole Foods doesn't always mean Whole-some. That said, there are some fan favorites, including the mac and cheese, tofu nuggets, salmon in ginger sauce, and all the cooked chicken, from wings to fingers, BBQ, jerk, and tequila-lime (via Chowhound). Grab samples to keep the calories and weight (on the scale) down and nestle everything over the aforementioned mixed greens.

According to My Domaine, there are some delectable hot and cold food items that wholly satisfy without tipping the scale. Consider the eggplant parmesan, vegetarian masala, coconut and/or veggie fried rice, quinoa salad, grilled chicken alfredo, and fettuccine with roasted tomatoes. How about fresh-baked bread at an affordable price? Whole Foods bakes fresh loaves on-site daily, and prices are comparable to what you'd find on the shelf. Plus, they never use any refined sugar, artificial flavors, or bleached flour (via Business Insider).

If you're looking for something a little smaller, and not so steamy, follow the lead of the WFM team and grab some hummus with carrots and/or pita chips, 365 almond milk to pour over 365 cereal, and yogurt with fresh fruit. Especially when those items are on sale.