How do I make a healthy meal in a hot bar

  • Whole Foods Food Court can be pricey, but you can get a balanced meal on the go.
  • Over time, I’ve refined my approach to the hot bar for a healthy, filling meal from the store.
  • My bowl combines carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables.

The Whole Foods hot bar and salad bar is filled with healthy, well-crafted food options that can make a solid lunch or dinner.

While it may be pricey, you can get a healthy meal full of protein, fiber, carbs, and vitamins on the go.

I got my first food court bowl in 2017. Over the years, I’ve improved the bowl to make it as healthy and balanced a meal as possible. I don’t do it all the time, but it’s an occasional treat.

I start with the sweet potato

Squeeze three sweet potatoes from the salad bar on the side of the bowl.

One sweet potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, which provide an energy boost, and 3.9 grams of fiber, which helps balance energy levels.

Regular potatoes can be a source of carbs and some vitamins as well, but sweet potatoes are more vitamin and potassium dense for the amount of calories and carbs they provide.

Put a rice base next to the sweet potatoes

There is a big ladle next to the rice bowl, try filling three quarters of the ladle with rice to fit the bowl – roughly two thirds of the cup

Rice is also a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.

Most whole food stores also have a pot of brown rice across from the bar, which is more dense in fiber and vitamins like





Choose your protein

Whole Foods Sweet Potato

My bowl combines carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables.

by jackson thompson

The hot bar has many healthy protein options, but the lean cuts of beef stew make it the best fit given its soft shape and texture.

I like to switch up protein every time because too much red meat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Other favorite proteins for this method include chickpeas, grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, or chicken tikka from the hot bar for an extra kick of spice.

Put three pieces of protein on top of the rice, leaving room for the vegetables.

Fill the rest of the cup with vegetables

I usually choose broccoli, which is rich in calcium, and will try to get at least five pieces in the top of the cup if not more. There are also green beans, spinach and kale in the salad bar.

After practice, I will add more

If I need a calorie boost, I’ll add 2 more sweet potatoes and beef, a larger scoop of rice, and about twice as much veggies.

This story has been updated to remove details about Whole Foods food court pricing.

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