I’m just going to say it: Whole Foods is kind of a weird place to me. It’s a little bit intimidating with all of its trendy healthy foods. Some I’ve never even heard of, let alone know how to cook or cut into (I haven’t even mastered cutting mangos, so don’t you dare confront me with a jack fruit. Am I alone? … Help!). But they do have the Chao Vegan Cheese Slices I love, so I have popped in a few times to pick up some of that goodness.
I have not yet visited the new, beautiful and heath-foodie-friendly Whole Foods location on Pennsylvania Avenue (the shame!). But don’t worry, it’s on my to-do list for this weekend (really!). And now I have a cheat sheet of sorts for my first trip (and so do you!): Here, we got a slew of Philly personal trainers to dish on what they throw in their carts at Whole Foods. Their answers: 15 mostly healthy, must-try foods, from $3 frozen samosas to nori sheets you can sub in for wraps, and more. So grab some paper and a pencil because your grocery list is about to get a little bit longer. (Psst: If you’re headed to Trader Joe’s this weekend, we’ve got Philly fitness pro-approved buys for TJ’s here.)
Emerald Cove Organic Sushi Nori Sheets
“I love sushi, but I find it to be overpriced at most restaurants. Instead, I make my own with these nori sheets! I fill them with several different veggies, beans and whole grains. Sometimes, I will even use a nori sheet as a wrap instead of using a processed pre-made wrap or tortilla. My favorite combo is Japanese sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, cucumber, purple cabbage and black eyed peas. I highly recommend topping your roll with The Ginger People’s pickled Sushi Ginger — it’s the perfect sweet and savory medley.” Lydia Halbert, personal trainer and nutrition health coach
Whole Foods Market Coconut Chicken Tenders
“These guys are one of my top go-tos at Whole Foods. No, they’re not the absolute healthiest, but they’re delicious and make me feel like a kid again. I throw them in the oven on high for about seven minutes and eat them as is, or cut them up and throw them on top of a salad with a little hot sauce, blue cheese, and celery (you can thank me later).” Jayel Lewis, JL Fitness.
Ak-Mak Sesame Cracker
“These low-fat crackers are a true gem! Five crackers for under 100 calories has these babies at the top of my list. I use them for a little extra crunch when I’m eating tuna or hummus — I just love the different textures! You can get really creative with these whole-wheat crackers while sticking to your carb goals. They’re whole-wheat and organic to boot!” Serena Scanzillo, SerenaFit.
365 frozen fruits and veggies
“Their 365 Everyday Value Organic brand is amazing and reasonably priced. I use a lot of their frozen fruits and spinach for smoothies and protein bowls!” Shoshana Katz, Body Cycle Studio.
“How can you pass up some fresh Guacamole? Every time I walk in the door at Whole Foods I’m greeted by a huge bowl of fresh guac being prepared. I just want to throw my face in it. Yes, I love guac that much. But, to avoid a scene, I opt for the container and continue my shopping.” Jordan Hankins, The Fit Complex.
Farm-Raised Salmon Fillets Club Pack
“I’m obsessed with the packaging and quality of these salmon fillets. They’re about 5 ounces each, individually wrapped and very fresh. The price is only $21 for six fillets! And that has me set for the entire week. I use different seasonings when I’m cooking as well: lemon and pepper, or a smoked pepper rub, or lemon and garlic! Pair these fillets with quinoa and veggies and you’ve got the perfect lunch or dinner.” Serena Scanzillo, SerenaFit.
Santa Cruz Light Roasted Chunky Peanut Butter
“So, my favorite peanut butter is the Santa Cruz Light Roasted Chunky and it’s really hard to find, but Whole Foods has it! My indulgent peanut butter is the Whole Foods’ Fresh Ground Honey Roasted Peanut Butter. Don’t try it. You’ll be addicted and hate me.” Shoshana Katz, Body Cycle Studio.
Engine 2 Plant Strong Traditional Hummus
“This hummus hits every mark! It has minimal ingredients, is low in fat and sodium and doesn’t have any added extracted oils. It is as simple as fresh, steamed chickpeas, water, sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, cumin and guar gum. I enjoy topping it with smoked paprika and cracked pepper, then pairing with cucumber and sliced peppers. It’s also a great substitute for salad dressing!” Lydia Halbert, personal trainer and nutrition health coach
Whole Foods Market Tandoori Chicken Samosas
“When I’m hosting, these are a MUST. Toss them in the oven for no more than 15 minutes, pair with an all-natural jelly spread and you have a filling and substantial offering for your guests. Two samosas in a serving and all the taste — I love to have these go-to mini meals on hand. The kicker? They’re only $3!” Serena Scanzillo, SerenaFit.
Herb-Rubbed Rotisserie Chicken
“I eat a lottttt of protein. They have a variety of different rotisserie chicken flavors including cajun, jerk, herb, lemon pepper, Peruvian, tequila lime, and naked. It’s an easy lunch, dinner or midday snack for when I’m hustling between clients and need a quick, protein-rich energy source. I often eat it with Hope Foods hummus as a snack. But for dinner I’ll usually pair it with brown rice, lentils, and a hint of franks red hot.” Jordan Hankins, The Fit Complex.
Pre-Made Rice Bowls
“One of the more recent finds I’ve discovered is their pre-made rice bowls (found by the rotisserie chickens). I like very simple meals, so a protein (usually beef or salmon), vegetables, and some rice is perfect for me. The fact that it’s already made, hot, and ready to go, makes it a perfect meal for when I’m short on time.” Brian Maher, Philly Personal Training.
Suzie’s Whole Grain Thin Cakes
“This is one of my go-to snacks. Made with natural whole grains, they are a healthy, plant-based option to satisfy a crunchy craving! I recommend topping them with mashed beans or hummus, cucumber and bean sprouts.” Lydia Halbert, personal trainer and nutrition health coach
“The juice bar is a great place to stop for a post-workout pick-me-up. They have juices, power shots, farmstand freezes, smoothies, and my favorite, the acai smoothie bowl. You can find all the nutrients you need to help you fully recover after a workout in the acai bowl, made with just a few simple ingredients: Acai, banana, peanut butter, blueberries, almond milk, and granola.” Jordan Hankins, The Fit Complex.
“Not that this is super specific to Whole Foods, but I do hit the sushi bar almost every time I go. Usually, sushi not from a restaurant is not quite the same, but I think the sushi at Whole Foods is as close to the real thing as it gets. I’m always looking for ways to free up time, so if I can find something to eat that’s already prepared and healthy, I’ll always give it a try.” Brian Maher, Philly Personal Training.
365 Everyday Organic Quinoa
“Quinoa is my favorite plant-based food. It’s a complete protein, it contains almost twice as much fiber as most grains and is rich in iron and magnesium. I find that Whole Foods carries some pretty affordable varieties. For extra saving, purchase in the bulk bin section! I usually stock up with a huge bag and make it for the entire week ahead.” Lydia Halbert, Certified Physical Trainer and Nutrition Coach.
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