Healthy Never Tasted So Good 5

Dine at Whole Foods Market Chandler for a variety of fresh meals and healthy menu offerings.

Were you ambushed by appetizers over the holidays? Was your diet decimated by side dishes too delish to resist? Did you crumble before the cookies and cakes?

Relax and relish in the fact that it’s a new year and you can make a new start. What’s more, eating healthy and light is easier than you might imagine, thanks to many of the menu offerings at Whole Foods Market Chandler. The spacious store, located off the Loop 101 and Chandler Boulevard, features a number of food bars and dining areas – including a pizzeria, hot food, a smokehouse, a taqueria and a sandwich station – where you can get a quick meal to go for one or bring in the whole family to dine in. Indeed, there’s something here for everyone, even those with vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian diets.

“This is the place to come to get a lot of different meal options,” says Amber Gough, metro marketing field team leader for Tempe and Chandler Whole Foods locations. “Even if we don’t have something listed on the menu, we can probably pull it from the grocery aisle for you. If we can say ‘yes’ to it, we will.”

Not sure where to begin? Gough suggested starting with a few customer favorites:

  • Vegan Italian Pizza – Made with seasonal vegetables (our version was topped with squash, button mushrooms, spinach and zucchini, then seasoned with fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, Italian seasoning and olive oil), this nutrient-packed slice of greens is so satisfying you won’t even notice there’s no cheese.

“It’s one of our biggest sellers,” says Joe LaSpina, prepared foods team leader, adding that Whole Foods also uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
  • California Quinoa Salad – The slightly nutty-tasting combo of red quinoa and edamame is mixed with mango pieces, red bell pepper, almonds, raisins, cilantro, red onion and coconut flakes plus a splash of lime juice and balsamic vinegar for a delightful spicy-meets-sweet experience that also packs in the protein. This salad is labeled as one of the store’s Health Starts Here® options, which means they are nutrient-dense, contain only healthy fats, are plant-strong™ (the fiber, protein and phytonutrients come from plants) and made using whole foods, those in a pure and unprocessed form.

“That label means it’s food that’s good for you,” Gough says. “You don’t have to read the ingredients or even think about it.”
  • Kale Waldorf Salad – This pretty little mountain of kale – which is full of vitamins and minerals – gets dressed to the nines with bits of apples, celery, carrots, walnuts and raisins, and then topped off with mint and a dressing made of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, apple syrup and salt. And the bonus?

“This is pretty easy to make at home,” LaSpina says.
  • Beef Lettuce-Wrap Tacos – Romaine lettuce envelops shredded sharp cheddar cheese, onion and chunks of Step 1 Rated beef that’s been treated to a zesty green-chili marinade that gives it a real kick. Lots of other toppings are available, too, at the made-to-order taqueria station. Whole Foods is proud to use the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards on its beef, chicken and pork, and Step 1 calls for no antibiotics, no added growth hormones and no animal by-products in the feed.

“We love the program because it’s all about transparency,” Gough says.
  • Vegan Chicken and Slaw Sandwich – Either ensconced within a flour tortilla or nestled inside a hoagie roll, Beyond Meat’s vegan chicken may surprise even the most hardcore carnivore with its authentic-looking texture and appearance.

“A lot of people love this brand of vegan meat, and it comes in a lot of varieties,” Gough says of Beyond Meat, the chicken version of which is made with soy and pea protein. Pile on the healthy extras – crisp cucumber slices, creamy avocado slices, lettuce and a spicy ranch-style dressing with slaw – and you’ll have a plate that’s clean in no time.
  • Chandler Garden Smoothie – That luscious green color alone (courtesy of spinach, cucumber, basil and kale) makes your brain realize this is one über-healthy beverage, but the bright, sweet undertones (courtesy of coconut water, frozen pineapple and mango) make your mouth say, “It’s a treat!” Grab a straw and slurp down some of the tastiest nourishment around. And if greens aren’t your thing, there are 17 other smoothie flavors to try, plus four kinds of juice and plenty of wheat grass shots.

See? It really is simple to eat right and even to do so, so to speak, in your own backyard. So, let (caloric) bygones be bygones and welcome 2016 with a healthy new approach.

Visit WholeFoodsMarket.com for healthy recipes, weekly specials and online ordering.