What to Buy at Whole Foods When You Only Have 10 Minutes to Cook

Photo: Abby Maker for Well+Good

On the weekends, spending a couple hours leisurely making a delicious, nourishing dinner can be a relaxing way to destress. But mealtime looks a lot different during the week when your nights are packed with fitness classes, drink dates with friends, or working late at the office. Real talk: When you finally get home, chances are you want something to eat ASAP. And sometimes, you just didn't meal prep in advance.

Stashing a few key items in your fridge and pantry for moments like this is essential. Rounded up here are 10 products that you can have on the table in mere minutes. These are not the TV dinners of the past, full of preservatives and weird chemicals. Now, there's microwavable quinoa, sweet potato fettuccini alfredo, and barbecue jackfruit, all spiced and ready to eat. Consider this your grocery shopping cheat sheet to prepare for those nights when you just can't even.

Keep reading for 10 products to buy at Whole Foods when you only have 10 minutes to cook.

De Wafelbakkers
Photo: De Wafelbakkers

1. De Wafelbakkers A+ Cinnamon Whole Grain Spelt Sweet Potato Pancakes

Dinner isn't the only meal that can require quick assembly—mornings can get pretty rushed, too. These sweet potato pancakes only take 60 seconds to make. (Just pop 'em in the microwave.) Sure, it's not as nutritious as a bowl of oatmeal or plate of eggs and avocado, but it's still a healthier alternative to the standard Bisquick mix—and a lot faster.

Upton's Naturals jackfruit
Photo: Upton's Naturals

2. Upton's Naturals Bar-B-Que Jackfruit

Even if you're a carnivore, this jackfruit kit is worth picking up. You get your barbecue fix in mere minutes and it legit tastes like meat. If you're vegetarian, you know it can be tricky to find a meat-like product not made of soy, but this one is both soy- and gluten-free. Full disclosure: While the ingredients list for this dinner kit is clean—AKA void of any funky preservatives—jackfruit is low in protein, so you'll want to pair it with something—like lentils or beans–to round out your meal.

Grandcestors Cottage Pie
Photo: Grandcestors

3. Grandcestors Paleo Cottage Pie

The ingredients list on this line of Paleo meals is super clean. This one only has grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, organic coconut oil, paprika, and salt. And at 24 grams of protein, you won't be left hungry. Here's what it doesn't have: dairy, soy, or gluten. Oh and bonus, they're Whole30-approved.

Saffron Road fish meal
Photo: Saffron Road

4. Saffron Road Lemongrass Basil Fish Bowl

Unlike many of the brands you'll find in the frozen food section, Saffron Road really prioritizes sourcing. All their meals are non-GMO certified, and their fish are Alaskan wild-caught and were not given antibiotics (something sketchy that happens at many fish farms). Also in this ready-in-5 dish: coconut milk, ginger, green curry paste, turmeric, and basil.

Ancient Harvest microwaveable quionoa
Photo: Facebook/Ancient Harvest

5. Ancient Harvest Microwavable Quinoa

Usually quinoa takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. It's not a terribly long time, but when you're starving, every minute counts. Ancient Harvest just came out with a new microwavable quinoa that's ready in 90 seconds. Besides offering a plain option (seasoned only with sea salt), they have flavored options too, like Chickpeas & Garlic and Lentils & Garlic.

Photo: Caulipower

6. Caulipower Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Not to be outdone by Trader Joe's crazy popular cauliflower pizza crust, Whole Foods stocks its own, by Caulipower. You could go for the margherita or veggie options, or just buy the crust and assemble your personalized one at home (a great option if you want to use dairy-free cheese). Just pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and voila—gluten-free pizza is served.

Lotus Foods volcanic rice
Photo: Lotus Foods

7. Lotus Foods Organic Volcanic Rice

Similar to quinoa, rice is another one of those grains that takes about 20 minutes to cook. But not this one, a blend of brown and red Indonesian rice—it only takes 90 seconds. (And it's non-GMO certified and fair trade, too.) Add some veggies and a protein and you're good to go.

Whole Foods spelt, green lentil, and brown rice
Photo: 365 Every Day Value

8. 365 Spelt, Green Lentil, and Long Brown Rice

Another ready-in-90 seconds rice dinner comes courtesy of the Whole Foods brand itself. This pick is a nutrient-dense mix of spelt, lentils, and brown rice. Rich in fiber and protein, it's another go-to dinner option you can round out by throwing on some veggies.

Pacific Foods Organic Cashew Carrot Ginger
Photo: Pacific Foods

9. Pacific Foods Organic Cashew Carrot Ginger Bisque 

Soup is a quick-dinner go-to, but a lot of what's shelf-stabilized is loaded with sodium and preservatives. But the ingredients on this rich bisque are clean: water, carrots, onions, can sugar, creamed coconut, corn starch, cashews, ginger puree, sea salt, roasted garlic, and cayenne pepper. If you had more time, you could totally whip this up yourself, but buying it just saved you about 30 minutes.

Hungryroot sweet potato fettuccini alfredo
Photo: Hungryroot

10. Hungryroot Sweet Potato Fettuccine Alfredo

The produce section in Whole Foods is where it's at. Next to the fresh guac and pre-chopped sir fry veggies are containers of various vegetable noodles—and it's moved beyond just zucchini. Beets, carrots, and—wait for it—sweet potato are all spiralized and ready to be thrown into a skillet for a few minutes of heating up. Hungryroot goes a step further by making full-on meal kits starring noodles, like this one with a chickpea alfredo sauce. (That's right, it's dairy-free.)

Something else that will keep you well-fed: These genius meal-prepping tips and having these essential ingredients on hand

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