A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Clean eating: Turn whole foods into fast meals

Kale Super Food 4-10 inside

Include veggies in your whole foods diet with a salad.

Editor’s note: This post is one in a series with information to help you on the road to clean eating with a whole foods diet. Here we feature a lunch recipe.

Have you ever found yourself scrambling to get out the door and have no lunch for your workday? This is an easy way to fail in your whole foods plan. Fast food, break room snacks or vending machines start to take over.

Plan and pack lunches before they’re needed to avoid daily chaos and succeed in your whole foods diet.

Shelly Wildenberg, a Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian, suggests batch cooking and food preparation to prep as much as you can ahead of time. Make many portions of one or more meals at the same time to save some or all for upcoming lunches.

“Batch cooking works well with soups or salads, but it can be applied to other recipes, too,” she said. “Make a large batch and have some for dinner, save leftovers for lunches, or portion all of it into lunches for upcoming work days.”

Include veggies

“I strongly encourage patients to eat veggies by lunch time. It’s difficult to meet your recommended vegetable intake if you haven’t had any by lunch.”

Include veggies in your whole foods diet with a salad. Or, batch cook lean protein like fish or chicken and vegetables. Portion them together with a serving of whole grains.

Try this salad recipe

Kale Super Salad makes four servings. Divide it into five servings to cut calories or cover your entire week’s lunches.

“For a larger portion size, add extra kale, cabbage or lettuce. These ingredients increase nutrition, but not calories,” Wildenberg said.

Be flexible with ingredients, she added. If you don’t like kale, replace it with your preferred green. Substitute your cheese of choice over feta or Parmesan, and olive oil vinaigrette as dressing if you’re short on avocados.

Make salads in jars for easy-to-transport meals. We teach you how to perfect jar salads and feature a similar salad variation here >

Kale Super Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Servings: 4-5 salads



  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale (approximately 1 pound)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 14-ounce can black beans (unsalted), drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted nuts of your choice

Avocado *dressing:

  • 1-1/2 avocados**
  • 1 lime or 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water

*Olive oil vinaigrette makes a healthy alternative to avocado dressing. You may wish to use this if prepping a week’s salads as avocado dressing turns brown within a couple days.

**A bright green avocado takes two to four days to ripen on your counter. Avocados turn dark green when they’re ripe. Ripe avocados are slightly soft with no indentations other than the naturally rough surface. Flesh is light green, not brown. Cut out brown spots if needed. After avocados ripen, transfer them to the refrigerator to prevent further ripening. Refrigerating gives avocados up to a couple more weeks.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and chop sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch cubes. Place potatoes on baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix to evenly coat. Bake, and then stir after 15 minutes. Put potatoes back into oven until brown (about 40 minutes). Remove from oven to cool.

While sweet potatoes bake, cook quinoa with 2 cups water in medium pot. Bring to gentle boil, then cover and reduce heat to low simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove lid and stir occasionally to cool.

Combine avocado, lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic and 1/4 cup water in food processor (preferred) or bowl. You can mash a ripe avocado with a fork if you don’t have a food processor.

Combine kale and quinoa in a separate mixing bowl. Add extra kale, cabbage or lettuce as desired.

Divide all ingredients into four or five bowls: kale and quinoa mixture, sweet potato cubes, beans and dressing. If you are saving salad for the next day, keep dressing separate. If you opt to make this a jar salad, put dressing on bottom of jar and top with remaining salad ingredients.

Nutrition information

Nutrition information is based on four equal parts and avocado dressing. Nutrition content varies based on dressing and cheese choice: 585 calories; 23 g protein; 25 g fat; 75 g carbohydrates; 53 g net carbohydrates, 22 g fiber and 638 mg sodium.

Source: Recipe adapted from cookieandkate.com

Download Salad Recipe

More clean eating tips and recipes

How to begin a whole foods diet

Make a whole foods breakfast

Whole foods dinner and eating out tips

One Response
  1. Aug 25, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

View our comment policy