Have you seen these Whole30 Approved® frozen bowls at your local Walmart yet? As of this month, eight delicious varieties of Great Value brand frozen bowls are available at Walmart stores nationwide, all of them Whole30 Approved, and each under $5.
These meals feature American Humane Certified protein, lots of veggies, healthy fats (no vegetable oils here!), and delicious herbs, spices, and sauces perfect for between-meeting bites, fast weeknight dinners, and travel meals. This partnership because is a HUGE step in Whole30’s accessibility efforts, making the program easier for the budget-conscious, and anyone without access to a high-end health food store. They’re also perfect for the business traveler, working parent, college student, and night-shift/construction/field worker.
To give you some background on this partnership, more than a year in the making, here is Whole30 CEO Melissa Hartwig.
Whole30 at Walmart
A few months ago, I shared a dilemma on my Instagram feed. We were considering taking on a new Whole30 partner which would be a HUGE step forward in our accessibility efforts. But their animal protein wasn’t quite up to our standards; it was more humane and responsibly raised than conventional meat, but still not good enough for me to put my Whole30 Approved stamp on it.
This was an impossible decision: putting our name on something that wasn’t up to our standards didn’t feel right, but passing on this opportunity was a huge hit to our inclusion and accessibility efforts. Fortunately, we found a compromise. We wrote into the contract that the producer will provide us with quarterly documentation of their progress towards using GAP certified meat in all of these meals by November 2019. We also have the right to audit their facilities to ensure compliance with our rules and standards.
This means ethically-sourced meals you can feel good about feeding your family. At WALMART. Proudly featuring the Whole30 logo. You get high-quality Whole30 on-the-go and emergency bowls at a price you can afford, and we use your voice and our mission to drive change at the highest level of our retail and food production systems. And if they help your elderly mom, single parent, or rural family of 7 successfully complete the Whole30, that’s a huge win for our mission: Whole30 for all. –Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Co-Founder and CEO
Melissa Answers Your Whole30-At-Walmart Questions
When we introduced these Whole30 Approved Great Value bowls on social media last week, you (naturally) had some excellent questions. I’m proud of the engaged and informed Whole30 community we’ve built, and I want to make sure you have transparent, accurate answers. We’ve collected the most common questions, with answers, here.
How are these processed meals in the spirit of Whole30?
First, “processed” doesn’t automatically mean unhealthy. Your grass-fed burger, frozen cauli-rice, or spiralized “zoodles” are all processed. Second, frozen meals are nothing new to our Whole30 Approved program; Grandcestors and True Fare have been providing you with Whole30 ready-made meals for years. Third, the fact that we offer convenient ways to stay compliant on the program doesn’t take away from the spirit and intention of the Whole30: resetting your health, habits and relationship with food.
These frozen bowls shouldn’t take the place of meal planning, prepping, and cooking at home. And if YOU want to cook 100% of the food you eat from scratch, please do that! (Eating pre-made meals aren’t a necessary part of the program by any means.) But cooking every meal from scratch is unrealistic for many. At the extreme, we’ve heard from a couple living in a camper after their house was destroyed by fire; parents living in a hotel while their child receives treatment at an out-of-state hospital; and the daughter of a sickly elderly woman in an assisted care facility. More common, however, are busy working parents who are sometimes stuck late at the office, business travelers who have to find meals on-the-go in strange cities, and college students working and going to school full-time.
ALL of them want to complete a Whole30, and see these meals as a godsend. And I want to serve each and every one of them, regardless of their budget, access to a health food store, and capacity to meal prep. (See below for some of my favorite testimonials.)
So please don’t suggest these people aren’t “Whole30 enough” because they’re leaning on emergency meals like these to see their commitment through. I’m proud of this partnership, and this huge leap forward in accessibility. I’d never have put my name on it if I didn’t stand behind the ingredients, the philosophy, and the shift this represents. They might not be a fit for YOUR Whole30, but respect those who are doing the best they can with what they have to change their lives with the program.
What are the eight flavors/varieties?
Chicken Coconut Curry, Harvest Chicken, Indian Butter Chicken, Mediterranean Chicken, Orange Chicken, Pesto Chicken, Rosemary Chicken, and Barbecue Chicken.
Can I get these at my Walmart?
The Whole30 Approved Great Value bowls are carried in about 4,000 Walmart stores nationwide; if the Walmart near you carries “better for you” frozen brands, it’s likely you’ll find these Whole30 Approved bowls there, too. Call or visit your local store to see if they’re stocking these bowls.
Can we get the bowls in Canada?
I wish we could send ALL the Whole30 Approved things across the border to you. Alas, things are complicated when it comes to shipping, distribution and international borders. Our team is hopeful the Great Value bowls might be available to you in Canada someday, and in general we are trying to partner with more Canada based brands (like Good Food For Good and Natura Market).
How can you be sure that Walmart won’t sneak in lower-quality ingredients?
I assure you, this is top priority for us as well. We have an audit clause written into our contract, and the right to inspect their facilities and production at any time during the partnership to confirm compliance. They are mandated to provide us with detailed quarterly reporting as to their efforts to move towards GAP certified protein.
We have been working on this partnership for more than a year. The individuals involved are 100% on board with a Whole30 approach, many having done the program themselves. The entire team recognizes and respects our rules and standards. We know their entire team respects our mission and community, but we also have the right (and will exercise this right) to verify through an independent audit.
I thought microwaving food isn’t as healthy as other cooking methods.
Actually, microwaving doesn’t reduce nutrition any more than any other cooking method. In some cases, because cooking time is shorter and vegetables steam inside the packaging, it actually preserves micronutrients! (That’s what Harvard says, at least, and I trust their opinion.) However, you are free to transfer the meals to a skillet to reheat that way; works just as well. Shanna, our director of digital content, plops the contents of a bowl into a small cast-iron skillet and sticks it in a 350 degree oven until it’s simmering.
Are there additives or preservatives in these meals?
The meals have very few additives (like potato starch or citric acid), as do all shelf-stable or frozen in-store options. (Please note, any mention of “sulfites” are naturally occurring in the vinegar, NOT added.) These are additives that have always been compliant with the program. Check out our Common Additives Cheat Sheet for more information about which additives are okay for your Whole30.
Why does the nutritional label say, “contains milk”?
You’ll see this allergy warning on all the meals that contain ghee, because all ghee comes from dairy. Don’t worry, however—ghee is Whole30 compliant.
Why does the nutritional label say, “contains sulfiting agents”?
We checked on this one, and confirmed the balsamic used in this meal has no ADDED sulfites. Due to USDA labeling regulations, this line must be part of the ingredients. (According to the Code of Federal Regulations, this language must be included when sulfites are detected at an amount < 10PPM. Sulfites at this level are a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation.)
What is the sodium content?
The sodium content tends to vary based on the variety you choose, but like all processed foods, it will be higher than meals made from scratch. Most varieties contain around 460 mg (about the same as an Applegate hot dog), but a few contain around 670 mg (about 1/3 of your recommended daily consumption, according to the government) and the Mediterranean Chicken is the highest, with 850 mg. Do your Whole30 label-reading to determine if the sodium content on these bowls align with your preferences or your health care provider’s recommendations.
Why YOU Love the Whole30 Approved Meals at Walmart
I am a college student supporting myself. I completed a Whole30 four years ago when I was a sophomore in high school, and continue to eat based around the program and my own food freedom.
Working part time in a restaurant, going to school full time, trying to juggle a social life, volunteering, and a thousand other things gets in the way of eating the way I want to, whether it be money or time to prep a meal. Your Great Value meals are the boost I needed. I can’t thank you enough for the time and money you have saved me to eat the way that makes me feel best!! If these were created for anyone, they were definitely created for me! – Sydney H.
The most exciting thing about this is the use of good fats! You can find grain free frozen items … but they all have soybean oil. So excited for this movement in the right direction. – @cmportman on Instagram
We live in the boonies and only have a Walmart nearby. They have been a lifesaver for our family since we are living in a camper until our house is finished. It has been hard to meal prep and these have totally filled the gap for our family. My husband can throw one in his Hot Logic while on the road and has a perfect lunch for less then $5! Thank you so much for thinking of ways to make clean eating more accessible. [email protected] on Instagram
The new meals at Walmart are SO important and helpful!! My mom lost her husband 1-1/2 years ago and she NEEDS a Whole30 lifestyle to help with so many health issues. I finally talked her into it this past June. Her biggest complaint was the cost. I bought her condiments and sauces because her budget is so tight, but she still said it was too difficult. I pray this is the boost she needs to try again. – Kelly
Life is hard sometimes, and this just made my [upcoming] January Whole 30 much easier. I work and parent full-time. I try to always meal prep and cook even when I’m not on Whole30, but it’s not always feasible. I am definitely stocking my freezer at home and work with these for emergencies. [email protected] on Instagram
Stock up on Whole30 Approved Meals at Walmart
You’ll find these Whole30 Approved Great Values bowls at 4,000 Walmart stores across the US. (You’ll find them in the freezer section, with Whole30 Approved Grandcestors and other Paleo/health-conscious meals.)
If you don’t see them in YOUR store, call or visit your store’s manager, and ask! (And if the shelves above that $4.98 price tags are all empty, rest assured they’re restocking as fast as they can every few days.)
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