Monday, September 8, 2014

A Secret to Eating Healthy Food on a Tight Budget

Aldi can be a strange place. I've been to some Aldi stores where you never know whats lurking in the dimly-lit corners, or under all of those pallets of freeze pops in the plastic tubes. Our neighborhood store is very clean and very neat. Actually, they've watched us multiply over the last five years. It's almost like family. Okay... it's nothing like family. But we see familiar faces every time we go and that's nice. They stock the store pretty well with organic products. We don't buy 100% organic, but I do make an effort. If you're gluten free they have tons of options! No one in my family has gluten intolerance, but if we did I would be stocking up because those products are so expensive elsewhere. Anyhow- I can shop the whole store in about twenty-ish minutes, which is also a benefit when you have kids with you. It takes me over an hour at Shop-Rite.

Here's what I buy at Aldi in my perfect world. Sometimes I buy other things there that I don't prefer just because I can't make another stop that day. Another important thing to remember is that you can eat healthier by starting with the most basic ingredients you can find. Rather than buying something prepackaged, I make it. I can do this because I'm at home and have the time to do it. We aren't earning as much income since I stay at home, but I do my best to make up the difference by preparing/growing as much of our food myself as I can.

Cheese- Shredded Cheese (Mozzarella and Cheddar); Cheese Sticks; I'm not crazy about their sliced cheese but sometimes I buy it.
MILK. Like, 3+ gallons at a time.
Eggs, unless I am stocked with fresh from my in-law's chickens.
Yogurt (regular or organic)
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Half and Half
Butter (sometimes regular, sometimes organic)
*Disclaimer- If we removed dairy from our diet I'm actually not quite sure my kids would be eating. They don't do much meat, but they make up for that in cheese products. Kind of scary.*

Organic Grass-fed ground beef. It was on sale for a little over $3 a pound this week! Awesome. I stocked up.
Turkey Bacon
Veggie Burgers (not meat, but I put it in that category)
The rest of my meat I try to get from the butcher shop (Joe's). We don't eat a ton, so one stop there lasts us a while.

Ok, here's where things get tricky. They do have organic produce now, which is amazing. In the past few years things have changed in this area a lot. I get 99% of the vegetables and fruit we eat from farm stands and our garden. I try to preserve what I can for the winter. But when that runs out, we shop Aldi and I have been happy with what we've gotten. Also, who can resist strawberries in August for 99 cents a quart? Not us. Or those little oranges? Or pineapples? Yeah, we buy all those there.

Frozen Food:
POPSICLES. I make the kid's popsicles in these little silicone molds, But I have a popsicle addiction that I spend the big $$ on ;)
Ice Cream- I prefer to wait and go to ShopRite and shop whatever is on sale there, but if I'm at Aldi and need ice cream, we have purchased it and its been fine.
Frozen Potatoes
Frozen Steamable Veggies (for quick dinners)

Pastas have been the same quality as the grocery store
Flour- I bake and I'm not a 'flour snob,' so store brand works.
Nuts- Any nuts they sell have been excellent! I think I've tried all the varieties. We have a big container of trail mix made up in the cabinet at any given time.
Chicken Broth- They offer organic chicken broth much cheaper than other stores
Snack food- Pretzels, tortilla chips, etc have all been good.
Breads: My husband makes demands for white bread, and their basic white is terrible! But their Italian white is OK, he says. I like their large pan wheat bread. Bagels are as good as the other stores. They don't sell bread flour here, so I need to go elsewhere to buy bread for my bread machine. I make our pizza dough and Italian loaves using the bread machine.
Coffee- Fair trade dark roast coffee! We love it! Other's don't... so, that's your preference. But it's only $3.99.
Specials- Right now they carry La Croix seltzer water in 15 packs. Seltzer is my favorite drink in the world. I used to go to Shop Rite some weeks JUST to stock up on cans of seltzer water. When I saw it in Aldi last week I thought, "Wow. That's convenient." And then I bought more groceries at Aldi because I didn't NEED to make the trip to Shop-Rite.

What do you buy at Aldi? What have you purchased that isn't great?

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! It is really helpful suggestion for the limited budget person to get their healthy food. I much appreciate this type of useful and helpful article. Thanks



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