Taking a Break for Grocery Shopping

I love grocery shopping. Its relaxing, fun, and I like scoping out all of the products, doing some comparison shopping, and educating myself on the food my family eats. My usual round for a week is Aldi first, then either Meijer or Eurofresh to get whatever else we need. (In a pinch, I'll go somewhere else, but I don't think I ever leave that store happy that I went there in the first place.)

Around our house, for the most part, we eat fresh food, made from ingredients, not pre-packaged mixes or starters. I keep a few convenience foods on hand, but even those are pretty carefully vetted so that I know its good stuff that's going in (GIGO, right?).

And if you do most of your eating in this same way, did you know that you can do most of your shopping at Aldi? Many think that to get "real" food, you need to shop at specialty food stores. But even then, if you look at a lot of their pre-packaged foods, they're not always better for you than the food you'll find at a regular grocery store. And despite assumptions, not all of the products are organic (You know what happens when you assume...) so just be sure to look at the label if that's what you're going for. In fact, some of the vegetarian/vegan items have so many additives to pump up the flavor volume that you're not doing yourself much good. And here's the kicker - did you know that Aldi and one of those stores are owned by the same company?! I was pretty surprised when I found out about this myself, but it makes total sense. Here's a snippet from this article:

"It really comes down to the small formats, well-edited assortments and 
value pricing of unique private-brand products."

Describing Trader Joe's or Aldi? Hard to tell. Probably because they're both based on store-specific brands with limited but varied stock. Interesting business model, eh?

There is a lot of discussion to be had about organic foods vs. non-organic, GMO vs. non-GMO, but just not right now. If you're looking to use fresh, whole, healthy, real ingredients in your family's food, give Aldi some consideration! To get you started, here's a looong list of what we have in our house from Aldi* on a regular basis (and if you're interested in a nice litte "How To" for Aldi stores, check out this three-part series over on Gimme Some Oven).

Pantry Staples & Baking Supplies
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
White Sugar
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
White Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Cooking Spray
Spices/Spice Mixes
100% Apple Juice
Dried Fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots)
Canned Tomatoes (diced, crushed, paste, sauce)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti (organic)
Tuna in Water
Corn Tortillas
Instant Brown Rice
Pure Maple Syrup

Dairy & Deli
Almond Milk
Orange Juice (not from concentrate)
Greek Yogurt Cups
Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
Sour Cream
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Queso Fresco
Laughing Cow-Type Cheese
Cheese Sticks (organic)
Shredded Cheese
Goat Cheese

Chicken Breasts
Pork Ribs
Ground Turkey
Ground Beef
Reduced Sodium Bacon (no artificial sweeteners)

Frozen Fruit (berries, mango, peaches)
Frozen Vegetables (beans, broccoli, blends)

Fresh Produce
Baby Spinach
Green Beans
Baby Carrots
Tomatoes on the Vine
Grape Tomatoes
Sweet  Corn
Bell Peppers
Green Onions
Butternut Squash

Here are a few foods we buy from Aldi that are regulars on our grocery, even if the product itself has more than one or two ingredients:

Whole Wheat Bread (no HFCS)
English Muffins

All Natural Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Jennie-O Italian Turkey Sausage

Marinara Sauce (regular and organic)
Multi-Grain O's Cereal

**BTW, Aldi does not know who I am, except for the cashier who sees me every Monday when I check out. And she's really friendly and so patient when I'm managing check-out and the kids at the same time; but even she doesn't know I'm writing about how great Aldi is.

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