This post is by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of The Snacktivist’s Handbook: How to Change the Junk Food Snack Culture at School, in Sports, and at Camp—and Raise Healthier Snackers at Home. She also collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.
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Several years ago, a friend of mine kept going on and on and on about ALDI. But frankly, I wasn’t convinced. I liked my regular grocery store and my shopping routine. She finally insisted I go with her one day, and she walked me through the store, aisle by aisle, showing me her favorites.
I’ve been an ALDI superfan ever since.
ALDI is where I buy the bulk of our groceries each week. And now I’m the one convincing people to shop there! I know some of you may not be familiar with how ALDI works or think it’s not for you. But I’m here to say that you should try ALDI. And yes, you CAN find lots of items there to stock your real food kitchen. Here’s what you need to know:
ALDI is Different
Unlike typical grocery stores which carry as many as 30,000 different items, ALDI has a smaller inventory of the must-haves and only about 4 – 5 aisles per store. Because there are limited choices for each item – for example, just one or two kinds of peanut butter instead of 15 different brands – it speeds up my shopping. Most weeks, I’m in and out in under 30 minutes.
Items are stocked on shelves in boxes. And instead of name brands, they have their own ALDI exclusive brands like SimplyNature and Specially Selected, which save you up to 50 percent* off national brands. If you’re not happy with something you’ve bought for any reason, take it back and they’ll give you a refund.
You’ll need to rent a cart for a quarter (you’ll get it back when you return the cart), bring your reusable shopping bags (or buy paper or plastic bags at the register), and you’ll bag your own groceries after you check out.
ALDI has a Focus on Healthy Eating
Sure, you can find soda and chips at ALDI just like any other store. But I’ve always been impressed with ALDI’s focus on healthy eating. Three years ago, they established an ALDI Advisory Council of registered dietitians (I’m one of them!). We develop tips for customers and a list of our Dietitian’s Picks to help guide shoppers toward healthy choices.
ALDI has also responded to consumer demands for fewer artificial ingredients. Last year, they removed all added MSG, certified synthetic colors, and hydrogenated oils from their ALDI exclusive brands (which make up 90 percent of what’s on shelves).
Their SimplyNature line is all organic or Non-GMO Project Verified and made without 125 ingredients like artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial preservatives (see the full list of ingredients). And if you’re eating gluten free, ALDI has a line called liveGfree that includes pasta, bread, crackers, and baking mixes.
ALDI is Cheaper
To show you the savings, I did a quick price comparison between ALDI and my local grocery store on a few items. (I compared the ALDI price to the cheapest brand I could find at the grocery store.) Here’s the difference:
Old fashioned oats (42 ounce carton)
LOCAL STORE: $3.89
Organic milk (half gallon)
LOCAL STORE: $3.49
Organic baby food pouches (4 ounces each)
LOCAL STORE: $1.39
Quinoa (per ounce)
LOCAL STORE: $0.50
You’ll save really big on some items and less on others, but in the end, it adds up to significant savings. Each week, I fill up my cart and my bill rarely cracks $100.
ALDI has Real Food
A lot of people are surprised that you can find hemp seeds and organic coconut oil at ALDI! I rounded up a list of items at ALDI that follow Lisa’s Real Food Rules:
- Organic quinoa
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Brown basmati rice
- Organic quick cook brown rice
- Roasted pistachios
- Roasted almonds
- Chopped walnuts
- Milled flax seed
- 100% maple syrup
- Organic wildflower honey
- Organic peanut butter
- Organic apple cider vinegar
- Organic spices
- Old fashioned oats
- Steel cut oats
- Organic shredded wheat cereal
- Pure vanilla extract
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Organic coconut oil
- Organic baby food pouches
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Organic lightly salted popcorn
- Elevation Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars (a dead ringer for LARABARS!)
Produce & Perishables
- Organic brown eggs
- Organic milk
- Organic baby carrots
- Organic Gala apples
- Organic baby spinach
- Organic baby arugula
- Organic spring mix
- Organic frozen fruit
- Organic grass-fed beef
- Organic plain whole milk yogurt
Go here to see if there’s an ALDI in your area.
Are you an ALDI shopper? If so, I’d love to hear what your favorite things are to buy there!
Disclosure: As a member of the ALDI Advisory Council, I do some paid projects for them throughout the year but was not compensated to write this post – just happy to share my love for ALDI!
*Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.