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.
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
For more of my favorite items at ALDI, check out this post and this post from my blog.
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.
56 thoughts on “How to Find Real Food at ALDI”
I have been shopping at Aldi’s for a long time. Sure beats the overpriced food at some of the other stores.
I was a massive fan of Aldi in the U.K but I live in NZ now so no Aldi but I live in hope that they will launch here one day.
I went to our Aldi when it first opened here. It was such and nasty smelly store I never went back. Maybe they’ve improved and I need to give it another try.
Our Aldi just in the last two weeks also started carrying a lot more organic items to include various organic cheeses and organic chicken – breast and whole. I was THRILLED!!!
I like their mini organic cukes, peppers and greens…super reasonable and even conventional is reasonable.. sometimes ot isnt great but that is normal anywhere. I find a lot of things as well. I was a naysayer and then I started shopping there. Some things I think have more fillers..bread items but otherwise it is good. I just buy about 70% of our food there.
I absolutely love Aldi and have been a very loyal shopper for years especially once they took out the food dyes which a been a big blessing! But I often find “yeast extract” in their products as well as Trader Joes’ and it’s always been my understanding that is another name for MSG so I’m not sure that they actually removed as much as they advertise.
We recently got an Aldi here last year. I currently do the bulk of my shopping there. For our family of 6, I usually spend about $125 or less depending on our needs for the trip. We buy mostly organic there, which makes me feel good about what we are eating. Every once in awhile, the produce isn’t all that, but I could say the same for our regular grocery stores. They don’t have everything we buy, but buying there for a bulk of our groceries saves me $200 or more per month from what I was spending plus we can afford more organic and clean foods. I’ll take that!
I have been waiting for someone to post about real food at Aldi, so I was super excited to see this post! Thanks!
I was super excited when one was built near me but I haven’t been as happy shopping there as I thought. I will agree that prices are lower but their produce is very hit and miss both on having items and the freshness of it. I still shop there occasionally but not like I thought.
Aldi is cheaper than Trader Joes. I start my shopping at Aldi and then finish at T.J.’s because Aldi doesn’t always have everything. I did this in reverse one day and found some of the same items cheaper at Aldi. Shopped there years ago when I lived in MI moved to VA no Aldi until this past year. Lucky me!
I wish our Aldi’s had all these choices. But alas, it does not. Very few healthy, organic options (or gluten free). But what’s worse, the store smells terrible. Really stinky! I hadn’t been there since it opened, and so tried again last week, and yep, it still smells awful. Like spoiled milk. We do have another one that just opened in my town. I’m going to check it out and see if it might be better.
I love Aldi. As a previous commenter said, I barely shop the bigger markets except for things I can’t find at Aldi (ginger root, curry seasonings, etc). I love spending less for organic salad greens, steel cut oats, and whole wheat flatbread wraps just to name a few!
I shop at Aldi’s all the time. It’s my starting place. I am all the time, sharing with others about my finds and they can’t believe it. I just tell to check it out for themselves. I do wish they would make more”low-sodium, preferably, no-sodium” products. Yay for Aldi!!!!
We don’t have Aldi in WA state but our equivalent would be Grocery Outlet. I went yesterday and got a great number of things but I still had to.go to my grocery store for some things. We also have a local store called that has good deals. I like to go to one store especially since I always have kids with me. But I have found great deals when I go to these discount places. It’s nice to have options.
I almost exclusively buy at Aldi now. They have so many choices and better choices at that for my family especially some with gluten sensitivities. I love getting all the items that my kids love and they are not filled with artificial colors and preservatives.
I’ve shopped at Aldi for 30+ years and the changes in the few years have been significant. It’s given me more leverage to convince serious foodie friends to start their shopping there and save some serious money. I really don’t know how I would have survived over the years without this grocery store and now I can even do organic and natural for a much more affordable cost! I almost feel like I should send them a Christmas card I’ve been shopping
there for so long. LOL
I LOVE ALDI,I SHOP THERE TWICE A MONTH, AND DRIVE 19 MILES, A ND STILL SAVE $,I’VE BEEN GOING TO PLANT CITY STORE SINCE IT OPENED SAVE $ GET MORE PRODUCTS
Wasn’t a believer. Till 1 of my computer workers insisted I try it. So husband and I went one week, I carefully shopped the aisles. Husband loves the odds and ends they sell, own pantry carpet, fan, baby items for a baby shower, shoes, yoga pants. Of my fav a pan. Love it. Rolls, sandwich meat, chicken salad with walnuts and cranberry. Yummy. Love my new pan. When buying it placing it in the cart, husband asked if I was purchasing it. Hope just taking it for a ride thru the store then I’ll put it back. Has 1 lady laughing. Bought cooler bag for my lunch break, I shop very little at the BIG markets. Love it. Try their pancake flavored syrups yummy. I could go on and on. Ok, so I’m a fan
I love Aldi–great food and easy on the wallet :) I really like their produce and organic meats!
Aldi is greatness! I absolutely love to shop there. They have a great gluten free selection.
The real deal
Employees Sooooo nice
Always been my favorite store since they opened up, my husband gave me a hard time about it ( only cuz he has an issue with “change” but eventually he lightened up and knows i like to go there! Its saves me money and when we have super bad days with mobey i can get dinner for about 10$ for 4 ppl! Thanks aldi
I ❤️ Aldi! Most trips I can get a week’s worth of groceries (family of 4) for under $75! And that’s with me buying everything organic!
We buy their block cheddar cheese extra sharp
Love Aldis! The commitment to healthier makes me very happy. And saving money. It is better than ever!
I have been telling all my family and friends about Aldi…. you just can’t beat it. Love that place. My son loves the cereal and I love that their made with with no artificial food coloring.
I too love ALDI! I have 3 teenage daughters. I’ve always been a penny pincher. My girls always ask to get things at the store. I have to smile every time we’re at ALDI … There’s no need to ask. Anything for sale at ALDI can be put in my cart
I start shopping at aldi in 2008 and it can be best for saving, Wal-Mart dosen’t come close. Milk at Wal-Mart here is 4.18 Aldi 3.49
I always buy my almond milk at aldis!
Shopped Aldis today and loved it!
THERE ARE SOME ITEMS AT ALDIS I REALLY LIKE ETC BONELESS COUNTRY STYLE RIBS, CANNED HAM, POTATO CHIPS ,SPICES, 2% MILK & BUTTERMILK ARE FAVORITES.
This is all great, but what about low-sodium foods? I find organic is generally lower-so than regular, but I don’t want to make a trek to my closest ALDI and it have very little I can buy (since they have such limited stock in store)… Thoughts? Thanks!
We love ALDI too! I buy pretty much everything on your list there. I even found bread there without all the extra chemicals. Spaghetti sauce too! It also slashed my grocery bill in half!
I’ve been shopping at Aldi as long as I can remember. My mom took me when I was younger. I love going there! I am able to buy snacks for my students and even better is they have the gluten free line of products! I hope they bring even more GF products soon!
Hi Lisa, do you recommend buying meats from Aldi?
Just be careful to check where the meat is sourced. I went one day to buy advertised organic hamburger patties, But then saw they came all the way from Argentina, hardly sustainable in my book. I waited and bought some hamburger from my local farmer’s market instead.
Are their organic meat and dairy items from pasture raised/humanely raised livestock? My daughter will eat nothing that isn’t!
I definitely appreciate the vegan options. Keep ’em coming! There is a HUGE market for these products.
I think I save a bundle simply by buying cereal and cheese at Aldi, those items are so much cheaper there.
We love their organic “pirates booty”, organic pb, cinnamon rolls, their organic eggs and milk among others. We save $$ by shopping there for sure.
I love their organic “pirates booty” too! Tastes better and doesn’t have the smell of Pirates Booty.
I love Aldi! Been a fan for several years. I think I spend 2/3 less than at the regular grocery store even when I was only shopping the sale items. My favorites are oatmeal, organic pure peanut butter and almond butter, butter spread, grass fed beef, almond milk, some of their “fancy” cheese, and more. I could go on and on!