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 love aldi! I have a 50 dollar grocery budget which do sometimes go over but usually I leave there with way more than I would at another grocery store . Even my husband has started locking their stuff and saying he wants me to buy it they are versus the regular grocery store because he likes the taste better .
I am an Aldi’s shopper and will rave about this store. I love the recipes on the Aldi App. I recently stopped eating meat and the vegetarian recipes are so helpful for me.
Since we are learning that EVOO is not great to cook with, will they be adding other cooking oils such as Avocado oil?
The bulk of a clean diet should be vegetables and fruit. Eating well is not always about saving money, and produce that has been shipped long distances will never have the palatability, shelf stability, or health-giving properties of locally grown (plants vary greatly in nutritional value based on how they are raised and treated). It also does not support local farmers and is terrible for the environment, which harms all our health in the big picture. If you can afford it higher quality produce is worth it in my opinion. That goes for all food, really.
Before moving to a new state, ALDI was a 5-minute drive; now it is 40 minutes away! But I couldn’t give it up! We now do a large shopping trip about once/month and have to supplement by buying fresh produce at other stores to get us through. We love to buy all the items you listed here, especially the grass-fed beef, organic spinach, and oats — seriously the best prices anywhere!
I shopped at Aldi for years while living in West Virginia. My favorite thing is pumpkins for $1.99 during Halloween. I think they are $2.99 now but sooo much cheaper for decorating than anywhere else. Also love their cheap spices and oats.
I too love Aldi. It’s still tough to do all my shopping there, but I’m hoping as the demand for clean eating continues to drive sales for such companies- they will implement new products. Some of these products, even do not have artificial sweeteners or HFCS- they still have sugar. For that reason, I have a harder time in my selection of their products.
some of the cashiers are damn rude
that’s ashame. at my aldi, i am always amazed at how friendly the cashiers are.
As with cashiers (and humans in general) anywhere. Some are also delightful.
I do most of my grocery shopping @ Aldi also. However, I have been disappointed that the Simply Nature brand doesn’t continue to have some items available. For instance the organic BBQ sauce & high protein snack bars that I so enjoyed are not in stock! So why introduce new products if they are not going to be replenished?
9 years ago, when I moved to the US from Germany, I just continued to shop at Aldi’s, just as I did back home. There was barely someone else in the store and when I told people I get my groceries there they looked at me like …” poor girl “. Today, the parking lot is already crowded when I get to the store 1 Minute before they open the store. I love the double guarantee, where you not only get your money back, but also your product replaced, in case you didn’t like it…
I had to stop buying most of my fruits and vegetables there as they only lasted a few days even refrigerated. If I am going to use them the same day they are great, most of the time. That being said, I LOVE ALDI! I love baking in the fall/winter and on holidays and you can’t beat Aldi for baking goods, especially now that they carry organic on most of the items needed. My husband makes a killer lasagna for family events and people requesting one and Aldi has cut that cost from $150 to approx. $75 to make a large one, using clean ingredients….for the most part :). We shop Aldi before any other store. Thank you for going “clean” and “organic”.
Do remember their DOUBLE BACK POLICY. Simply save your receipt and for any produce item that went bad, they will give you your money back and a replacement item. Honestly, I save all my receipts and take produce back that is not up to par. I don’t mind taking a chance on a watermelon, knowing I will get my money back and a new one in it’s place. One DOES NOT need to bring in the spoiled produce, and cashiers never check the date on the receipt. Simply bring replacement item and receipt to cashier when checking out. When certain Aldi produce looks truely bad, I stop at another store on my way home.
Thank you for the reminder of the double back policy as I had forgotten that. I will be keeping receipts for sure.