This post is by blog team member, Kiran. Check out our team page to learn more about her!
If you’ve read some of my past posts, you may already know I actually love grocery shopping. I know, I know. Some may think it’s strange, but as long as I have a plan and know what I need, I really enjoy it. My kids do, too, but perhaps that’s because of the snacks they get along the way.
I wrote a post last year about saving money at one of my favorite stores: Whole Foods Market. And in case you haven’t read that one, let me reiterate. I love Whole Foods Market. In a weird way. Bear with me, ya’ll; I promise I’m not too wacko. Let me also state that this post is in no way sponsored (i.e., paid for) by Whole Foods Market.
So here’s the deal with the store. You walk in and are immediately entranced with the environment. Colorful produce is so prettily displayed, and aisles and aisles of products are begging for a second glance. One could get lost in thought and walk out with grocery carts full. But alas, I don’t want you to give away your whole paycheck, as the saying goes, so I created a list of some do’s and don’ts and some of my personal faves in this Whole Foods shopping list. There’s even a printable version at the end of this post if you want to take it with you.
A Few Tips
1. I don’t advise doing your entire shopping at Whole Foods Market. I realize it’s annoying to have to shop multiple stores, so if your budget permits doing all of your shopping here, more power to ya. Otherwise, read on for key items that you’ll want to buy.
2. Don’t assume that just because Whole Foods Market offers a product that it is “real food approved.” Always, always, always look at labels. Should I say it again? Look at your labels.
3. Don’t assume that all of their produce is organic. It’s not! And that’s fine if you are ok with some conventional. Just be sure to follow the dirty dozen list.
4. This is one store where it’s okay to shop hungry, because they generally have lots of snacks along the way (remember my kids’ love of shopping here?). :)
5. If you have questions, ask! They are fully staffed with individuals who have always been helpful, at least with me. So go for it.
6. Get inspired. I often pick up their recipe cards within the store for inspiration. They also have a cool app that offers recipes that I like to try. Again, be sure to look for ingredients, etc. before completely buying in.
And now, lets get on with what I buy in the produce and pantry items categories. My list was so long that I had to split it into two parts, so look for Part II coming up within the next few weeks. Please note that offerings and prices may vary by store.
The produce section is pretty, but be forewarned, for sure. As mentioned above, seek out your organics, or at least seek the dirty dozen. Shop the sales. They have oodles of pre-cut produce with steep price tags to accompany them (in my opinion).
I always shop the sales in the produce department. If you have time to frequent a few stores, I’d suggest doing the same. You can definitely pay an arm and a leg just in this department if you do all of your produce shopping here. But again, if money is not an issue, have at it.
Pantry ItemsI love Whole Foods Market’s 365 brand. It’s a generic, of sorts, but somehow it doesn’t feel generic, and many of their options actually are solid and somewhat economical. As always, read your labels. Here are some of my favorites:So those are some of my favorite finds at Whole Foods Market. Part II will include bulk items, meat/seafood, dairy/frozen, and prepared foods. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about products that you are sure to buy when you shop the store, too!Sponsor ShoutoutIf you read my recent post on tea, you know that I am very fond of the Traditional Medicinals brand. I generally favor Chamomile with Lavender or Green Tea Lemongrass, but most recently Peppermint and Throat Coat became very handy for me as I came down with first an upset stomach and then an irritated throat!I love that their ingredients are all organic, don’t contain any fillers, and are heavily researched by trained herbalists. There are so many different varieties! I encourage you to check out some of their teas on their site and also when at Whole Foods Market (though they are available at other stores, as well)!.
|365 Organic Carrots
One of our favorite snacking foods.
|365 Organic Peeled Baby Carrots
For those who prefer baby carrots, the 365 brand is a good option.
|Bulk Organic Beets
Great for buying just one or two beets for roasting, because more than a few in my family is too much at one time.
|Organic Sweet Potatoes
Ditto on above. Buy as many or as few as you want.
|City Roots Local Organic Microgreens
I love topping salads with these or sticking them in wraps. I also love that they are local.
Actually, they have a few brands that I like – Earthbound Farms, Super Girl Greens, and the 365 brand. Varieties include the norm such as baby spinach, 50/50 mix, spring mix, etc.
|365 Organic Whole Wheat Pasta
Elbows, penne, or spirals – oh my! I always stock up on these when I’m in the store.
|365 Organic Tomato Basil (or other) Sauce
A great pantry staple.
|365 Black, Garbanzo, Great Northern and other Beans||per can
|365 Black Beans
For those who fear the bulk bins, snag a pre-packaged bag of dried beans.
|365 Cocktail Sauce
This one definitely won’t pass all of the real food rules, but for special occasions when my kids are asking for it, I prefer an organic version.
|365 Organic Indian Brown Basmati Rice
I grew up eating basmati rice (my father is Indian), so this one’s a no-brainer for me. Also available in the bulk section.
|365 Organic Chicken Broth
Though we suggest making your own, having a box of this on hand is never a bad thing, in my opinion.
In case you are not seeking out organic and/or raw nuts, these are a bulk option that is more cost-effective. The almonds are whole. The cashews are roasted and unsalted.
|1 lb. almonds
Either the 365 brand (organic) or Spicely are my go-to’s. Prices vary per spice.
This does not pass the rule test either, and this is a very occasional purchase for me. But I do like a kombucha here and there for probiotics, and frankly, the taste. It’s organic and raw and pricey to boot, making it, again, an occasional splurge.
|365 Wheat Squares
Similar to the ol’ Frosted Mini Wheats but without the sugar, these contain whole wheat and mixed tocopherols only. They also are non-GMO verified.
|Garden of Life Raw D3
One year ago a blood test showed I have dangerously low levels of Vitamin D, so much so that I had to take a prescription strength of 50,000 IU’s/week for two months. Now I supplement with this (I take one/day). And while I’m sure you can find it cheaper online, I still like to support my local stores.
|Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Wheat Bread
My first choice is always Great Harvest for their Honey Whole Wheat, but this bread will do in a pinch.
|Roots Brand Hummus
It’s not organic, but it’s made locally (Asheville), and they have some of the coolest flavors (Thai Coconut, Spinach, Black Bean, Extra Hot Chipotle, and more).
|Engine 2 Organic Crispbread
With just 5 ingredients, this “cracker” passes the test and is great with assorted toppings (pesto/cheese/nut butters).
|Traditional Medicinals Tea
Throat Coat and Green Tea (various varieties).