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Shopping for Healthy Food at Aldi

So you are trying to be healthy, but at the same time you are balancing a budget and need to make every dollar stretch, especially in the grocery department. Coupons are great, but sometimes I feel like a lot of coupons are for the overly processed and junk food—rarely do a see a coupon for plain oatmeal or spinach.

shopping for healthy food at aldi

Enter Aldi. Aldi has a ton of great, healthy staples for really, really good prices. I always save when I shop there! Aldi has also recently upped their game in the healthy food department know offering more products with lower calories and fat counts (in their Fit & Active line) and rolling out a new line of organic products (Simply Nature line). Go Aldi!

The Aldi Process

First, if you’ve never been to an Aldi before the process is a little different than your typical grocery store. Here’s some tips to get you through until you’re an Aldi pro!

  • You need a quarter for a cart. The carts are all hooked together and you need to insert a quarter to get a cart. At the end of your trip, you place your cart back in the rack and get your quarter back. I have a specific “Aldi quarter” in a special spot in my car and there is hell to pay if anyone touches it!
  • The path is laid out for you. Aldi’s arrangement may make you feel like you’re being herded, but it also makes shopping go quicker. Just follow the path and only moo if absolutely necessary. Winking smile
  • You need to bring your own bags. Now, if you are already on the reusable bag train—great! If not, Aldi will force you on it! lol! Aldi charges 5 cents for paper bags and 10 cents for plastic. I always have a ton of both old Aldi bags and reusable ones in my car, but if you forget it’s only a few cents or you can use empty boxes in the store.
  • Load your groceries quickly, because the cashiers are FAST. I swear they time them and give them bonuses based on how quickly they can scan $50 worth of groceries.

photo 1 (2)

Healthy Food I Buy at Aldi

  • Oatmeal
  • Off brand “Kashi” cereal
  • Almond milk
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables—their frozen berries are a steal!
  • Eggs
  • Spices and other pantry staples
  • Olive oil
  • Lean ground turkey (non-organic)
  • Lean ground beef (non-organic)
  • Cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • Dark chocolate (You don’t want to fight me about dark chocolate being a healthy food)
  • Greek yogurt (organic available)
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • Not from concentrate Orange Juice
  • Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce which I use to make my own spaghetti and pizza sauce.
  • Nitrate-free lunch meat
  • Walnuts
  • Whole wheat pasta

Other Healthy Options I Don’t Buy

  • Organic milk and cheese
  • Granola, granola bars
  • Yogurt
  • Veggie chips
  • Fresh Produce; I get all my fresh produce at Meijer because I like the quality better. They do have a lot of options and more organic produce coming out as well, but that’s just my preference.

photo 2 (3)

Other Basics I Get at Aldi

Of course not everything I get I would consider “healthy”…and there are some other household products I get there as well.

  • Tortilla shells (white)
  • Mac and cheese
  • Condensed soup
  • Cheese slices (Yes, processed american cheese product—I know, it’s shameful)
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap, tin foil, and sandwich bags (but NOT freezer bags)
  • Chips (mostly tortilla and the kind I get are MSG-free so maybe these belong in the “healthy” category…Winking smile)

So basically I try to get the bulk of my groceries at Aldis and then I fill in the gaps at Meijer with the stuff I am more picky about—produce; organic, free-range meat when the budget allows; loss leaders and other killer sales; the breakfast shakes Nate likes; laundry and cleaning products; toiletries; kind bars, etc. (I also use Meijer’s Mperks coupons to save there when I can.) I find that the lower amount of selection at Aldis helps me stick better to my shopping list—I don’t have as much grocery store ADHD!

The Grocery Budget

I generally spend $35-$40 on groceries a week at Aldis. I don’t buy everything on my above lists when I go obviously, but that’s what it averages out to for me.  In the spirit of transparency Nate and I budget $75 a week for groceries and household supplies. (The “thrifty” family of 2 spends $87 a week for just food according to national averages.) I always try to “beat our budget” and normally spend closer to $50-$60 and pocket the difference for other household items that wear out (like replacing our soup bowls) or for extra eating out money or for mama to get some new lipstick. Open-mouthed smile  (P.S. This is pre-baby numbers, we are currently spending a little more.)

Also, I make a meal plan and use that to build a grocery list. Then at the store I use my list and phone calculator to track how much I’m spending as I go—I can’t just put things in the cart without adding it all up—that’s how I end up with a $120 cart of groceries! Then at the end I know when I get up to the counter approximately where I’m at with the budget.

I hope this helps you get some perspective that healthy eating doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! It is truly doable and shopping for healthy food at Aldi is one way I make it work for our family.

Do you like to shop at Aldi? What’s your favorite healthy purchase there?

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  1. i do shop at aldi! some of their product is awesome for a great price (and others not so much). i also buy their organic salsa and some other random goodies always manage to make it in my cart 🙂

    1. They do have some pretty cool random/seasonal stuff too! Sometimes they have these super amazing Dutch caramel wafers that I LOVE!

  2. I do TONS of my grocery shopping at ALDI! As much as I possibly can. Then I fill in with good old Wally World. (We don’t have a Meijer close, and Kroger, in my opinion, is expensive.) I totally agree about not having as much grocery store ADHD! When you don’t have as many choices, it’s way easier to stick to your plan! And making a meal plan is super helpful as well! We have lots of storage/pantry space, so I make up a month’s menu at a time, and then shop for a month at a time (let me tell you, that also helps me spend less money!). As far as ALDI produce goes, we buy a lot of ours there. I have found that they have really improved in that area, for which I am thankful. (Again, we don’t have Meijer.) Also, I have to say that their Simply Nature granola is YUMMY!!!! And I love buying their frozen fruits and veggies. So, needless, to say, all in all, I am a huge ALDI fan. 🙂

    Some things I don’t get at ALDI: 97/3% ground beef (I like my ground beef reeeal lean); anything I’m a name-brand-snob about (which is very few things, and I can’t even think of one right now); chicken breasts (I like mine without any rib meat).

    I also really love your idea of almost making a game out of seeing if you can beat your budget. I haven’t ever done that, and I think it would be helpful. So thanks for that idea! 🙂

    1. Yeah, it is maybe not the typical grocery store, but I am also a weirdo that LOVES to grocery shop. It’s kind of therapeutic for me. Although, going now with a 4 week old, it is more like a crazy rush to get there, get everything, get home, and get unloaded while she is happy. 😛

    1. Well that’s sad! But I completely understand, sometimes the closest option is the best option, especially with a little one!

  3. I actually went there last night and stocked up! I go a couple times a month to fill in on staples (paper towels, TP, oatmeal) and produce specials, because their produce prices cannot be beat. And, it’s owned by the same company as Trader Joe’s, which is where I do the bulk of my shopping, so if you are smart, you can find the exact same thing at Aldi as at TJ’s, but it a different box or wrapper. They have a lot more organic stuff now, as well, so it is a great way to save money.

    1. What!!?! I did NOT know that Trader Joes and Aldi were owned by the same company! Crazy! And maybe it is just my Aldi that is a little lackluster on the produce…everyone else seems to really like it.

  4. We have had Aldi at my parents for at least 10 years and I have always loved to shop there! Such good deals, and I wish there was one near me now!

    1. I grew up shopping there so I love it! (Obviously) But I was super-sad when we lived in a town that didn’t have one. Maybe they will be expanding to new markets? I feel like they have a lot of good buzz and are doing really well.

  5. Hi Kate, My name is Dennis and I live in South Carolina. First of all let me say, that you are a very beautiful woman. Next, I’ve been shopping at aldi’s ever since they moved into our neighborhood. I love this place, and like you, I have a dedicated quarter set aside for the cart. The one thing you forgot to mention though, in your (Aldi Process) section, is that they cut open the box, you take what you need and thats it. There are no fancy store displays, and thats how they can sell everything for such a low price. The canned soups for example, (I think) are actually better than some name brands, They have the fresh dairy products, fresh produce, breakfast cereals, all kinds of snacks, household items, anything a person would need. They even have a section that sells things that are seasonal, like small barbecue grills for the summer time, lights for christmas trees during the winter, and the list goes on and on. Aldi’s is a store that everyone should visit at least once Keep up the good work. Your words of experience inspire a lot of people, I’m sure. By the way, I’m 70 years old..

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