Dear Aldi, how I love thee! Let me count the ways.
- Simple set up, easy to maneuver
- Great selection of organic and gluten free items
We started shopping at Aldi during the seminary days, the years when we had waffles or hot dogs for dinner and Doritos casserole was a staple (insert a thousand cringe faces here… yes, it’s a casserole made with Doritos, chicken and sour cream). While it was hard to get used to the idea of inserting a quarter into the shopping cart and bringing our own bags, it eased the burden of a tight budget that was based on a single income teacher salary.
Fast forward to today. Aldi has evolved at about the same rate my own nutritional philosophy has. It’s kind of cute actually. As I grew to understand the importance of organic produce and products, so did Aldi. As I learned about my need (and my children’s need) to limit inflammatory gluten, Aldi offered assistance. As I began eliminating extra ingredients like processed vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup and GMO corn and soy for my mental well-being, Aldi had me covered. It’s like we’re grocery soul mates, really.
So I figured I’d share some of our favorite staples, the things we get every week. And full disclosure – Richard is the one who does the grocery shopping most of the time. But because he has learned that he feels better eating things with cleaner ingredients, he has become a master shopper!
- Protein – we like to stick to grass-fed, antibiotic free and pasture raised if possible. Thankfully Aldi makes that possible at unbeatable prices. They recently also added organic eggs for a good price as well. Though they don’t contain as many health benefits as pasture-raised eggs, it’s still a better alternative than conventional eggs.
2. Produce – wow, Aldi has stepped up the produce selection since our seminary days! There are several organic options for great prices, plus many options that are part of the EWG’s Clean Fifteen list. Kale is always easy to add to any dish or cook in the air fryer for kale chips, and I use spinach for my smoothies and mixed greens as a stir fry or salad.
3. Kids’ Favorites – I always need on-the-go snacks for my kids, and ingredients are important as we are still working on healing the lastborn’s gut. I steer clear from wheat, soy, and folic acid. I try to keep away from dairy and loads of sugar. I love these apple fruit pouches because they don’t include juice from concentrate, just the fruit as is. The apple pie bars are basically knock offs of Larabars, and there is a peanut butter option they like as well. The dark chocolate chunk is the ONLY kind of bar my teen likes, which is good because I don’t mind the ingredients for her developing brain and tummy issues.
4. Pasta – because this is a meal that usually everyone likes, we do a pasta with meat/veggie sauce pretty frequently (recipe here). I like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash (zucchinis and spaghetti squash are another very affordable option), but my kids are always happy with “real noodles.” I am THRILLED about the new chickpea and lentil pasta selections because the ingredient list is LITERALLY only chickpeas and lentils. Nothing else added. The “earthy” flavor may turn away super tasters, but I love that my kids get some extra protein, even if I don’t have a meat sauce with it. The brown rice and quinoa pasta is tasty as well, just don’t overcook it – it gets soggy! The organic marinara sauce is a great base for our homemade sauce – and there are no added sugars. Huge win in the world of sauces!
5. Nuts and Seeds – nuts and seeds are critical for our brain health, so I’m always tossing chia seeds and flax seeds into oatmeal or smoothies or muffins. When I don’t know what to snack on but I want something crunchy, nuts are easy to grab. But because toxicity is always a factor, I love that these are raw without any inflammatory oils added AND non-GMO.
6. Treats! Now, this is important. I always had a sweet tooth, but since cleaning up my gut and restoring my body to balance, it doesn’t plague me like it used to. I can go days without something sweet. However, I always love to have some extra dark chocolate or something fun to have on hand. So do my kids. We are in love with this granola. It’s filled with non gluten grains and while it does contain sugar, it isn’t as heavy as some other brands out there. These coconut cashew crisps are also some of the best things I’ve tried from Aldi, but I only saw them a few times and they were gone. So if you do see these magical unicorn cookies, BUY THEM! I love that they are only 5 ingredients that I can pronounce.
Many of our other items we get in bulk at Costco (like organic peanut butter, gluten free bread, goat cheese and huge bags of non-GMO tortilla chips), but Aldi does have those options as well that may last for smaller families. They also have Veggie Straws and bagged popcorn and organic almond milk for awesome prices compared to larger chain grocery stores.
One last Aldi tip – sometimes things change. Every time I go I keep an eye out for new additions to try. A friend of mine told me about some amazing cashew-based non-dairy dip she got there once, but I have yet to see it at my neighborhood Aldi.
Aldi makes it possible for me to help my family get the best quality ingredients for the best prices. We save so much every week by shopping there.
I’d love to hear from YOU – if you shop at Aldi, what do you get frequently that you love? What staples did I leave out?
Finally, if anything I said overwhelms or confuses you or makes you want to make some changes in your own family’s grocery habits, reach out! I’d love to set up a consultation to see if I can partner with you on your journey to improved health!