My Shopping Cart: Aldi and Wal-mart Edition

Aldi Logo

Today is part two in my grocery shopping series.  Last week I shared with you what I get when I shop at Jewel and today I’m highlighting what I get when I go to Aldi and Wal-mart.

These two stores get looked down on a lot.  They are associated with cheap/unhealthy food, lower class, and just an overall unpleasant experience.  When I first started grocery shopping on my own I did most of it at Wal-mart because it was cheap and near campus.  There was an Aldi in town, but I avoided it because I had the same misconceptions most people do about it.  I remember shopping there as a kid with my mom.  You had to pay for grocery carts, they didn’t have shopping bags, there were weird tubes of meat and it was kind of dirty.  As an adult I kind of turned my nose up at Aldi and thought I was better than that.

Then I realized how much money one could spend on groceries and I knew I needed to find a way to eat healthy food but on a fairly tight budget.  I swallowed my weird sense of “food pride” and went to Aldi.  I was pleasantly surprised.  You still have to pay for a grocery cart (you get the quarter back once you return the cart) and there aren’t any shopping bags (if you’re like me and have 5 million reusable bags this isn’t too much of a hassle) but the food selection had definitely changed for the better.

produce section at Aldi

Aldi has been shedding their old brand and showing they are just as good as other grocery stores.  They offer a gluten-free line, an organic line, fresh seasonal produce, and a really great frozen foods section.  It is entirely possible to eat healthy nutritious food and shop at Aldi.  Plus you will save money because their prices tend to be lower than their competitors.

produce section at Aldi

My Aldi shopping list varies depending on what I need that week.  What I normally get there each week are:

  • organic honey
  • canned pumpkin (during the fall)
  • 10 lb bag of russet potatoes
  • avocados
  • frozen mixed vegetables
  • big bags of frozen tilapia/swai (for Adam)
  • corn tortillas
  • 2 lb bag of beans (pinto, black, northern)
  • brown rice spaghetti

I buy these things at Aldi because they are much less expensive than if I were to get them at Jewel or even Wal-mart.  I also go to Aldi when I am recipe testing because I can get more ingredients for my money and test more recipes this way.  Aldi does a pretty good job of offering fresh and seasonal produce for a really good price.  I recently got asparagus there for less than $2 a lb and an 8 oz of mushrooms for $1.49.

canned goods at Aldi

I also pick up a few things at Wal-mart each week because the price there is better.  I usually get:

  • half gallon of Silk Unsweetened Almond milk
  • Thai kitchen canned coconut milk
  • frozen vegetables
  • quart sized boxes of shelf stable almond milk and coconut milk (for baking)
  • big jug of extra virgin olive oil

The Wal-mart in my neighborhood does a pretty good job on their produce, but it’s a little bit smaller of a selection.  I can find what I need for a good price at the other stores I frequent.

frozen foods at Aldi

The most important thing I want you to take away from this post is that you can shop at stores like Aldi and Wal-mart and still have a healthy diet.  You might have to search a little bit through the aisles to find the good stuff, but it’s there.  Eating healthy isn’t about shopping at the high end grocery stores and buying the most expensive food there.  If you are able to do that and that works for you, then great!  But for the majority of us it is more feasible to shop at places like Aldi.  Look for seasonal produce, read labels, and keep an open mind when you’re shopping at these stores.  You’ll end up with delicious and nutritious meals and a few more dollars in your wallet!  That’s a win-win in my book!

What are your misconceptions about stores like Aldi or Wal-mart?