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Over the years, I’ve learned how to optimize the aisles at Whole Foods Market for my family’s needs. I stock up on groceries that are kid-friendly — as I have a 7-year-old daughter — and versatile. I skip items with a hefty price tag. I seek out the items that come in the ideal size and quantities. And lastly, because I have my own fresh vegetable and herb garden, I’m able to forgo many of these items entirely, which is a huge money saver.
This shopping strategy makes sticking to my weekly budget more like an attainable goal than, say, a lost cause. In fact, I recently took a trip to my local Whole Foods to see what $100’s worth of groceries would look like this time of year. I ended up with a cart full of 23 different items across all the major categories: fresh produce, pantry staples, plant-based items, snacks, meat, seafood, and dairy.
In total, I spent $99.88. Here’s my haul for the week.
I keep fresh apples on my kitchen counter regularly. They serve as a visible reminder and (bonus!) nutritious snack option for my family whenever hunger strikes. Envy apples are particularly popular in my home, because of their balanced sweetness, satisfying crunch, and resilient flesh (my daughter complains when her sliced fruit starts yellowing too soon).
2. Pom Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, $4.39
This whole-pressed pomegranate juice is a staple in our fridge and a simple, delicious way to fuel your body with antioxidants. We sip on this juice regularly and, when we are limiting our alcohol intake, do so from a fancy wine glass so it feels like a simple mocktail. We also use it in homemade salad dressings.
3. From The Ground Up Sour Cream and Onion Cauliflower Potato Chips, $3.99
Made with cauliflower and a veggie blend that contains spinach, broccoli, carrot, tomato, beet, and shiitake mushrooms, these crispy snacks are a go-to swap for potato chips. Plus, this Sour Cream & Onion flavor is dairy-free, so the snack is entirely plant-based and vegan!
4. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, $5.99
I turn to these peanut butter cups when I want a sweet and vegan-friendly snack. I like that they’re made with fair-trade chocolate and are individually wrapped, which makes managing portion control and maintaining optimal freshness easy.
5. Applegate Organics Genoa Salami Bites, $5.99
Applegate Organics Genoa Salami Bites come in a convenient 3-ounce resealable bag (three servings per bag). These coin-sized bites are USDA Organic Certified and made with humanely raised meat. They’re the perfect satiating snack or addition to a well-rounded lunch plate.
6. Uncle Matt’s Organic Matt 50 Orange Juice Beverage, $6.29
Uncle Matt’s makes high-quality juice, using only premium 100% organically grown fruit that is free from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs. This orange juice, for example, has half the sugar and calories as traditional OJ and contains 100% Vitamin C, plus probiotics for immune and digestive support.
7. KIND Caramel Almond & Sea Salt Bar, $1.34
Whole Foods sells individually-wrapped KIND bars, so I typically keep one in my purse for an on-the-go snack. My favorite is the Caramel Almond & Sea Salt Bar, which is loaded with almonds and a whopping six grams of protein (along with seven grams of fiber).
8. Bob’s Red Mill Oat Crackers, $4.99
Made with whole-grain oats, almonds, flaxseeds, and quinoa, these gluten-free crackers are great straight out of the box or with toppings (looking at you, salami bites!), dips, and spreads. I love the nutrients that these crackers provide and my daughter loves their satisfying crunch.
9. Kettle & Fire Classic Beef Bone Broth, $6.99
Slow-simmered with ingredients like 100% grass-fed and finished beef bones, vegetables, and spices, this beef bone broth is another staple in my pantry. I use it instead of water when making rice or quinoa — it adds a rich flavor and nutrients. And when I want an easy, sippable snack (that contains 10 grams of protein per serving), I simply pour some in a mug and drink away.
I’m always excited about having walnuts on hand. I add the convenient, plant-based protein to salads, yogurt parfaits, and smoothies. Sometimes I even use crushed walnuts instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish for a nutritious twist on classic recipes. Pro tip: Store your walnuts in an airtight container in the freezer to help keep them fresh.
11. Pineapple Slices, $2.19
Stored in 100% juice (not syrup), canned pineapples can be used in a variety of delightful ways: combined with cottage cheese for a simple morning meal or a satisfying afternoon snack, in this sheet pan chicken recipe for a weeknight dinner, and one of the easiest (and delicious) homemade desserts. I use my Ninja CREAMi machine to make a sorbet. It’s better than any store-bought version I’ve tried so far.
It’s no surprise that bananas made it into my cart. As an inexpensive, nutritional powerhouse it’s another versatile fruit and one I also keep in plain sight on the counter. Bananas make a great grab-and-go snack, smoothie addition, and are an integral ingredient in a classic peanut butter and banana sandwich (sorry, PB&J). They also make some pretty good bread.
13. Mini Watermelon, $4.49
Naturally sweet and hydrating, watermelon is winner in our house — especially in the warmer months. And for people who are trying to minimize food waste, opting for this mini watermelon is solid choice, and not just for its smaller stature: The entire melon is edible. Yes, even the rind.
Eating seafood is something that can help support our overall health in a variety of ways, in part, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids that this food group provides. This sablefish, also known as black cod, is a white fish that has a buttery flavor and is easy to prepare during busy weekdays. I will either flavor my sablefish with teriyaki sauce or simply sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and let the natural flavors of the fish shine through.
15. Sweet Potatoes, $1.22
16. Organic Sweet Onion, $0.96
Like much of the produce on this list, onions are a must-have in my house. They’re the base of countless recipes and add essential flavor to dishes. To maximize their lifespan, I avoid storing them in the fridge, and instead, keep them in a cool and dark spot (like the pantry).
17. Organic Portobello Whole Mushrooms, $3.99
18. MUSH Vanilla Almond Overnight Oats, $4.98
On busy mornings when cooking breakfast just isn’t happening, but going without a proper meal is simply not an option, MUSH is a perfect solution. These overnight oats are made with minimal ingredients, including natural sugars, and simply taste divine. I always keep at least two of these containers in my fridge.
20. 365 Large White Grade A Eggs, $3.29
On busy nights, a veggie omelet always fits the bill, fueling my entire family with key nutrients that come together in minutes. Of course, we enjoy eggs for breakfast, too, when time allows. I also add them to salads (hard-boiled!) and use them to make homemade egg drop soup.
21. Grass Fed Ground Beef, $3.50
Filled with nutrients like iron, zinc, choline, and vitamin B12, ground beef is a classic ingredient in several kid-friendly dishes in my house — with a twist. I make hamburgers or tacos, for example, using half ground beef and half lentils for a balanced and nutrient-dense dish. My daughter eats them up!
22. Organic Valley Half & Half, $6.39
23. Horizon Organic Growing Years Whole Milk, $5.99
Among the sea of milk choices out there, this one is my favorite — especially for my daughter. Not only is it organic, but it also contains DHA omega-3 fatty acids and choline (two nutrients that my daughter would not otherwise get enough of in her diet). It tastes great, is nutritious, and is a carbon-neutral product, making it an all-around fantastic choice for kids and adults alike.
Do you shop at Whole Foods for groceries? What sorts of budget-friendly things do you get there?