Healthy foods, budget-friendly. How can we lose?

So, I’m not sure about you, but I grew up with this skewed vision that Aldi was a place where you only bought dented cans of beans and fruit that has previously been rundown by a car or two. When I was young, I never set foot in an Aldi, and as I grew, especially once I gained employment at Kroger, it seemed unnecessary to go other places, especially as they encouraged us to “spend where we earn”, and I found it so easy to pick things up on my way home.

My husband, B, still works for Kroger, and while we do get a small discount on some items, it certainly doesn’t apply to most of the things we like to buy. Now with two small kids that we’re trying to do right by, I’m struggling to pay the produce & organic prices that I seem to come across at Kroger. So I find myself now doing the lion’s share of our grocery shopping at Aldi. We enjoy their food a lot, and I’ve never gotten anything sub-par there. Big, huge, giant bonus: their prices beat Kroger and Walmart by a landslide on many things. We also have zero problems finding dye-free items for L (she’s allergic to food dyes, and they are in EV-ERY-THING). They pledge that everything under their store brands is free of FD&C dyes.

So here are some of the things we love to buy at Aldi:

  • Organic Spaghetti Rings: I’d be lying if I said I don’t bathe in the luxury of a quick meal from a can for the girls on occasion. The Aldi brand is the same price as a can of Spaghetti-Os at Kroger, yet it’s organic. Calling that a win, every if we break even price-wise.
  • Organic Fruit Snacks: Aldi has come out with something similar to Annie’s Bunny fruit snacks, and L absolutely devours them when she gets hands on them. It’s insane. I don’t give fruit snacks often at the house, but they are FANTASTIC as a bribe in the store or in the car. So we splurge a bit on fruit snacks.
  • Almonds & dried/freeze-dried fruits: They have a nice selection of nuts, trail mixes and dried fruits at Aldi, and I often use these in our snack tray during the day (more on my snack trays in a later post). My husband loves nuts, so that’s a win for him as well.
  • Apple sauce pouches: Oh my gosh, the amount of apple sauce my kids could go through if I just let them. They love puree-type foods, and I love the convenience, especially since my kids are grazers for most of the day. We also buy the fruit & veggie blend pouches when they have them, but those aren’t a constant product, so we tend to stock up a bit when I stumble upon them.
  • Lunch meat, chicken breast, eggs: Aldi has several options in their “Never Any!” line that are hormone-free, filler-free, etc. Their eggs are also hormone-free. I love that.
  • Nut milk, organic milk, soy milk: Their milks are usually fairly comparable in price to other places, but I tend to find myself buying their brands when I can, because I just like that they seem more committed to finding better products. The last carton of almond milk I bought didn’t even have carrageenan, which is a fairly tall order.
  • Produce, both conventional & organic: They have a very small selection of organic produce at my store currently (though I’ve seen promises of a larger selection in the future pop up), but I buy lots of produce at Aldi. It’s priced at a good point, and we go through a lot, so we can afford to buy more if we get it at Aldi. We absolutely LOVE their organic red grapes, though. They’ve always been crisp, crunchy & sweet. Their bagged salads are really crisp as well, and never go bad as quickly as other stores/brands.
  • Organic whole wheat pasta: They have an organic line, and although it only has penne and rotini currently, I find myself opting to use them for spaghetti and things like that just so that I can use their pasta.
  • Peanut butter, almond butter, honey, agave, hazelnut spread: Basically anything like this, we buy at Aldi. I can find organics at Aldi for the price of conventional products at Kroger or Walmart.

 

Basically, we love Aldi. I can find so many things there that would otherwise be unattainable in the budget we want to keep. We actually find ourselves eating better now that we shop at Aldi, and that’s never a bad thing. I’m also finding that my kids actually prefer their brands to some of the larger name brands that we find in the natural food sections of other stores. I think we’re quickly becoming Aldi lifers, and I’m happy I put aside my perceptions and discovered what has easily been the best thing to happen to our food lifestyle.

 

Do you shop at Aldi? What are some of your favorites?

More buttah.

As whole food prices soar, my toddler scoffs in the face of the economic situation our country is in. This morning, we’re having a menagerie of foods for breakfast. First, she wants toast, lots of butter. Then she wants applesauce, ya know, from a pouch. Mom win/fail. Then she wants fruit. Then she wants more milk. Then she wants cereal (thank you, Aldi, for bring food dye-free cereal into our lives & causing chaos).

No, wait. That isn’t right. Here, let’s try again. She wants toast with butter. Extra butter, hold the toast. Then she wants applesauce, the kind that’s really easy to squeeze onto her sisters head. Then she wants precisely one bite of the following fruits: one pear, six apples, two bananas, a bowl full of strawberries (of which she will eat a quarter of one), and a nectarine. Then she wants two cups of milk, chocolate, please. No matter if a trip to the store is necessary to fulfill these requests. Ahhh, here we are. She wants a heaping bowl of Aldi brand Lucky Charms. Fine, whatever. If it means I get to make coffee without you howling at me, you win.

 

BINGO! She eats it all. Then grumbles when it’s gone. Because she is me in a tiny package.

Feeding a toddler is the one job in all the world that no one wants. People probably get more excited by the prospect of working knee-deep in sewage drains than I get at the idea that I might need to feed this little human soon. What she enjoys today will be akin with a pile of mud tomorrow. I’ve grown accustomed to the grimace she graces me with when I serve her a meal. The delightful wrestling match that inevitably follows us sitting at the table for more like 3.7 seconds — Let’s be clear, she starts it.

Wait. This will not do. She can’t see Tangled playing for the 108726th time from the table (judge me). Cue tantrum. “Let’s get R joined in on the crying. Wait, why is mom locking herself in the bathroom? She’ll be back. Her coffee cup is right there”.

If this stubbornness is any indication of what the future with two teenage girls will hold for me, I’m going to go ahead & put in my two weeks now. I guess it’s still better than my unhealthy relationship with ice cream at 3am. Let’s just not talk about that.