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Paleo on a budget...Aldi style!

>> Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Eating healthy isn't exactly cheap. And we are on the Dave Ramsey Plan, which means we have a budget for groceries and we stick to it. Going Paleo this year has been a challenge to our budget for sure and we have had to up it a bit. So I thought I would share some tips on where to find deals on healthy food.

I've pretty much given up on coupons. Yeah, I can find some for things like toilet paper (but is it worth the $.40 you save?!) or tissues, but not very often on healthy foods.  So, my plan of attack includes the following grocery stores: Kroger, Trader Joe's, Costco, Amazon (yes, Amazon!) and Aldi. Oh, and I also like to hit up farmers' markets!

Wherever you decide to get your groceries, I have found this awesome, printable guide to seasonal produce. You can find it on their blog here, but I have this posted on my fridge. Not only does it give me some ideas for new produce to try (that are also in season and therefore typically on sale, score!) but it also tells me which ones are in the "Dirty Dozen" (marked by a "D") and which ones are in the "Clean 15" (marked by a "C") and items that are bold are extra-nutritious. Items that are marked with a "D" typically have higher chemical exposure so you want to make sure you are getting organic. The ones marked "C" are clean and you can get conventional versions and not have to worry about the chemicals as much. In a perfect world, you would get all organic to avoid GMO (genetically modified organisms), but this gets expensive and doesn't fit in our budget.

Print this out. Save it to your mobile device. Use it. All.The.Time.

Anyway, I thought I would focus my post today on Aldi. There is one in our small town, across the street from Kroger and there is one in the town that I take my boys to preschool, so it is my most frequented grocery store. I went last week while my boys were at school, so I took along my favorite shopping companion.

*Disclaimer...again, sorry for the photo quality. They were taken with my iPod...I think I need to get a better mobile camera!

So the first aisle is mostly junk food, but there are a couple of Paleo items to be found. First are my favorite. And might just be a new food addiction. Sweet Potato Chips! And $1.99/bag!  To be honest, they aren't 100% Paleo because they contain vegetable oil. But they only have 3 ingredients (sweet potatoes, oil and sea salt). And they are good. Must eat in moderation!

Also on the same aisle are Whole Almonds. These are good for just eating plain, but you can also roast them, put them in desserts or trail mixes or grind them up for almond meal to use in baking.

This trail mix is a new find for me. It has nuts (peanuts, cashews), sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and dark chocolate. Again, this isn't 100% Paleo because the dark chocolate has "soy lecithin  in it (and soy is not Paleo), but it's a very little amount.  Plus, most trail mixes that you buy have candy-coated chocolate and therefore have the addition of food dyes.  These are just dark chocolate baking chips, so no un-natural colors.

Next is Almond Milk.  I get the Original version (it doesn't have any sugar). At $2.49 it's a better deal than other stores unless you have a coupon and/or a sale.

And produce. This is where that list comes in handy!  Anything not marked on the list with a "D" are fair game! Aldi's has started carrying some organic things, but produce isn't one of them...YET (hint, hint!).  So, here are some of the deals I found.  Cauliflower for $1.79 for the head.

Cabbage for $.69 for the head...this was a special for the week I was there...SCORE!

Sweet Potatoes...$1.69 for a 3 lb. bag! At another one of our grocery stores, the sweet potatoes are usually $.99/lb and organic ones are even more. But sweet potatoes are on the "C" list, so I don't usually buy organic unless it's close to the same price.

And onions...$.79 for 3 lbs!

Radishes...$1.29 for a 16 oz bag. I haven't really ever used radishes before but I had a soup recipe that called for them (instead of potatoes) so I bought some to try. I have roasted them in the oven, steamed them on the stove top and they are yummy!

I tend to not buy as much fruit just because of some reactions I've been having, but I do like to buy bananas at Aldi. They are typically lower priced than any of the other local stores. Look for the green-tipped ones as they are less-sweet and will last longer.

Here's a look at the produce bins...not very elaborate of a display, but functional and easy to find everything :)

I don't typically buy meat at Aldi because they don't have any organic. Most of my meat comes from my freezer (we stock up with a 1/4 side of beef and a whole pig about once every year) or farmers market, but sausage is one type of meat that I'm always looking for since they are easy.  But they are typically full of nitrates. But I found these and they were yummy...and no added nitrates or ingredients I couldn't pronounce!

So, what did I end up with? Here's a shot of everything I got that trip...for less than $25 ($24.16)!  I think that's a pretty good deal...considering that most of the items don't have an ingredients list and the ones that do are small and I can pronounce everything that is in them. SCORE!

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