Monday Health & Wellness: What Real Foodies Buy from Costco and Aldi - Modern Alternative Mama
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Monday Health & Wellness: What Real Foodies Buy from Costco and Aldi

admin June 16, 2014

Real food is really important to my family.

I’m guessing it’s pretty important to your family, too.  I believe that real food should be accessible to everyone, and that means that it has to be easily available, and it has to be affordable.  Telling families “Just go to your local farmer” or “Shop at Whole Foods” isn’t feasible for everyone, either because these aren’t available, or they are too expensive.

I understand.  We’re on a budget too. That’s why I wanted to write this post.  I wanted to highlight all the great options that can be found at regular stores, like Costco and Aldi.  These are two stores I shop at quite often.  They’re affordable, and they are easy to find for most people.

If you don’t have these choices, I have found a lot of great items in most any grocery store now, if you stick to the fresh meat, fresh produce, and natural/organic selections.  I like Costco and Aldi because I find them more affordable than regular grocery stores.  Since I shop in those two a lot, they are the ones I’m sharing with you today.

Real Food in Regular Stores?

Thankfully, real food has gotten “popular” enough that even mainstream stores are offering it, and even actively promoting it.

I’m glad for that.   Just 5 – 7 years ago, real food was really hard to find.  There was little awareness of GMOs, or corn syrup, or artificial colors or flavors.  Health food stores were the only places to even think about finding real food, and the choices there were even more limited than they are now.

With more and more people pushing for healthy options, more stores are starting to offer real food.  A lot of grocery stores are even developing their own product lines!  Kroger has “Simple Truth,” and Giant Eagle has “organic and natural” throughout the store.  Lots of places have good options if you read labels. I’m hoping to save you a little time today by shedding light on two of my favorites!

What Real Foodies Buy at Aldi

Within the last year, Aldi launched their “Simply Nature” line.  This is a line of both organic and natural options (not all products are organic).  Many of the ones I’ve found are quite good, both in health and taste.  The ingredients are pretty clean, and they avoid artificial colors, flavors, corn syrup, and other yucky stuff. Here are the products I’ve personally tried or read the label of and would buy:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Yellow cake mix+
  • Brownie mix+
  • Frozen pizza (cheese or pepperoni)
  • Peas
  • Melons
  • Pineapple
  • Organic apples
  • Organic tomatoes
  • Organic bananas
  • Organic potatoes (some locations have; mine doesn’t yet)
  • Organic spaghetti
  • Wild-caught salmon (best price in my area by far)
  • Spaghetti sauce*
  • Raisins+
  • Kerrygold cheese
  • Lifeway kefir

+ Denotes “special treats” either because of sugar or non-organic but “dirty dozen” *Contains organic soy

What Real Foodies Buy from Costco and Aldi

What Real Foodies Buy at Costco

I discovered Costco sometime in 2011.  In fact, I remember introducing a friend to it late one evening on August 4th that year.  I simply had to do everything that day…bake a million pitas, hit the farmer’s market and buy several bushels of produce, and then close down Costco.  I remember the date because I went into labor that night with my third baby, who was born early the following morning.

I let my membership lapse for awhile in 2012 but picked it back up in early 2013 when I realized I was begging my parents to take me there every time they visited (every two weeks).  I’ve had a membership consistently since then — just renewed it for 2014.  I was elated when they built a new location that is practically across the street from me, which opened in October 2013.  Not that the old one was far (about 15 min. away) but having it that close is just awesome.  Yes, I’m spoiled.

(They are building a Whole Foods practically next door to Costco now, and there is a Trader Joe’s half a mile away.  Yes, I’m really spoiled.)

Anyway, I could easily drop a few hundred each time I go, if I weren’t sticking to a careful list and budget.  There’s just so much awesomeness.  I have to restrain myself and stick to whole foods ingredients and not the fun snack foods.  Most of the time. Here’s what I buy (or would buy):

  • Coconut oil
  • Organic frozen broccoli
  • Organic frozen mixed veggies (corn-free)
  • Organic frozen berry mix
  • Organic frozen raspberries (we love these as a healthy snack!)
  • Romano cheese (imported, raw, sheep’s milk)
  • Tillamook cheddar (extra sharp and medium)
  • Kerrygold butter (I can’t buy any other butter anymore, this one is too good)
  • Organic ground beef
  • Organic Romaine lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Organic frozen peas
  • Juice (usually grape)
  • Organic croutons
  • Seaweed
  • Organic diced tomatoes
  • Organic figs
  • Dates
  • Organic chicken (whole, different cuts)
  • Organic unbleached flour
  • Organic brown rice
  • Organic quinoa
  • Organic carrots
  • Organic salsa
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Organic lime juice
  • Organic lemon juice
  • Annie’s macaroni and cheese
  • Freeze-dried fruit snacks
  • Organic fruit snacks
  • Gluten-free crackers
  • Real maple syrup
  • Organic coffee
  • Uncured bacon
  • Organic eggs (if I can’t get to the farmer)
  • Organic milk (I get local/raw, but this isn’t bad)
  • Guacamole
  • Organic hummus (in individual packs!)
  • Organic fresh spinach
  • Organic “spring mix”

Obviously, there are a lot of choices there! Mostly we stick to cheese, butter, and fruit/vegetables.  We occasionally buy some of the other items, but the large packages add up quick.  Options also change seasonally.  The peas and raspberries (which are in season in late summer) stopped being available in the middle of the winter — too bad!  I’m sure they will come back later.

Most of our grocery shopping is done at these two stores, plus local farms for meat, eggs, and milk.  (This is both cheaper and higher quality for us.)

What do real foodies buy from Costco and Aldi in your area?

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15 Comments

  1. I love shopping Aldi as well. Although we try to source as much local food as possible, it is SO nice as a busy mom to just be able to go to the store, get my food, and be done with it! I also posted a list of what our family always buys at ALDI, what we *sometimes* buy, and what we *never* buy: http://www.imperfecthomemaker.com/2014/05/healthy-food-at-aldi.html

    Reply

  2. Aldi also has surprisingly great diapers! I have always been a Pampers fan, but after the first baby, I was over the brand and looking to save money. They do a great job, and at less than $5 per pack, you can’t beat them!

    Reply

  3. I buy chia seeds at costco. SOO much cheaper than TJ’s. Also, their sour cream is the good stuff – full fat, no added anything and a great deal.

    Reply

  4. Great post! Wish I could persuade my hubby to get a Costco membership, but he thinks 20 minutes is too far away …especially when Sam’s Club is only like 2 minutes away.

    Reply

  5. I stumbled across this on Facebook, and without sounding strangely stalkerish figured out from this article that you must live near me! Lol. Are you a Columbus Ohio person? Because I also am awaiting that whole foods to open at Easton! And while we’ve never been we constantly eye that Costco since it was built in October! Anyways, small world as I was reading that paragraph. Thanks for sharing on the perks as I definitely think we will be visiting now!

    Reply

  6. So do Costco and Sams carry different items? I have a Sams membership and feel like there’s nothing good there. I only hear people talk about Costco having real food options.

    Reply

    • Hi Cassie,

      Yes! We had a Sam’s membership back around 2006 – 2008 and dropped it as we were changing our diet, because they didn’t have much we wanted. I don’t know if that’s changed (sounds like no, from what you say) but we find quite a lot at Costco.

      Reply

    • Sam’s and Costco carry much the same, but Costco has way more organic things. For example, they carry organic black beans, tomato sauce, raisins, carrots, and don’t even stock the non-organic. At Costco you can get organic lunchmeat, butter, sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lots more things I haven’t seen at Sams. Sams has made some progress, though, especially in the gluten-free items.

      Reply

  7. […] all want to save money on groceries, right? I shared a couple weeks ago how I save money by shopping for real food at Costco and Aldi.  That was a really popular post, because lots of people are looking for good, easily […]

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  8. I just moved to West Virginia from Marin County, CA (the whole foods Mecca!). It’s been SO hard finding real food here…even at our nearest Costco (45 minutes away). Unfortunately, not all Costco’s carry all of the wonderful items you shared. I think it depends more on demand because we used to go to Costco once a week in CA, and they had SO many organic selections, it was unreal. Now I can’t even find organic bananas! I’ll have to check out Aldi and see if they carry the organic bananas because it’s been very frustrating to me to move from a place where whole, organic foods are EVERYWHERE to somewhere where people look at you crazy when you ask if something is “organic”. Time to start farming, I suppose!

    Reply

  9. Are you going to be dropping Annies now? I don’t remember you writing about that. But, I might have missed it trying to keep up with the cdc whistleblower stuff and the subsequent stories/articles/studies

    Reply

  10. I just bought the frozen wild-caught salmon at the Aldi’s. I noticed after I got it home that is has STPP added. What are your thoughts on this? My Aldi’s didn’t have most of the other things on your list, so I don’t know if they just have a inferior supply of “real” food options. Thanks!

    Reply

  11. […] forget to check out this list from another […]

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  12. I absolutely love shopping at ALDI. Here is my grocery list:

    + dark chocolate (75%)
    + organic coconut oil
    + macademia nuts
    + clover honey
    + grass-fed beef
    + organic bananas
    + organic tomatoes
    + organic lemons
    + organic apples
    + organic spring mix lettuce
    + organic lunch meat
    + organic bacon
    + kefir
    + sauerkraut
    + wild-caught salmon
    + organic blueberries (frozen)
    + organic chicken broth
    + organic diced tomatoes in BPA free can
    + frozen broccoli
    + red potatoes
    + organic rosemary loaf bake-your-own bread (NEW)
    + organic steel cut oats
    + white rice
    + brown rice
    + whole chicken (not organic but antibiotic and hormone free)

    total grocery bill: $76-$102 a week for all groceries sometimes less or more if I need diapers, wipes, toilet paper etc

    Seriously, ALDI is the reason all of our debt is almost paid off and we eat REALLY WELL

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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