The Best Budget Buys at Whole Foods (Yes, Whole Foods!)
If you love Whole Foods but hate that “Whole Paycheck” receipt, you’d be happy to hear that the company is launching small shops with lower prices called 365 by Whole Foods Market, named after their store-brand label. But real savvy WF shoppers have always known to look for the 365 label for bargains. While these prices can’t compete with the likes of Trader Joe’s for low-cost snacks and frozen entrees, there are *real* wins when it comes to pantry staples. The meats, fish and veg are spendy but totally on par with other grass-fed, sustainable and organic sellers. Die-hard bargain hunters will want to shop Wednesdays, when previous week’s sales overlap with the coming week’s for a cost-cutting bonanza. (Hump day for the win!) Here’s a look at what you want to be tossing into your cart when you shop at Whole Foods.
Clean eaters love WF for its broad selection of foods that are free of GMOs, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, chemical additives and unhealthy dyes. 365 label cooking staples like olive oil, coconut oil and other nut oils are great quality for the price. 365 brand canned beans, tomatoes, soups and broths are cheaper than organic labels elsewhere. Other low-cost staples include dried pastas and sauces, spices and other baking ingredients and sweeteners like pure maple syrup and raw honey.
Meats and Dairy
For the lowest cost meat and fish options, give the butcher’s counter a pass and head straight to the fridge and freezer cases for boneless chicken breasts and wild salmon. On your way, be sure to nab a rotisserie chicken for $8.99. Sure, you might find one for less other places, but is it antibiotic-free? On Wednesdays they’re marked down to $6.99. In the dairy case you’ll find 365 brand organic milk, cream and grass-fed butter for less than supermarkets like Safeway and Kroger, plus a wide selection of fave dairy substitutes like coconut, almond and soy. The 365 brand of Greek yogurt sells for one of the lowest prices around.
Grains, seeds, flours, rice, beans, dried fruits and nuts sell by weight in the bulk foods section and are always a good deal. Gluten-free shoppers will find an extensive selection of non-grain flours, such as almond, coconut, arrowroot and tapioca. Buy only as much as you need for your recipes for the week and you’ll save a lot.
No time to cook? No problemo! How about some delicious organic food that’s already prepared, with no effort except for spooning as much as you want into a container? Whole Foods has a wide selection of meat, veg, sides and salads in an array of cuisines. Indian dishes like Chana Masala, Chicken Tikka Masala and rice sides are so tasty they rival the best Indian restaurants but are cooked with 100% wholesome ingredients. Pre-packed versions are available in the refrigerated case, if you need to grab and go. Keep an eye out for the *four for $4* promotion signs at the deli counter, when you can nab servings of four faves for just $4.
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