Aldi’s Is All That

Yes, I totally said “All That”. And, yes, that was a Nickelodeon show back in the day. Sorry, I clearly didn’t focus on coming up with an awesome title – I just had to share an awesome grocery shopping experience I had at Aldi’s tonight. Unfortunately, it didn’t involve any organic food items. It DID include all-natural food, though. Add that to the fact that we got all this for $36.11 and call me a happy lady:
Sorry for the shoddy cell phone picture. Here’s an itemized rundown of what that small chunk o’ change got us:

– Fresh asparagus
– Baby carrots
– Roma tomatoes
– Fresh salsa
– Strawberries
– Green Grapes
– Variety pack of onions (sweet, white, and red)
– Variety pack of peppers (yellow, red, and orange)
– Lemons
– Limes
– 3-pack of Romaine hearts
– Broccoli crowns
– Frozen peas
– Frozen edamame
– Frozen fine green beans
– Irish cheese (since I can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the way I’d LIKE to this year ;-))
– Shredded parmesan cheese ($1.99 compared to Hannaford’s $7 tiny wedge)
– Sweet potato chips
– Pita chips
– Croutons (in case you weren’t aware of Dave’s addiction to salad)
(And non-food related…)
– Baking soda (less for cooking, more for hair)

– ONE roll of paper towels (69 cents! We usually purchase an eco-friendly roll or two as needed from Hannaford, but we were out and I couldn’t turn down that price)

While the meat at Aldi’s is far from grass-fed or well-treated, I do like to look over the seafood sustainability. While they had some salmon that was wild caught, it happened to be caught near China…just didn’t sound right. I was shocked to find that the made-from-minced-fish fish sticks actually had a sustainability guarantee AND listed exactly where the fish were raised, how they were caught, and WHAT the type of fish was. Too bad we’re not big fish stick people around here; or, at least, my hubby isn’t. It could be a possibility for Fridays with kiddies, though.

I was also surprised at how many items DIDN’T have high fructose corn syrup in them — including breads (which are VERY hard to find at Hannaford). Unfortunately, all their yogurt options had some form of corn syrup (yuck?!), so we didn’t go there.

The prices on the fruits and veggies I bought were CRAZY! The asparagus was a bit thin (which I see as “tender” rather than the woody, tree-like ones that are sometimes sold), but a pound cost $1.89. The baby carrots were $.89. A pack of numerous Roma tomatoes was $1.69. Strawberries (I believe 2 lbs!) for $1.89?! Grapes (another huge container) for even less?! Compared to our trips to Hannaford (which, admittedly, at least has organic options), it’s nice to go for an occasional stock-up that doesn’t leave you completely depressed — financially AND emotionally.

Oh, and all the chippies that I got are all-natural (and usually include 3 ingredients). The salt is sea salt. See? More and more impressed by what Aldi’s is doing to reach out to conscientious customers. Suh-weet!

Now, the goal is to NOT allow myself to waste all this good food. My biggest challenge, I think, is that I don’t plan meals around the foods that I purchase, so gorgeous food goes to waste. It’s a mortal sin, as far as I’m concerned, and makes me feel terrible when I have to throw anything out. Atop that, I feel worse when I know we’ve spent more (at the farmers’ market or Hannaford) – which is totally worth it, knowing the importance of organic. But, the occasional budget-friendly trip to Aldi’s definitely helps with the ol’ grocery funds.

So, I’m off to figure out tonight’s dinner and map out some other menus for the upcoming week or so. How do you eat healthy on a budget? Do tell!

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