Every single time I go into Whole Foods, I leave feeling as though my wallet has just been robbed of every single penny. Of course I do it to myself and I don’t necessarily need to buy the exotic granolas and fair-trade dark chocolate bars lining the shelves, but do I really want them? Absolutely. Do I end up getting them? Most of the time.
Because I tend to frequent Trader Joe’s for my weekly groceries including the cheapest nut butters and produce, I don’t often worry about buying my main necessities at Whole Foods. If you really think about it, you can get everything you need at Trader Joe’s (tempeh, fresh salsa, wholesome snacks with minimal ingredients, cheap frozen veggies) that you can find at Whole Foods but for cheaper.
Whole Foods to me is mainly for snack items or protein powders that only are sold in Whole Foods Markets and no other cheap natural food store. Or if I’m needing a specialty juice that’s non-GMO, organic and cold-pressed, I clearly know Whole Foods is my best bet. I usually stop into both WF and TJ’s 1-2x a week to get the items I need but as of lately, being on a college budget and trying to save up for summer excursions, I want to budget wisely. When I went into Whole Foods this past Saturday with my fellow blogger friend Emma, it was a struggle to not buy everything I laid my eyes on. From wild caught smoked salmon for $10 to $5 cereals, I kept reminding myself “only get what you need Addie!” and “what can make the most out of for a week? Be smart!”
To be honest with you, I can spend anywhere between $50-100 in just one Whole Foods trip and that’s not the way grocery shopping for one girl should be!
When buying groceries from any store, you want to think of what is in season, what has a huge SALE sign above it and what are items that contain multiple servings (especially if they are boxed or bagged) and how can they be made into different meals. Going for things you can use for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks is always the best route to take.
You would be proud to know I left Whole Foods last weekend spending only about $40-45 for the week. I did end up going back again yesterday to buy a tub of hummus (#chickpeaprobs) but a girl can’t survive without it. Cedar’s brand was on sale for $2.69 so it was a win win!
For the week I ended up getting raspberries (on sale), asparagus (on sale because it is now in season), organic vegetable broth, 3 Japanese yams (pretty much a white sweet potato), kalettes, organic baby spinach, Califia unsweetened almond milk, an antibiotic-free rotisserie chicken, a stalk of celery, a bag of 365 Super Grains, Engine2Diet Tuscan Kale White Bean burgers and 2 containers of Siggi’s plain skyr yogurt.
I heard about kalettes on ABC’s The Chew a few weeks ago and when I found out they are a new trendy vegetable that is not genetically modified, I had to get my hands on some. Turned out they were right in front of the produce section at Whole Foods so I instantly tossed a bag into my cart. Roasting them in coconut oil spray was smart but they ended up slightly burnt due to their delicate size. Oops. They still ended up tasting like the best cross between a bushel of kale and a brussels sprout. I also ate the whole bag for dinner (it came with probably 20 kalettes). They were marvelous on top of some leftover mixed greens I had bought the week before with shredded chicken. Easy peezy 5 minute dinner.
My mom recommended buying a rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods because for one $9 chicken (they also sell bigger ones for $14) you can get at least 4-5 servings of meat and it is already pre-cooked for you. There is nothing I despise more than cooking meat which is probably why I’m 90% vegetarian at school. This chicken was a smart idea in the end because I was able to pair it with the cooked Super Grains, topped it on spinach and roasted asparagus, and even made a creamy chicken sandwich on a sprouted wheat english muffin with goat cheese. So many ways to use one ingredient. Something I support 110%.
Before my barre class Sunday, I toasted a sprouted english muffin with leftover roasted kalettes with hummus and sun-dried tomatoes with avocado. Oh my god. Best combo ever. I probably say that about 99% of the things I blog about but really ya’ll, avocados and hummus. Sprouted english muffins. What gets better? My two favorite spreads together and all of my tastebuds were shoutin’ for joy.
What I loved most about my grocery haul (aside from the fact it was under $50 so go me woo woo) was that once I got home, I spent 2 hours prepping meals for the entire week. Making a huge vat of Super Grains for the week, 3-4 roasted vegetables, shredded chicken, leftover brown rice pasta I had paired with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted Japanese sliced yams and this tuna salad above.
To make the tuna salad, I used close to 1 half of an avocado mixed with 1 can of canned tuna from Trader Joe’s with 1/2 cup sliced celery, basil and a few squeezes of lemon juice. Super simply and stores great in the fridge for a few days!
Although it may take 1-2 hours to prep food for the week, there is no better feeling than knowing you have food in the fridge when you come home from work or class. Even better because I work early mornings on Monday and go straight to class afterwards, I always need to bring a lunch. I opt for veggie burgers like the Engine2Diet ones paired with quinoa, rice or potatoes and roasted veggies so they will be fine throughout my shift but still give me energy from the fiber and protein.
After this week I’m feeling pretty successful about my future grocery hauls. My goals this spring are to shop for more local and seasonal products rather than sticking to my same old foodie favorites. As the temperatures are getting warmer and spring approaches, before I know it farmers markets will be here! Along with that, I can’t wait to explore some of the markets and natural grocers the surrounding neighborhoods Chicago has to offer. There are so many near me that I’ve only heard good things about!
I hope this post helped you realize that although Whole Foods is not always college friendly – you can find deals there just like anywhere else!
Happy Friday, friends!