Oh Sunday, how I love you so much. Like most people, I spend my Sundays running through the aisles of Whole Foods (and Trader Joe’s – trust me, I have to budget somewhere) perusing new products and then picking up my old favorites. This morning was another one of those days where I planned on going into Whole Foods for maybe 5 items and left with 2 bags full and slightly more broke.
People ask me all the time how I budget my money as a blogger when I’m constantly shopping at Whole Foods. The truth is, I don’t buy everything at Whole Foods because a. it’s not realistic at all and b. you don’t need to buy organic bananas when you can buy their counterpart somewhere else for half the price. Another thing is, unlike most people my age, I don’t go out often on the weekends spending $50+ on alcohol so it’s the perfect way to fit in more money for groceries. Among other things I try to budget around.
Someone even asked me this morning to do a post on budgeting and while I will admit I’m not the best on budgeting (YET!), I will tell you how to pick your products wisely at Whole Foods so you know where to splurge and where to cut back.
Growing up, my mom and I would grocery shop at 3 different stores. No joke. We went to Heinen’s for most of our food, Whole Foods for specialty items like meat, fish and dairy, and then a supermarket about an hour away from us that had local produce. We made it work and so can you!
Anyways, onto the GOODS. Also, I took all of these while throwing them in my cart so this as real as it gets on a Sunday with the Chickpea in The City. You’re welcome.
If there’s one thing you should be reading labels on, it’s your condiments and dressings. So many brands sneak sugar into these products because they can but the thing is… YOU CAN avoid them by buying products like Primal Kitchen’s ranch It’s soy and canola free, made with avocado oil and it’s dairy free. I couldn’t rave more about Primal Kitchen as a brand. I just discovered them this year and I am continuously blown away! P.s. this is on sale right now so… do yourself a favor and stock up.
I just saw these in the store today and I was so impressed. EPIC Bar makes some of my favorite meat bars and jerkies because they aren’t overly sweet and most of them are sweetened with cranberries or other fruits. I love that they created these bacon bits (they also have chicken bits… very interesting) because the average bacon bits aren’t even REAL bacon. I know. It’s weird. Bacon bits will always remind me of my freshman year college dining hall BUT I want to try these in the future! This + the dressing above in a cobb salad… I need it in my life.
When you eat primarily meat and fish like myself – you need to budget as many ways as you can! I only purchase wild caught salmon in stores because farm raised is filled with with added colors and chemicals but can often be super pricey when it’s fresh. However, canned salmon is only $3 and has about 2-3 servings in ONE can! Some people are turned away by canned fish but I freaking love it. I mix it with some of this mayo and simple seasonings like garlic, salt and pepper and top it on greens. Boom, easiest and healthy fast food!
I’m always on the hunt for marinades or sauces to add to my fish and meats for quick lunches and dinners but can never find one that doesn’t have sugar as the first ingredient… until I found THIS gem! My friend Christina posted about it recently and when I finally saw it I snagged this flavor: citrus herb. The New Primal is a popular paleo/primal food company that sells jerky, meat sticks and NOW – 3 different flavor marinades. The base is coconut aminos (similar to soy sauce), dehydrated spices and pineapple juice concentrate. De-lish!
Oil, oil, oil. It’s such a hot topic and of course now the whole rage is over coconut oil being unhealthy. Yeah, not sure about that one… I’m still gonna use it! I primarily use ghee and olive oil but I wanted to try out this new avocado oil, since it has a high smoke point. Nothing is worse than roasting veggies or sautéing something in an oil with a low smoke point and having everything burn. Besides, avocado oil is rich in antioxidants and apparently helps absorb the other nutrients of your food. So far, so good!
Organic Ground Turkey
When I started my blog three years ago, I never would have imagined I would be posted a photo of raw, organic meat on my blog. But alas, here I am! The beginning half of my college career I was predominately fully plant-based and didn’t eat that much meat but when I started incorporating high quality meat back into my diet, I felt fuller for longer and overall much more satisfied. I still try to stick to quality chicken and turkey (organic, local when possible and grass-fed if I can) to ensure it’s nothing but the best. This brand is one of my favorites and I use it to make my paleo pizza meatballs ALL. THE. TIME.
As someone who bakes a ton for her job, I always am on the hunt for baking products with the highest quality ingredients. I think that when you bake, you need to go all out and never sacrifice ingredients! When I found these chips from Equal Exchange, I knew I hit the baking jackpot. They’re the only chocolate chips I’ve seen on the market that are both fair-trade AND dark chocolate! I usually like my chocolate anywhere from 72% or higher so this is perfect. I love popping these in muffins, cupcakes, banana bread… or on top of dairy-free ice cream.
This one is pretty self explanatory if you know my infatuation/love for tacos. I’d say I eat tacos on average 4-5x a week and for the past few years I’ve always been searching for corn tortillas that are non-GMO (corn is one of the top crops that is sprayed with pesticides) so when I heard about Siete, I was intrigued. I’ve been using their tortillas for the past few months and I can’t even tell you how much I love them. Not only are these tortillas gluten and grain-free, they have no additives, preservatives or artificial binders but somehow they fold PERFECTLY and never crack. The best part is when you have guac inside of them, they kind of stick together like mini burritos.
If you are gluten/grain-free and haven’t tried using cassava flour yet… do it! It’s so versatile and makes the most delicious products. This by far is my favorite.
Whole Foods Salsa
When I’m going all out and having shrimp or fish tacos, I absolutely love adding fruit salsa to them. Even plain salmon topped with salsa with a side of veggies is the ideal dinner for me! I love the salsa at Whole Foods because it usually comes in two different sizes (of course I always snag the baby one because $$$) and my two favorites are the pineapple or the mango. Minimal ingredients, no added sugar and freaking delicious.
Low key I may or may not take bites out of it while I cook… 🙂
Truly what was my life like before Chameleon? I do not know. But what I do now is how freaking good this stuff is and how it’s the only coffee in the grocery store I swear by! Guys, I’ve tried to buy and make my own cold brew separate from this but truly nothing compares. Chameleon concentrated coffee comes in 5 different flavors from vanilla to texas pecan but my favorite through and through is the original black. I use about 4oz of it with 4-8oz of milk or water in the morning and I’m good to go.
It isn’t bitter at. all. Super smooth. Absolutely freaking DEE-LISH!
It’s crazy to think about how many dairy-free milks there are on the market as opposed to when I was a kid and it basically was just soy. But as someone who isn’t on the dairy train, I love all of these alternatives! The key is looking for ones without a ton of added sugar or thickeners/stabilizers. Of course those ones are usually pricey af so I try to either make my own, or just go for the simple Whole Foods’ or Trader Joes’ brand of almond milk (cheap and to the point) BUT every now and then I’ll switch it up… alas, MILKADAMIA!
This stuff is absolutely insane. My roommate Gina bought it a few months ago – the sweetened one with only 6g of sugar per 8oz – and had me try it and I was stunned. We’ve been obsessed ever since. I can only imagine how creamy and delightful it would taste in cold brew coffee.
I can only imagine how my family members that are reading this must be looking right now. Eyes probably rolling to the backs of their heads, thinking “what the !@#& are you drinking pea milk for?” Okay guys, TRUST ME on this one! This stuff is outrageously good for a plant-based milk. I first tried it at Target (yay, they sell it there too) in a mini version – they carry it in mini 120z bottles there – and was shocked at how creamy it tasted. Similar to 2% milk I’d say for best comparison.
It has 8g of protein per serving, 50% more calcium than 2% milk (wtf?!) and contains pea protein (straight from actual peas) and sunflower oil for creaminess. It’s a dream.
Pro tip: Blend 4oz of this into your coffee for the creamiest, dreamiest coffee drink ever.
This pancake mix is a dream come true. It takes about 10-15 minutes to make from start to finish because all it requires is water to mix in. It only contains 9 ingredients and the first two are cassava and coconut flour. The eggs are already dried into the mix to make it paleo and no mess involved! Another perk is that it is sweetened with monk fruit which is a natural sweetener that is low-glycemic. These don’t taste sweet at all in my opinion which makes them perfect for topping them with a fried egg or making a savory waffle sandwich which are my favorite.
If you’re on the market for a beverage with a small amount of sugar and some health benefits, you all should jump on the GT’s Kombucha train. I’ve been drinking this stuff for over a year and love it for a mid-day pick me up when I’m needed a sugar fix or just want something over ice in the summer. I also drink this gingerade one anytime I’m feeling sick or nauseous. For those unfamiliar with kombucha, it’s a fermented tea. Once the sugar and tea combine together, the sugar naturally dissolves and what is left is a bubbly, delicious drink.
Be on the lookout for kombuchas with added sugars… some can have more than 10g of sugar PER serving and at that point, to me it’s just like drinking a soda/pop.
I mainly stick to GT’s because of no added cane juice or cane sugar and trust me when they say 2 servings are in a bottle, it’s hard to stick to but try to drink it in 2 servings. The probiotics can make your gut go cray! 😉
Last but not least, I had to include a paleo granola! I’ve been a granola lover for the past four years and now that I eat more paleo (grain and gluten-free), I love snacking on this stuff every now and then. It comes in a few flavors (as shown above) but by far by favorite is the vanilla berry with freeze-dried strawberries mixed in! It reminds of the Special K with Red Berries cereal I used to be hooked on as a kid.
Kitchfix is a local, Chicago-based company that makes pre-made paleo, dairy and gluten-free meals right here in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Anytime I’m looking for a meal on the go, I head to their storefront. They sell their granola in their store, online and in Whole Foods across the U.S. Plus… it’s on sale right now so stock up! Woo!
Now those are just a few of my favorite products that I’ve been hooked on as of recently/are staples in my pantry/fridge! As I’ve mentioned previously, I eat primarily a ton of paleo foods but never limit myself to one specific diet. I personally find that eating primarily gluten and grain-free with a ton of meat, seafood and veggies is what works best for me. In addition, I love finding products that are low in sugar and have basic minimal ingredients.
I try to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store anytime I can to get the most produce as possible to fill up my diet. The more colors, the better!
In addition, I’ll say again that I definitely do not ONLY go to Whole Foods and I do NOT buy all of my produce/food in general there. But I do love shopping for quality food and snacks and splurge every now and then!
I hope this helped and you enjoyed it 🙂
This post was not sponsored and all thoughts and opinions are my own. I genuinely love all of these products and Whole Foods just as much as the next foodie! Thank you for reading and supporting the Chickpea.