Practical ways to live better on less.
Do you avoid shopping at Whole Foods because it is too expensive? Not everything in the store is pricey. In fact, I shop here all the time! Whole Foods is my favorite store. I love the clean organized aisles, the helpful staff, the large deli bar, and the quantity of organic produce and dry goods available.
I have composed a list of the items I believe are the best buys. I will also give advice on how you can save more in the store by using a few simple strategies.
My 10 Must Buys at Whole Foods
1. Deli items – Whole Foods has the freshest and best selections of deli and prepared foods over any other grocery store. The prices are not too bad either. There are so many fresh pasta salads, sandwiches, and side dishes to choose amongst. I recently purchased a few of the Thanksgiving sides to go with my main dishes. They were absolutely delicious! Their freshly made pizza is also excellent, and only costs $2-3 per large slice.
2. Crackers – Whole Foods has an enormous selection of crackers – all without artificial flavors or colors. You can find whole grain, gluten free, and just about anything else you are looking for. For those eating gluten, the Entertainment Assortment, which includes 6 different delicious crackers is a great idea. My crackers here always seem to last longer than cheap supermarket brands – perhaps because they contain more fulfilling whole grains and fiber? Mary’s Gone Crackers is another great brand.
3. Bulk section – You can find great prices on seeds, nuts, and legumes in Whole Food’s excellent bulk section. Plus you can get just the right amount that you need so nothing goes to waste! I always stock up on the pumpkin seeds, split green peas, black beans, and walnuts.
4. Produce – While the produce at Whole Foods is a bit more expensive than other stores, I have found that it lasts much, much longer. Every fruit and vegetable is as fresh as it can be and the bagged lettuce lasts well beyond the best by date. In addition, Whole Foods often carries a lot of weird produce that I can’t find anywhere else!
5. 365 Body/Hair care products– Whole Food’s 365 Everyday Value shampoos, conditioners, and body care items are a fantastic value. And it is great knowing that you aren’t putting any harmful ingredients onto your body. Most of these products are priced at or below the name brand products, only minus the controversial chemical ingredients!
6. Dried beans – There are plenty of Whole Food’s 365 brand of beans sold at a reasonable price, even the organic varieties. I love the 365 black beans, which are appropriately priced under $3. Any other beans are a great buy as well.
7. Amy’s Kitchen Brand Organics – Amy’s Kitchen is a natural, organic brand which sells a variety of canned soups, frozen meals, and snacks. The prices at Whole Foods are usually lower than at the supermarket or Walmart store. My favorite Amy’s items? Definitely the frozen burritos and Mexican meals! Delicious! I typically avoid most processed food items, however, once in a while a treat is nice! Lots of gluten-free and dairy-free choices for those who need quick, allergy-friendly meals.
8. Coffee/tea – Whole Foods carries a nice selection of various coffee brands, many of them organic. Allegro is very good, especially the French Roast. Free samples of various brands of coffee are often available. The tea selection is enormous as well, and includes my favorite brands: Tulsa, Yogi, and Numi teas. Look in the Whole Foods flyers for tea coupons (Choice Teas are often on sale).
9. Salad dressing – Whole Foods has a very nice selection of salad dressings. I eat a lot of salad, so I like to switch things up once in a while. Most traditional dressings are unhealthy, containing a multitude of unnecessary sugar and other added ingredients. It is nice to be able to choose from a selection of healthy and/or organic dressings. Great prices on Annie’s brand salad dressings (occasionally a 2 for $6 deal) and Whole Food’s 365 brand.
10. Fresh breads – The bakery selection at Whole Foods is wonderful. A large selection of freshly baked breads, cakes, muffins, and more is available to tempt you every time you walk through the doors. This is a great place to browse for gluten-free selections. Prices in the bakery departments are on target with other stores, but you get the advantage of freshly baked products without harmful added ingredients. One of the few places that those with strict allergies can find products to suit their diet.
How to Save Even More…
Pick up the Whole Deal flyer on each visit. There are dozens of coupons for items throughout the store. In addition, you will find money saving recipes, budget shopping tips, and weekly special sales. You can find a copy by the register or by the door on your way out. Don’t worry if you forgot to pick up a copy, you can also print the coupons out on the Whole Foods website.
Follow Whole Foods on Facebook and Twitter to find out about special deals. Oftentimes, I will find out about produce promotions through their Facebook page.
Purchase 365 Everyday Value items. Whole Foods brand items are pretty cheap. If you stick to this brand for your staples, soup, crackers, snacks, etc., you will walk out the store not spending as much as you intended to. You can also rest assure that none of these products have any artificial ingredients.
Pick up a copy of the Whole Foods Magazine. You can find this free book by the door on your way out. Not only does this free magazine offer tips and interesting articles, you can also clip a few coupons.
You can find free recipes on the Whole Foods website. It’s always cheaper to cook yourself then to buy prepared foods!
Always try out samples before purchasing. In addition to sample stations located throughout the store, you can try anything for free in the deli section. This is a great way to taste out the dish before committing to a purchase.
Bring with your reusable bags. Whole Foods will reimburse you a small amount (5-10 cents) for each reusable bag. Not a lot, but hey it’s something for nothing! You are also helping the environment and making it easier for yourself by carrying a sturdier bag.
Ask for employee recommendations. One time I was trying to find a certain spice for a recipe and unfortunately no one at the store could locate it. The manager offered me a free tester of an alternate spice.
Be on the lookout for sales items – You will find plenty of sales signs scattered around the store. The other day I found my sunblock that I usually purchase online on sale at Whole Foods $4 cheaper. Compare online to store sale prices for the best deals!
Read the Whole Foods Blog . Find more recipe ideas and money saving tricks by following the Whole Story Blog.
How often do you shop at Whole Foods? Do you think Whole Foods has an unfair rep of being overpriced? What are your must-have items at Whole Foods?