I don’t like clothes shopping. Searching for the perfect pieces from racks bursting with eye-catching cloth is overwhelming. I get overstimulated. My head starts to pound and my arms start to ache with the effort of moving hangers back and forth, row after row. I loathe the act of changing, of scrutinizing my body in the mirror, of checking price tags.
Grocery shopping? Well that’s another thing entirely. I love it. I could stand surrounded by food for hours on end. I love inspecting new products. I love smelling fresh produce. I love finding all the ingredients I need for a recipe I’ve been dying to try. I try to go grocery shopping once a week, and it’s something I look forward to. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about where I shop and what food I buy.
First I should tell you my food philosophy because not all of these stores are pure “health.” Basically I’m not concerned with organic/ non-organic, GMO/ non-GMO, etc. because I’m a college student with a BUDGET. I’m going to buy food that looks fresh but is CHEAP! I try to buy local when I can… but in the end it comes down to price, since I’m not trying to spend my whole paycheck on FOOD. Anyway, here’s what I like.
- Trader Joe’s
- Fresh Thyme
IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
*Aldi is the cheapest store on this list, and it’s where I go for the essentials. I stock up on produce, canned goods, chips, and hummus galore. They have great customer service and a great “Product Guarantee,” as you always get your money back if the product isn’t to your liking. Just remember to bring your own bags (they’re trying to help the environment here) and a quarter for a shopping cart (you insert a quarter to use a cart, then get your quarter back when you put back the cart).
*I’m a loyal Trader Joe’s gal. I go there solely for their brand-specific products, so my cart is always pretty random, from chocolate chips to frozen mango (better than any other frozen mango everrr).
*Fresh Thyme and Meijer are similar in price and in the food they carry. Fresh Thyme has more specialty products (read: products touted as “healthy”); Meijer has more non-food products (home goods, makeup, storage solutions, etc.).
Produce: (from Aldi or Fresh Thyme)
- Apples (specifically Honeycrisp)
- Grapes (when $1.99/ lb or less)
- Pineapple (when $3 or less)
- Carrots (Like 7 bags of baby carrots because I’m addicted to them)
- Spinach/ greens
- Celery (if it looks good/ not wilted)
Dry Goods: (from Aldi)
- Sweet Potatoes
Canned goods, baking supplies, and other pantry staples CAN BE FOUND HERE. I’ll buy them in bulk every so often since they keep for a while.
- Hummus (like 3 tubs because of my addiction to carrots – hummus pairs SO WELL)
- Brands I like: Garden Fresh, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Thyme’s made-in-house salsa
- Firm tofu (from Fresh Thyme)
- Non-dairy Milk
- I usually buy unsweetened plain almond milk since it’s low in sugar and calories. I don’t like Aldi’s nondairy milk (Simply Nature brand), so I buy milk at Meijer or Fresh Thyme. My all-time favorite milks are Silk vanilla soy milk (SO sugary but great in tea), Good Karma vanilla flaxseed milk (great in cereal), and Oatly original oat milk (the BEST in lattes).
- Vegan cheese
- Daiya is kind of gross. Instead buy Earth Grown Mozzarella shreds (from Aldi) or Follow Your Heart shreds/ bricks (from Fresh Thyme).
SPLURGES: Expensive food I buy to treat myself. I end up buying at least 2 of these each time I shop. Oops.
- Spaghetti/ butternut squash
- On here because they’re seasonal! I buy them all the time in the fall but not really during other seasons.
- Frozen mango (from Trader Joe’s, OBVI)
- Gardein beef-less tips (from Meijer)
- These are dangerous to me, like I’ll seriously eat the entire bag in one sitting. Smother them in Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce for a ~gourmet~ meal.
- Gardein chickenless nuggets (from Meijer)
- Oh my gosh, these things are so cute (but taste so good). I eat them with ketchup, you know, like a normal person.
- Veggie burgers
- I like Earth Grown kale veggie burgers (from Aldi), Earth Grown spicy chick’n burgers (from Aldi), and Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burgers (from Meijer).
- Granola and cereal
- Coconut milk yogurt (So Delicious brand, from Meijer)
- Coffee creamer (So Delicious brand, pumpkin spice or vanilla)
- Califia Farms Cold Brew Coffee (from Meijer)
- Omfg these are good, and another product I’ll literally consume in one sitting (or standing, like drinking the whole carton in front of the fridge). I’ve tried almost all the flavors, and think mocha is the best. Pumpkin spice latte (seasonal) and cafe latté are also delicious.
- Vegan ice cream (from Meijer)
- Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter & cookies is my absolute favorite (are you even surprised)
- I also heart So Delicious cashew milk in snickerdoodle, salted caramel cluster, & dark chocolate truffle
- Trader Joe’s has the best vegan vanilla flavor, so I always have that on hand
- I personally don’t love Halo Top’s dairy-free options because they taste like protein powder and have a chalky texture. However, I love that it’s low-cal since with ice cream I usually eat the whole pint in one go.
Other random food-related items I buy when necessary:
ketchup, sriracha, lime juice, curry sauce, vitamins (C & B12), granola bars (Larabars are my favorite), Tupperware (I lose my containers a lot oopsie), fancy-a$$ peanut butter (because what would this blog even be without peanut butter? My name? SNOOZE), and fancy crackers/ chips/ popcorn (treat yo’self).
I hope this list helps you shop if you’re on a budget/ looking for more plant-based products! Print my list (DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE) and get shopping!
Kk peace, love, grocery shopping!