One of my favorite “Mama’s Night Out” locations is Whole Foods at 8 p.m. … alone, after all the kids are tucked away in bed. I like to walk very slowly, looking at every product as if I am a private detective, taking my sweet time as I indulge in this exciting field trip on my own. The only way to make this a more perfect evening would be if I could walk with a nice cocktail in my hand – but I will be happy to settle for a kombucha.
Now, don’t get me wrong – grocery shopping with kids can be “fun,” too, especially when I use the car/cart combo which allows me to put all three children in a cart attached to a play car. Since this mammoth of a car/cart seems like it weighs 100 pounds and has a terrible turn radius, you get a bonus workout during your grocery shopping experience in addition to the fun of banging into things! Whether you are there alone in the evening or with your screaming kids by your side, here are some tips to saving money and finding the true gems of Whole Foods!
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY:
#1 Grab the coupon book when you walk in. Keep your eye out for sale tag items and also check these online Whole Foods coupons you can print before your visit.
#2 Buy bulk. The bulk section is filled with flours, nuts, rice, grains, beans, lentils, trail mix, granola, oats, snacks, etc. Great money-savers!
#3 Buy a case. Under the price label is a barcode; to the left of the barcode is a list of numbers and then a backslash, followed by another number. That number, after the backslash, tells you how many items are in a case. If you end up buying that number, you get 10% off the case price.
#4 Buy 365 brand. Great products and much cheaper!
Some of my favorite products:
#1 Go Raw products. I love that they put their ingredients list on the front of the package which screams out “we have nothing to hide!” They have incredible granola, bars, cookies, etc. One of my kids’ favorite desserts is chocolate granola banana slices. Just roll a banana in their chocolate granola and then slice and freeze them (or serve right away).
#2 Non-dairy milks. Look for ones that don’t contain sweeteners, artificial sweeteners and carrageenan. Studies have linked carrageenan to intestinal inflammation. Make sure to buy “unsweetened,” not “sugar-free,” which is code for added artificial sweeteners. My favorites are: 365 Almond Milk, SoDelicious Cashew Milk, Suzie’s Quinoa Milk and Pacific Natural Foods Hemp Milk.
#3 Kombucha. Drink it because it’s good for you. Not only can it stimulate your immune system, but it is filled with probiotics which are the good bacteria that helps with overall gut health. They have a large selection with new flavors/brands coming all the time. I love trying a different kind every time I go.
#4 Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. If I could take 4 things on a deserted island with me, this would be one of those things (alongside coconut oil, wheatgrass and breast milk … of course). It is rich in enzymes & potassium, supports a healthy immune system and promotes digestion & pH balance. It also helps sore throats, aids in weight loss, helps with heartburn, allergies … the list goes on! Use it in salad dressings, cooking or take it straight. I suggest drinking 1-3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water 15 minutes before breakfast to help with overall digestion.
#5 Real Foods Multigrain Corn Thins: These taste great and are gluten- and GMO-free. My kids love when I make corn thin sandwiches with almond butter or hummus!
#6 Bobs Mill Products. I love their almond, millet, quinoa and amaranth flour. They also have great gluten-free bread mixes. Make sure that if you buy gluten-free products, you look for healthier (more nutritious/higher protein) flours like quinoa, almond, coconut, amaranth and millet instead of high starch ingredients like rice and potato starch. My favorite breakfast treats are apple/carrot muffins made with Bob’s Mill almond flour!
#7 Hemp seeds. 3 tbsp. = 10 g. protein. A great source of Omegas! Add them to your smoothies, salads, yogurts, etc.
#8 Focus on whole foods ... the kind that come from the earth! Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. 🙂
Finally, make sure to check out the Kid’s Club (located by the Customer Service desk) where your kids can pick up a Kids’ Club treat – usually a complimentary organic apple, banana, 100% organic fruit leather, raisins or natural animal crackers. They also have other free kids activities, like coloring pages.
Got any money-saving tips or favorite products at Whole Foods? Let us know by leaving a comment below!