This post is brought to you by Whole Foods Market. Be sure to stay posted in the next week, as we are soon going to have a $100 Whole Foods gift card giveaway – perfect for your holiday meal planning.
I had the great fortune of going on “The Value Tour” at my local Encinitas Whole Foods, led by the marketing expert and foodie extraordinaire Chassie . I truly felt what it must feel like for a person to experience fine dining for the first time, but in this case it was “fine grocery shopping”. I grabbed a cart and my note pad, and was eager to learn more about eating organic and how to work that into a tight budget. I was nervous that when I was to go off on my own in this store with $100 credit that I might not really able to get much for a family of four (hungry athletes, at that) on that budget. ITurns out I got some great staples and was able to do a LOT with what I found.
I was pleased to see that Whole Foods does have coupons and special offers in their “the whole deal” circular, in their ads and via Facebook, but their true “bargain” is offering top value for your dollar and health! When shopping, I was extra-careful to hold off on buying unnecessary must-have “food” items, as that is where the price adds up. I am overjoyed to share with you my experience to help you also maximize the almighty dollar at Whole Foods . This opportunity was another opportunity to see that “less is more” and quality food really does make a difference.
Here are the top tips shared on my tour (I was took notes!):
1. Look for the Best Deals
You will be able to take advantage of their specials if you subscribe to Whole Foods website, like them on Facebook, regularly check out their “the whole deal” publication for budget-friendly tips and recipes and use their coupons. Most Whole Foods Markets allow you use a store and manufacturer’s coupon for the same product, but check your local store’s policy on that one. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value® is their store brand that reflects high-quality holiday basics at everyday value prices. There are hundreds of organic selections, too!
2. Plan Ahead
Plan your meals out a couple weeks in advance. Think what you might make with meat leftovers, for example; extra meat makes for a great fish tacos or for pouring over a salad. Buy in-season food and consider checking out the frozen section for items like vegetables or frozen fruit. I found that leftovers are often even tastier the next day and when my girl forgot her lunch at home by mistake, I found that I can send a mean home-cooked sack lunch!
3. Toast to Affordability
Try their budget wine called “Three Wishes”. At $1.99 a bottle in both red and white, you can’t go wrong. Top Ten Wines for top-notch wines at easy-to-swallow prices. I bought one of each, but not with my spending allowance!
Make a big salad for the week that includes fennel, peppers, carrots, cabbage, kale, etc. and when you have leftover meat, toss it in! Seeds and fruit go well, too, and you have a highly nutritious meal!
5. Buy in Bulk
Take advantage of the bulk value items. Organic produce that comes in prepackaged bags means less money, as does buying unpackaged spices and nuts from bulk bins. GreatBuy deals give you more for your money and present perfect opportunities to prepare food and then freeze some of it. Their chicken, beef, and turkey are perfect examples! Grass fed beef, a much leaner meat, was $3 per lb. Get volume discounts on many items when you buy a full case or more than a specific amount at once. Get the details in their stores at the Customer Service desk.
“Catch it While You Can” offers fish deals on Thursday. Follow the leads in #1 of this list and you will know in advance when to grab the sales.
Sunday currently offers BOGO frozen pizzas.
The meat department has noteworthy specials to ask about, too. Keep in mind that it is cheaper to “buy the whole bird”, but Whole Foods will offer the free service of cutting your meat selection for you, so you will not have that added expense.
- Give Whole Foods 15 minutes and they will marinate in a vacuum tumbling machine (all sorts of flavor choices) your choice of meat to produce what it would take a day to do in your refridgerator!
And now for my purchase!
I spent $90.89 with a $100 budget. I incorporated some of what I already had opened at home that needed to be consumed, such as: milk, peanut butter, rice, black beans, some leftover produce, shredded cheese, and some sauces. I had leftover pasta and cereal from my purchase, so I consider my cupboard items and extra $ credit as trade-off. With any meal planning, I first start with what I have sitting in the fridge, then go from there. You decide how I did on my challenge!
Smoothie (banana, yogurt and ice blended) and toast (2x)
Cereal and milk, apple and orange slices (2x)
French toast (used eggs from store and agave syrup we had in cupboard) with bananas on top, milk (2x)
Eggs and toast, apple slices, milk
Added to lunches: organic apples, organic carrot sticks
Sandwiches – used leftover meat or peanut butter & bananas (x3)
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Salad with chicken, carrots, red pepper
Chicken noodle soup with vegetable broth (dinner leftovers)
Curried chicken (used leftover chicken from dinners), leftover rice, mixed vegetables
Dinners (photos in order below)
Cod (used a Thai glaze already in fridge), leftover organic rice, brocolli, salad
Turkey meatballs and spagetti (with mushrooms), salad
Crock Pot chicken with onions and carrots (mixed vegetable broth with chicken juices for a broth)
Chicken soup (broth and vegetables from package, noodles from various boxes in cupboard!)
Taco salad (tortillas, ground turkey, black beans, toppings), mixed vegetables (frozen)
Leftovers plus butternut squash (first for me and I liked it a lot!)
My girl shared, “You actually can put together some really good meals.” That “actually” word I chose to pardon, since it was a compliment, but I must concur. I look forward to my next trip to Whole Foods.
Disclaimer: SDBM was compensated for this post and challenge. All opionions are my own.