Over the last few years I’ve seen several people share their favorite items from Trader Joe’s, and while I love Trader Joe’s as much as the next gal, the one nearest to us is an hour away. When we’re in the area we usually have a long shopping list of stuff we want to stock up on (we love their coffee and I’m crazy about the dried baby sweet pineapple), but we only make it there every month or two. Instead, I do our daily shopping at Aldi. I just started shopping there regularly less than a year ago and since then, I’ve become a huge fan. I think Aldi has a bit of a weird, mixed bag reputation (even though it’s owned by the brother of the guy who founded Trader Joe’s), which is why I kind of always avoided the place. The truth is, they have some incredible stuff at really unbelievable prices. I’ve basically cut our grocery bill in half since we started shopping there for the bulk of our basic daily groceries. Some speciality ingredients require a separate stop, but for the cost savings it’s well worth the effort. Today I wanted to share my Aldi shopping guide, loaded with our personal favorites. I’ve also included prices for each item. (This may vary by location, but hopefully gives you a good benchmark.) Any other Aldi fans out there?
Above: Black bean chipotle burgers ($2.49 for 4) | Ciabatta bread ($2.49) | Honey goat cheese ($1.99) | Organic baby arugula ($2.49) | Fresh salsa ($2.49) | Parmesan cheese bites ($1.69) | Olive tapenade hummus ($1.99)
Above: Cherry tomatoes on the vine ($2.49) | Gruyere cheese ($4.49) | Sriracha hot sauce ($1.99) | Crab cakes ($4.99) | Ciabatta bread ($2.49) | Organic baby arugula ($2.49)
Above: Artichoke hearts ($1.29) | Unsweetened almond milk ($1.99) | Organic tomato basil sauce ($1.99) | Organic black beans ($0.89) | Sriracha hot sauce ($1.99) | Organic veggie broth ($1.99) | Organic coconut oil ($4.49) | Organic natural peanut butter ($3.99) | Organic raw apple cider vinegar ($3.99)
Above: Organic cage-free brown eggs ($3.29) | Naan flatbread ($3.49) | Fresh mozzarella log ($2.69) | Honey goat cheese ($1.99) | Black beans ($0.89) | Organic coconut oil ($4.49)
Above: Dried apricots ($1.99) | Classic hummus ($1.99) | Organic almond butter ($4.99) | Whole cashews ($4.89) | Pistachios ($3.99) | Gluten free crackers ($1.49)
Above: Fresh tortellini ($1.99) | Organic tomato basil sauce ($1.99) | Artichoke hearts ($1.29) | Fresh shredded parmesan ($3.79) | Dark chocolate pretzel clusters ($3.99) | Asiago cheese ($3.79)
A few general tips when shopping at Aldi! Be sure to bring your own bags, since they don’t provide any bags. (Locally they charge $0.06 for paper and $0.10 for plastic bags respectively.) Also, you’ll need a quarter for your cart, which you get back when you return it. (So they don’t have to hire people just to wrangle up shopping carts.) Both of these are tactics that help keep their costs lower and keep the prices low in turn. Also, keep in mind, that Aldi is not a service-based retail operation. Much like their European roots, the idea here is that you fend for yourself a little bit (such as bagging your own groceries) and they can keep the staffing to a minimum and therefore offer crazy good prices. It’s a business model that works and I’m a huge advocate. I should mention in general that Aldi is known for great produce at excellent prices, including a nice little selection of organic fruits and veggies. They are the only place locally where I can find organic avocados, and I buy them weekly for Emerson since she’s an avocado freak. Shopping at Aldi has very literally changed the way I shop for and feed our family.
p.s. This post is NOT sponsored and I have no relationship with Aldi in any way. I just really really love that place.
[Art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]