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Healthy Grocery Shopping in Rural America…..

Grocery shopping no matter where you go, I’m just going to say it, SUCKS. You never remember everything or you make a list to remember only to forget the list. Spend too much money, or goodness,  the kids act a fool in the store which only stresses me out further or really embarrasses me. Honestly it is our normal bi-monthly ritual. UGH….We have however decreased the amount of money we spend in the last few months since going to clean eating.

Everyone knows that eating healthy can be a challenge, first because you can never find EVERYTHING you need or want. Second, because it is so darn expensive. In a city or highly populated area, there are a variety of stores to choose from when shopping, but in a rural area such as the one I live in, there are literally two stores to grocery shop in and they are Wal-Mart and Aldi.

grocery3 Wal-Mart we all know is wishy-washy on the products they offer and regionally challenged when it comes to variety. So honestly we only use them for household, bathroom and clothing items. Except for the occasional meat sale. We only ever buy yellow tag and freeze it for later use. Or the quick trip, that we don’t have much time to go to the other store. However, Why is Walmart always so expensive? I can go to Walmart for 5 minutes get 3 items and spend $50. Its ridiculous and soul crushing. It’s a trap and I feel like I’m being bombarded everytime I go in. It is crowded and unorganized but does offer a huge variety of all sorts of things. I just can’t stand to fight the crowds (Some more stinky than others) or the sometimes really rude memebers of the staff. Not all but some are so rude that it reflects badly against the store.

Walmart Thanksgiving Shopping Events
So crowded…UGH

Aldi, is a God-send. We didn’t have those in southern Arkansas where we used to live. But here in Missouri, this store has helped us in so many ways. They offer so many options for clean, pesticide-free vegetables and fruits. groceryThe meat is organic and locally supplied. They offer hardly any name brand foods and it helps to keep the prices down. They also charge a deposit of a quarter for the use of a buggy, you get it back when it is returned, and you bring your own bags or can purchase some for 6 cents of 10 cents depending on plastic or paper. You also bag your own food. While this may seem a bit inconvenient, I find it refreshing.
We can go to Aldi and send $80, it will be ALL food and last my family 2 weeks.  That is huge. Our monthly expenses for a family of four on our grocery bill is around $200, for the WHOLE month. That is more than half of what the bill used to be using just Wal-mart and eating hamburger meat and canned goods. Aldi saves a ton of money and time for us. They do not accept coupons but prices are already so cheap that they do not need to.

grocery1
Nice, organized and clean rows. 

Healthy shopping also has to be planned, at least for us. In order for us to get the best deal and make sure that we don’t get pulled into the Wal-Mart trap, is to stay to the list. That also allows us to be aware of the of the deals.grocery6 In knowing the deals that are being held that week and doing the research before hand, it helps in making the meal plan for the week or pay period. I make a meal plan 3 to 4 days before the actual

shopping trip. I look at all the weekly ads online for both Wal-Mart and Aldi, make a list of all the relevant deals and then head over to Pinterest.

 

Pinterest, as I have said before is AWESOME! How did I ever do anything without it? I have a board dedicated to both healthy breakfasts and cooking healthy suppers. The hubs and I eat salad, or a packet of tuna of lunch. May not sound like much but I must add that lunch for us falls after our workouts and after our protein shakes, so we are pretty full or have no appetite. I usually try to eat about every two hours. Of course the meals consist of broccoli florets, an apple, banana or carrots. Fruits and veggies help to fill your stomach and keep it full for longer than sugary bull like cakes and sodas. I do feel like I am constantly eating though.

grocery7We go through A LOT of vegetables. I mean A LOT. The funny thing is though, buying veggies at Aldi is much different from buying them at Wal-Mart. Vegetables at Walmart can literally last several days to a week without getting so much as a brown spot. This is because they are covered in a wax coating that keeps them artificially fresh longer than organic or garden variety veggies. Some veggies have preservatives sprayed over them for the same purpose. It is kinda scary, for me, to think of all the chemicals and foreign ingredients being invisibly snuck into our bodies in this manner. Aldi’s vegetables are not covered in these tricks and therefore tend to not last as long. So, you have to plan. Plan for the veggies that are more likely to rot faster than the others. Spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes and onions all last a relatively long time compared to green peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Knowing how to store each vegetable or fruit the proper way also helps. (Shhh… I had to learn the hard way trust me, lots of moldy veggies and fruits at first.)

Healthy, cheap shopping can be done and simply but it does take preparation and time. Planning ahead is beneficial in knowing what can be cooked for the week. (I make an 8 day plan) We chose from the pre-made list, the morning of and go from there. Do we always stay to the list? Absolutely not, it becomes varied the later in the week we go, but we save money and at least know we can make a variety of things depending on our tastes for the day.  Give it a try, next time you have a few minutes, look at the local grocery ads online. Go to Pinterest and search “healthy recipes, clean eating or individual ingredients.” They will always produce something that looks good. Make a list of recipes say 3-4 that you want to try, then grocery shop for those recipes alone. It will save you money, you don’t have to get name brand or “Organic.” Many recipes can be made organic by simply using fresh ingredients, or canned without the juices.

When you try, give me some feedback as to how this helped or if it did. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.  Email me here, on facebook at @findingmommeblog or on instagram at @findingmommeblog

Happy Shopping!!!

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