Sunday, May 22, 2016

My ALDI Shopping Trip: Healthy Food Finds

This post was sponsored by ALDI as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

For year's I've heard about ALDI from my pals in other states. I envied their awesome scores and grocery bill savings. I was pretty excited to hear that they were expanding into Southern California. We are getting one in my town but I guess that's not until next year. In this first wave of SoCal store openings, one opened a few towns over and I was given the opportunity as a local area blogger to check it out, buy some groceries on ALDI and share my thoughts on my fun shopping trip and finds. 

Markets Shopping Food Stores

Some facts for the ALDI newbies like me:
  • ALDI operates in more than 1,500 stores in 34 states
  • More than 90 percent of the products they offer are ALDI exclusive brands, they regularly buy the most commonly purchased grocery items in the most common size generally purchased, which secures sizable discounts for purchasing in volume.
  • The store hours are typically from 9 AM to 9 PM, which also helps keep labor costs down.
  • ALDI does not provide grocery bags – you must bring your own or buy reusable ones at the checkout stand. Everyone should use reusable bags it's an easy way to help the environment. This is law in some states (and *jumping on soapbox* should be in California too, Senate Bill 270 was signed into law but out of state plastic bag companies have given a ton of money to get it on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as a veto referendum - P.S. Vote YES to uphold the ban *jumping off soapbox*).
  • Carts are available for use but you must deposit a quarter. When customers are done using the cart, they return it and get their money back. I great big puffy heart love this idea! (*OK back on soapbox*) It drives me batty at other stores to see carts stuck in parking spots, flower beds and especially the ones left in the paths designed for wheelchairs. Hello?! Where are people's brains? What if wheelchairs can't pass or are unable to physically move them out of the way? One of my favorite Random Acts of Kindness ideas is running those back to the store. (*off soapbox again*) With the ALDI cart rental system that rarely needs to happen and if it does well you'll score their quarter. Reminds me of that old Tom Hank's movie in the airport.
Grocery Stores Shopping Trip

All of the above cool cost savings measures translate to savings for customers. Who doesn't like saving money?

Find an ALDI near you.

The store is smaller than traditional supermarkets - 4-5 aisles so if you are looking for a can of diced tomatoes, you will have 1 or perhaps 2 choices instead of 10 different flavor and size varieties but that sort of focused purchasing is another way you save $. I love reading labels and I was jazzed to see so many organic, free of hydrogenated oils, no colors or MSG items, look for their SimplyNature® line of products. If you are gluten free look for the liveGfree® products.

My haul... I bought some great organic spices, you know how expensive those can be. SimplyNature® organic red and green lentils too (lentils are packed with iron). They had a super price on Carlini Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray. I got some nuts for future recipes. I bought a bag of their SimplyNature® organic popped popcorn for our next movie night. I bought a box of their Barissimo coffee pods and they make a delicious and rich cup of Joe. Slurping it as I type.

FYI I bought my Mum a bag of their Benton's Caramel Coconut Fudge cookies that she said tasted exactly like the ones the kiddos sell. They also had a great wine section, lots of award winners and many from our Southern California local wineries for those reading who like to sip the vino.

Healthy Foods Products Market Finds

In the Meat section, I scored a great price on chicken. In Frozen Foods, I tossed a bag of Sea Queen Jumbo Cooked Shrimp in my cart. When I got home placed about 1/2 the bag in a bowl of cold water in the the fridge to defrost and within the hour they were perfected defrosted. We had them for a late lunch, they were delicious. I also picked up a bag of Speciality Selected Mahi Mahi Fillets. They had Sea Queen salmon, flounder, huge scallops, super prices.

I love to have frozen seafood on hand in the summer. I put a couple of fillets in the fridge in the AM and by dinner time they are defrosted. I just cut up some zucchini, maybe some green onions, a piece a fish, a sprinkle of seasoning, drizzle with a Tablespoon of olive oil wrap in foil and toss on the BBQ grill for 20 minutes or so. It makes a great protein-packed healthy dinner without heating up the house and there's hardly any clean-up.

Some Foil Packet Dinner Recipes

Speaking of healthy meals... once I picked up the bag of Sea Queen Jumbo Shrimp I knew I what I was going to make for lunch. In the Produce section, I bought all the ingredients to make some killer guacamole: fresh avocados, cilantro and limes. Over to the refrigerated section for Pueblo Lindo Cotija Cheese (shhh my secret ingredient) and fresh Little Salad Bar Salsa. The Little Salad Bar Salsa is ahhhh-mazing seriously best I ever had and that bag of cilantro was 25 cents?!

Aldi Eggface Weight Loss Low Carb Protein Fitness Health

More Healthy Mexican Recipes

I was jazzed to see big bags of Honeycrisp and Fujis for literally what I have paid for only 2 apples in other stores. I bought 3 bags. I sliced a few and cooked them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a squirt of Sugar Free Syrup till they were fork tender but not falling apart for toppings on Ricotta Pancakes, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese this week.

The Cheese section was awesome. I think I spent the most time here. You know how I love cheese. I was good I only bought a couple. I stopped myself from getting a 2 ball container of BelGioioso Burrata because although it was an awesome deal and HEAVEN (worth every. single. fat gram), it is limited to a once a year treat near my birthday. So ALDI, I will be back for it next month! I usually grill some peaches or saute some apples and top with a ball of burrata. It's better than birthday cake.

Recipes for Birthdays and Other Celebrations

Oh... non-food related... the middle aisle is like this random collection of awesome deals called Special Buys. I bought a gorgeous outdoor picnic blanket that would have been $39.99 in stores for only $9, a 2 pack of super cute garden gloves for $2. I was really tempted to get buy this outdoor fire pit they had. I saw practically the same one at the local garden center just the other day for $149 but the ALDI price was $69, still not in my budget right now because practically everyone in my family was born in the next few months. I hear these go fast so if you see something in this section don't expect it will be there when you return.

Healthy Mexican Recipes

Speaking of returning, the nearest store is about 20 miles away but that fresh salsa is worth the drive alone. I will be back and looking forward to the future opening of the Temecula, CA. ALDI store.

Want to learn more about ALDI? Let them know you want a store in your 'hood... more are coming. Head over to their Facebook page to find out all the 411 on the stores and let them know The World According to Eggface sent you over.

Did I miss any of your favorite ALDI finds? Let me know for my next trip.

Thanks for the opportunity and groceries ALDI.

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Lyndsay Withey said...

I'm not sure if all Aldi's will be doing this but just recently our local aldis started using credit cards.

We love shopping there and have been loyal shoppers for years. Their organic and gluten free sections both have exploded in the last 2 years.

Kristy Kapp said...

Their hummus is absolutely best hummus I have ever had. Aldi is litterally right behind our house so we walk there for groceries at least 2-3 times a week. The only thing we don't buy there is meat because I can get it cheaper at other places but everything esle is wonderful. They also have a double back guarantee on anything you don't like.

Cindy Wheeler said...

It is so frustrating!!! We have commercials for Aldi's down here in San Diego (on the Radio) but so far the site doesn't have us getting any. I assume we have the commercials because the radio stations reach up there to where you are but I call unfair!!!! Get us all excited and then come to find out it was all for nuthin'. Booooo. ;)

Michelle "Shelly" said...

Lyndsay: I was so jazzed to see so many organic & gluten free items... those are so pricing in other stores.

Kristy: Hummus is going on the list for next time. I love hummus.

Cindy: There's one in Vista! It was a toss up because sort of the same distance south as the Lake Elsinore one to the North of me. Temecula is getting one and I believe more in SD.

Nicole C-L said...

Been shopping Aldi since before my op... love the fresh produce, meat, cheese and veggies... this place saves me so much each month!

Jaded Mage said...

Aldi's is awesome! Its my go to place for my cheese fix among other things. they are so much LESS confusing than other retail supermarkets, they have everything but only one brand which makes it a quick stop for all of your shopping needs.

Samantha Marrs said...

My family shopped at Aldi's over 20 years ago when my mom worked in a factory and my dad worked for the State of Kansas. He was paid once a month and they had us 4 kids to feed. They would go to the nearest Aldi's (about 30 min drive) and spend a couple hundred dollars on canned, frozen and dry food for the month. I believe it was Aldi's prices that kept food on our table (good food at that). So I've always loved Aldi's! My husband likes their unsweetened almond milk better than any we've tried. I love their ground turkey and fresh produce! I'm super excited that you're getting a few in your area! Woohoo!!!

penneynurse said...

Last week, they had a smoker for $99! My husband has been researching this and this particular one goes for nearly $200!! It was freaking heavy, and a store employee helped me get it into my cart and into my vehicle!! Excellent customer service! We made a brisket in it last weekend :)