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Six Places to Shop for Healthy Food

I wish I could say that I’m a bargainista, but I’ve always valued convenience more than price. When I first lived on my own, I bragged about my “good buys” purchasing generic macaroni and cheese boxes for $0.29 each and ramen noodles by the carton at the local drugstore. However, that was nearly two decades ago when we all believed that eating non-fat was healthy. Now that I try to consume most of my meals organic and plant-based, wholesome food shopping is a priority. While I spend much of my living clean adventure time in Whole Foods or health food markets, I enjoy spending time visiting other places to purchase food. For the busy individual who is looking for more wholesome and healthy choices, check out these places to shop if you want to eat clean.

Six Places to Shop for Healthy Food

Six Places to Shop for Healthy Food

Local Farmer’s Markets
Why didn’t I realize the benefits of local farmer’s markets earlier in life? They are fun, fast and cheap. Typically, I can buy six-to-eight small bags of produce, which cost me less than $30. This is the biggest bargain yet. Check the Department of Agriculture in your local state for more information on the dates and locations for the closest markets in your area.

As I speak nationally to corporate audiences about managing wellness while living a professional life, I’ve come across a number or companies like Best Buy Headquarters and Pepsico that offer Farmer’s Markets right on their premises. If you are interested in inquiring more about the possibilities for your work place, talk to an employee resources group, an HR representative or contact me to help you navigate the path.

How I Shop for Food Now That I Eat Clean
Farmer’s Markets are an easy and cheap way to shop for a lot of food.

Farm Share Programs
For a minimal membership fee, local farms offer weekly baskets of fresh produce to pick-up. The benefits include lower priced fruits and vegetables, oftentimes the items are fresher than grocery store produce because it’s handpicked hours prior to pickup. Some farms will deliver to your neighborhoods, others request you pick up at their location. LocalHarvest.org is a fabulous resource to learn more about community supported agriculture (CSAs.)

Traditional Grocery Stores
More and more traditional grocery stores carry organic lines. In Connecticut, Stop & Shop carries produce, cheese, meats, dairy and packaged goods under the Nature’s Promise brand. While not all stores have their own organic lines, many places have increased the number or items with the organic sticker or non-GMO butterfly logo. If you’re looking for deals, though, I find that traditional grocery stores aren’t necessarily the cheapest. While their organic selection isn’t as great as Whole Foods or traditional grocers, Trader Joe’s has significantly increased their organic products offered at much lower prices than other stores.

Healthy Markets
I’ve said it once and I will say it again, I love Whole Foods. But then again, I take it for what it’s worth: a wholesome food market. I don’t assume that every product in stock is worthy to buy. I still read labels. But they make it a lot easier there. The non-GMO (non-genetically modified) brands are highly visible. The organic and local produce is well-marked. And the personnel is largely well-informed and helpful, making my shopping experience easy. If you aren’t a big Whole Foods fan and don’t want to support the chain store, there are plenty of mom-and-pop healthy food markets that still thrive. While their prices may be a bit higher, they tend to employ very knowledgeable and passionate staff to answer the most specific wellness questions.

Wholesale Clubs
If you aren’t a card carrying Costco (or BJ’s) member and care about eating healthy, now you have another reason to jump in line and get one. In 2016, Costco sold more than $4 billion in organic sales exceeding Whole Foods by more than $500 million dollars. Knowing that consumers are more savvy in their food purchasing and were demanding cheaper options, Costco and many other wholesale retailers have increased their certified organic products significantly. My last visit, I purchased GT’s Kombucha for about $1.99 each. This product typically averages a $3.99 price tag at most grocery stores. I also walked away with the equivalent of two grocery bags of produce including organic strawberries, organic apples, organic kale/green salad and organic milk.

Six Places to Shop if You Eat Healthy
I love kombucha.

Other Delivery Services
There are so many options today for convenient clean and reasonably priced food. If you don’t have time for a farmer’s market visit or can’t commit to a CSA, companies like Field Goods deliver produce baskets straight to your office building.

In addition to grocery store delivery services like Stop & Shop’s Peapod, Amazon is gaining traction with their AmazonFresh grocery delivery in major markets like Seattle, Northern California, Southern California, New York and Philadelphia areas. If AmazonFresh doesn’t deliver to your area, Amazon still highly promotes it’s Amazon Pantry service that sells many organic non-perishable items at reasonable prices. For other non-perishable items, a subscription to Thrive Market provides lower prices to all premium non-GMO and organic brands. Think Whole Foods specialty items at Costco prices…and you don’t even have to buy them in bulk.

And lastly, if you’re craving divine wholesome meals and have additional money to spend, meal-prep delivery services may be a viable option. Companies like Hello Fresh and GreenChef provide all the wholesome ingredients with easily digestible recipes. I’ve found that these services provide eclectic and tasty meals, yet often it’s not just a few simple steps.

Do you tend to shop for more for convenience or price? Where are your favorite places to grocery shop? 

If you like this post and want other clean living tips, please share and follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterest and YouTube

Or let’s meet in person…hire me to inspire your organization or team to embrace positivity and wellness for a successful work and personal life. Check out CarynSullivan.com for more information.

For your next grocery trip

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17 Comments

  1. Jacki Broze

    Just began reading your articles. I try not to purchase GMO foods and buy organic whenever I can. I do most of my shopping at Trader Joes. (Bill works there, so the employee discount is nice.) Heather is in town with the twins and we’re going to make food for her twins in my Nutribullet. Hoping to hear good news all the time about you.
    Jacki

    • Caryn Sullivan

      HI Jacki. Thanks for the good wishes. We are doing well here. I love the Nutribullet. Its easy to shove a bunch of fruit and then hide some veggies and blend for older kids. For babies, it is awesome for pureed food. I’ve seen some good organic foods at Trader Joes. I don’t shop there often because it is a little further than the Whole Foods, so let me know some of your favorites. Have a great fall and thanks for following the blog.

  2. I love farmer’s markets! We have a great one every Saturday, I try to make it weekly but often fail. Boo!! I think I’ll start making sure I go, bc farm fresh produce is always better.

    I also wish that we had more farm shares around here. Every summer I look and we don’t have any… it makes me sad, bc I have friends who take advantage and I am always jealous of what they get to bring home. Mmmm

    • Caryn Sullivan

      I agree. It’s awesome to shop at farmer’s markets but I, too, often miss it. I have a few friends that have their own small gardens and the produce is super fresh and often huge. I don’t have a green thumb, but have often thought about trying that, too. Imagine going in your backyard and picking tomatoes and other veggies for dinner.

    • Caryn Sullivan

      I know. I love them, too. I’m sorry there aren’t any near you. Have you considered starting your own garden. (I’m one to talk because I’m a little scared to do it.) I started this summer with those herb pots and it actually worked for a few weeks. I think I cut off the herbs too fast because no more grew. Oh well…learning one step at a time.

  3. I need to find a farmers market now that I’m off for a few weeks – thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I was VERY spoiled by living in Los Angeles. We belonged to a CSA and I had innumerable options for healthy food, including a year-round farmer’s market. Moving to a small city in the Midwest two years ago ….where “salad” is defined as gelatin with unidentifiable floating objects in it… has often been an adventure in frustration. But at least I can get all of the summer squash I want for free from people at work who sneak into the kitchen and leave it on the table with “please take me home” signs on them.

    I lost six months of exploring time to the polar vortex but slowly but surely I am starting to find resources so that I can eat cleaner. So, I haven’t given up hope, yet!

    Thanks for sharing this on the #SITSsharefest!

    • Caryn Sullivan

      You words are definitely understood over here. I’m lucky in CT to have the options of Whole Foods, Farmer’s Markets and CSAs, but it wasn’t always this way. I used to love to travel to LA where I could get healthy snacks at every corner. Not that I always took advantage of it, but I knew it was available. Good luck on your adventures finding fresh foods.

  5. Always love how you take a trip down memory lane in many of your posts Caryn. Ahhh the day of fat free. I lived on low fat ramen noodles out of a hot pot, twizzlers, diet coke and snackwells devil’s food cakes in college and thought I was healthy!

    I joined an organic CSA this year and love it! We’ve tried new veggies, some with success and some with hopes to find a better recipe for next year. I also have a small raised garden bed (5’x2′). It is SUPER easy. I literally planted 4 cherry tomato plants and then a few favorite veggies and herbs from seed–was able to get organic soil, plants and seed at our local garden center. Truly hardly any weeding and it has just magically grown. My daughter loves it and will eat basil and mint right off the plants as we search for “red, juicy strawberries and tomatoes” in “my garden” as she calls it. I am seriously the least dedicated or educated gardener out there, so if I can do it, anyone can! And it is great to go in your yard and pick a few veggies for a snack or meal! I say give it a try!

    • Caryn Sullivan

      Katie – you are inspiring me to plant my own little garden. I always think of gardening as such a commitment. How did you learn how to do it? Home Depot courses? YouTube channels? Family?

  6. Dan and I made a raised garden this year from buying cedar at Home Depot. I will blog about it soon (likely before next Summer). It’s really has been easy and it was awesome fun for the kids. We have grown so many tomatoes that we can donate some of our produce weekly to a local food shelf. Definitely give it a try … talk about cheap!! Love ya.

  7. There’s a place in Rhode Island that has an indoor farmer’s market through the winter. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? I wish we had something like that where I live!

    • Caryn Sullivan

      That’s awesome. I will have to check it out. RI is only a hour from me in CT. Not that I can make it a weekly trip, but it sure would be fun for a quick winter adventure. Thanks.

  8. I get so excited when summer finally arrives, because that means farmers markets! I didn’t know about the Costco numbers! That is so good to hear.

    • Yes, Costco is pretty amazing. We have two nearby…but not close enough that I would go every week. Happy Friday and Farmer’s Market shopping for us this weekend.

  9. I try to shop as cheaply as I can, but nothing beats produce from the farmers market. It always tastes so much better!
    Becca recently posted…It’s Time to Start Blogging Again / Big Life Changes

    • TOTALLY. It’s amazing how much better fresh veggies from a garden or farmer’s market tastes. How about berries? Do you go to a farm or buy conventionally?

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