Guys, this post is way overdue. I have been an Aldi fanatic for too long to not have sung their praises on the interwebs by now. A lot of people think if you eat Paleo, AIP, Whole 30, etc, that Aldi can’t accommodate, but I’m here to tell you it absolutely can! And for cheap. You are not stuck with Whole Foods alone! If you’re not familiar with Aldi, do a quick online search to see if there’s one in your area! They are a low-cost, minimal-employee chain store who dispense their carts with quarters (you get it back when you return the cart – don’t worry!), do not use plastic bags (you can buy your own reusable at the checkout line), and have minimized options to make your choices easier and their prices lower. It’s a frugal minimalist’s dream!
Our monthly grocery bill, for a family of 4 (with two toddlers who possibly eat more than any other children their age ever in the existence of time) who all eat Paleo is about $800-$900. If you’re not in the Paleo world, that might sound a bit steep, but if you are you know that’s toward the low end. It’s expensive to eat well! Aldi helps alleviate some of that stress, though. While my husband gets a few things that aren’t Paleo-friendly, the rest of us are required to follow a primal diet from AI disease and food sensitivities. I know this isn’t uncommon, so I hope to help some of you who also have no option but to follow a paleolithic diet!
Here’s what we DO buy at Aldi:
- All of our meat and protein. They have grass-fed beef at $5.89/lb (the best price I’ve seen); we tend to get 2-3 packages of grass-fed and one package of conventional 90% lean (if you can’t always buy grass-fed, go for the leaner cuts and try to drain the excess fat after cooking). We also buy whole chickens at $1.49/lb (we only purchase chicken from their hormone and antibiotic-free line – it’s in green packaging) and use the bones for bone broth. They have pork and ground turkey, neither of which are organic, but can fit the bill if you need. Their egg prices take the cake though (the paleo cake you make with the eggs you buy..ya know). They’re usually 89 cents and will often get down to 59 cents a carton, in which case we buy them all.
- Most of our produce. While not everything at Aldi is available organic, the selection is pretty good for the price. We buy apples, kale, and spinach organic and the rest conventionally. We haven’t had an issue with it – you’ve got to make your budget work, and we’re not a family that buys 100% organic (if you can afford that, awesome!). On a typical week, we get:
-romaine, spinach, kale, and artisan lettuce
-broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, onions, squash, garlic, and lime
-apples, bananas, and seasonal produce (their seedless watermelon is the BEST); they have a great variety of squashes in the winter and fruits in the summer.Their produce is all usually great (the avocados are outstanding) – you can’t really go wrong here!
- Some pantry items. This is the only area in which Aldi lacks for a fully-stocked Paleo kitchen. Luckily, they have several items available without additives. We are able to buy our olive oil, coconut oil (although I prefer Dr. Bronner’s and order that online), dried fruit, nuts, and some seasonings in their organic line. Since we can tolerate some gluten-free grains (not paleo), you can also get great deals on organic quinoa and rice. We usually buy:
-Raisins (literally the only ingredient!) and bagged dates
-Bagged pecans (most of their nuts contain additives or non-paleo oils, be sure to check the label)
-Olive oil (I’ve had great success with all of their olive oils, but when the California-sourced option is available, I stock up!)
-Kalamata olives (hard to find olives with all paleo-friendly ingredients!)
-Sweet potato chips (cooked in sunflower oil)
-Vinegar, pure maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar
-Green tea and honey
- Frozen foods. No lack here for Aldi! Weekly, we buy:
-Field-to-frozen veggies including green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and peas
-Frozen fruit (mostly berries and occasional peaches)
With that said, Aldi doesn’t have every item we need. What we can’t purchase at Aldi we buy online at Thrive market or in-store at Kroger or Sprouts. Here’s what we get elsewhere/don’t buy:
–Nut butters. No Paleo-friendly options at Aldi at this point, sadly. They just added a sunflower butter, but the allergen label says “may contain soy and tree nuts”. Wah, wah.
–Coconut products (oil, milk, butter, flour, flakes, etc). While Aldi has coconut oil, the consistency is a bit weird and I much prefer Dr. Bronner’s. We get all of this at Thrive, typically.
–Some produce. Guys, I have a parsnip obsession. Aldi has no parsnips. It’s my one beef with them. Occasionally Aldi runs out of or doesn’t stock certain produce, so we pick that up at Kroger.
–Spices. While Aldi released an organic spice line not long ago, we don’t usually buy organic for our seasonings. Their other spices may contain milk, soy, and tree nuts, so we stay far away due to our own sensitivities.
–Non-toxic products. Aldi has great deals for some household essentials, like TP and paper towels, but their cleaning supplies and personal care products are traditional and chemical-laden. We turn to either Thrive Market, Sprouts, or good ol’ DIY for ours.
–Canned items. We’ve become a no-can family because of our own intolerance to canned foods, but Aldi also doesn’t offer the best selection of additive or sugar-free canned goods. They do have green beans with nothing but water and salt, but everything else seems to have sugar or additives.
–Deli meat and bacon. Sorry guys, nothing here. You can get quality bacon at Sprouts, though.
–Broth. Aldi offers lots of broth, but if you want the real stuff (bone broth!), order the Pacific brand at Thrive or make it at home – homemade is by far the best! We use the bones from the whole chickens we buy.
–All other pantry items. We usually keep nutritional yeast, palm oil shortening, collagen peptides, gelatin, and a few other non-perishables on hand and Aldi doesn’t have much in the line of Paleo pantry staples. Again, we turn to Thrive, Kroger, or Sprouts for those needs.
Arguably, you could get away with only shopping at even Aldi if you’re full Paleo. Their meats and produce will get you a long way! We choose to purchase our other products for diet variety, but most of them are not absolutely necessary for a nutrient-dense, exciting diet. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any other questions! Happy shopping, eating, and nourishing!