Healthy Eating On A Budget
Whole Foods shows you how to shop healthy on a budget
Bikini season can bring on the desire to eat healthier in order to lose weight. No doubt the grocery stores end up inundated with inquiries about what healthy foods to eat, and Whole Foods Market Henderson is staying abreast of the public’s healthy-minded desires by hosting a variety of health-conscious classes each month. From learning to cook salmon two ways, to learning about the Master Cleanse, to how to eat healthy on a budget, Whole Foods has a class to keep you informed and, well, healthy too!
I attended the most recent Healthy Eating on a Budget store tour at Whole Foods Market Henderson, and I recommend it to anyone looking to get better acquainted with not only the layout of this grocery store and what it offers, but also with the idea that, yes, you can shop here without necessarily breaking the bank.
We started in the bright, and well-stocked produce area where Kerrie, our bubbly and engaging tour guide (who also happens to be the store’s marketing maven), introduced us to ANDI. ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index”, and, as seen at this Whole Foods, is basically the short list of veggies scored from greatest to least nutrient-rich (it also includes nuts, seeds, beans, and fruit). For instance, you may love simple green leaf lettuce salads, but you would be better off, health-wise, to include some arugula, spinach, or even kale to your salad mix to get the biggest nutrient bang for your buck.
As we moved through the produce department, Kerrie imparted a couple of great tips. When you buy fruits, like pineapple, cut the pineapple once you get home and then freeze the cut-up fruit on a cookie sheet. These frozen bites of deliciousness can then easily be added to your morning smoothie, or popped into a baggie for a healthy snack on-the-go. And freezing them on a cookie sheet keeps the fruit from sticking together in a big glob (which would happen if you just put them in a bag in the freezer). Also, don’t let some of the price-per-pound signs scare you off (Kerrie mentioned these are often intimidating to folks). She pointed out some wonderful oyster mushrooms that sell for about $23 per pound. Yikes! But, when you stop and think about it, you often don’t need a whole pound of these (they were rather large mushrooms, so a pound would be overkill). Pick up one or two mushrooms, chop them up and use some in an omelet one morning and then put the rest in a salad for lunch the next day.
Our next stop was the bulk aisle located adjacent to the produce area. This is the candy store for healthy eaters! Everything from sprouted grains (a healthy alternative to bacon bits and cheese for adding to salads), to various varieties of rice, nuts, beans, and even make-your-own nut butters. Again, some of the prices-per-pound may seem high, especially the more exotic the item is that you are considering buying (i.e. goji berries), but a little can go a long way. And the best part about buying in bulk? You get food items that haven’t been processed (i.e. ready-made peanut butters can contain added sugar, but there’s no added sugar when you make your own nut butter).
Meat and Seafood Counters with Perks!
I love visiting Whole Foods’ seafood counter! The variety is fantastic, the presentation very appealing, and, in my experience, the cuts of seafood I’ve purchased here have been worth every penny. The same can be said for the items from their meat counter. And they do have sales! I greatly appreciate that they offer already seasoned and prepped seafood items and meats, which save you time (adhering to the old adage time is money). And best of all, if you’re really running on a tight schedule and don’t have time to cook up what you choose at their seafood and meat counters, they will…get this…season it up and grill it for you! Want to know what’s even better than that? They do the grilling for you AT NO ADDITIONAL COST! Cha-ching! I tried their salmon, just over a pound and cut up into three servings, grilled with teriyaki sauce. Yum! All I had to do when I arrived home was zap some frozen veggies in the microwave and put them on a plate alongside the delicious salmon and a healthy dinner was done!
Shop the center cases in their frozen aisle!
When we got to the frozen food aisle, Kerrie pointed out that either side of the aisle contains a good number of items that tout gluten-free, fat-free, or sugar-free. However, with those claims, it must be noted that you may be trading in a lack of gluten for an abundance of sodium. That is probably NOT what you’re looking for. She then pointed out to the row of cases in the middle of the frozen food section which are packed with simple, cut-up frozen fruits and veggies. Many of these are under the Whole Foods in-house brand, 365º, that are reasonably priced (comparable to some brands seen in other markets), and offered in conventional and organic varieties. If you don’t have time to cut up your own fruits and veggies, this is a healthy alternative.
Lastly, make food items s_t_r_e_t_c_h
This last tip, which was repeated throughout the tour, is something of no-brainer. If you can buy food items that can be stretched into several meals, then that is going to stretch your dollar further. Kerrie showcased Whole Foods’ soups and chili, that can be combined with other ingredients to stretch out beyond one meal. Kerrie recommended combining the Espresso Black Bean Chili with cut-up butternut squash and brown rice for a super-filling and delicious meal.
Want more deals?
Get down to the nearest Whole Foods and grab their latest “The Whole Deal” or get it online. This is their monthly circular that contains lots of coupons to help you save more money on your quest to eat healthy. “The Whole Deal” also provides simple recipes so you can turn your healthy finds into delicious meals. And keep an eye on the Whole Foods Henderson events page to get the latest on their healthy shopping, cooking, and eating classes.