Edited by Chelsea Leeds
Photography by Ana Gambuto
LOCAL SUPERMARKETS ARE OFTEN OVERLOOKED IN THE GROCERY GAME, BUT IT’S LOW-KEY THE BEST HIDDEN GEM TO FIND YOUR FAVORITE HEALTHY TREATS AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE. Sure they don’t have the fancy gleam of a Whole Foods or underground cred of a local health food shop, but they’re dependable, approachable and even a bit nostalgic. I remember hitting our local Shoprite and Kings with my mom and it’s one of my favorite memories. Good thing lots of generic supermarkets are getting with the program and offering more clean and organic options all across the States. It only takes a few visits and a little scouting to get familiar and find where all our favorite items live. With a little preparation and planning, shopping healthy at your local supermarket will quickly become a breeze. Read on!
TIPS AND TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Read labels 🙂
Don’t take pretty packaging for granted. Turn over any product you’re thinking of purchasing and read the back. You can bypass the not so consumer-friendly nutritional label and go right to the ingredient list. Here ingredients will be listed in order from most to least used in the product. Keep an eye out for artificial ingredients, “natural flavors,” added sugar disguised under a whole host of names, fillers and gums.
Don’t shop hungry
Ok, great in theory, but I fall prey to this one all the time 😉 Still, this is how you get in trouble and end up with way more groceries than you planned! My tip is going earlier in the day rather than right before dinner when you’ll no doubt pick up everything in sight.
Go with a game plan
Whether you’re shopping with a recipe in mind or just filling up on some pantry staples, make a list ahead of time and stick to it. This way you don’t find yourself buying extra food that you’ll end up having to waste.
Take inventory ahead of time
I like to keep a running grocery list on my iPhone notes to jot down essential items we’re low on. It helps me keep track of what items I need to restock next time I head to the store. This might include shelf stable items, such as pasta, rice, quinoa, spices, seasonings or even detergent- anything that’s not perishable and that I use on a regular basis.
NON-NEGOTIABLES – I’ll go non-organic for certain produce (except the “dirty dozen”) but the following ingredients are on my “no-fly” list:
– Hydrogenated palm oil
– Artificial colors
– Corn syrup
– “Natural flavor”
-Caramel color, any red dyes
– Any gums i.e. guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan
– Artificial sweeteners- aspartame, sucralose, xylitol, sorbitol, etc
– Sodium nitrite/nitrate
THE CLEAN 15 & DIRTY DOZEN
When shopping for produce at my local supermarket I like to keep the EWG’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list in mind. It’s super helpful to pull on when the store doesn’t have a large variety of organic produce. The Clean 15 have the lowest likelihood of containing residual pesticides, while the Dirty Dozen have the highest likelihood of being contaminated.
The Clean 15 for 2019
2. Sweet corn
4. Frozen sweet peas
The Dirty Dozen for 2019
Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s
Reminiscent of Cheerios, this cereal is a hit with kiddos. It’s also extremely low in sugar, a rarity for most cereals I see on the shelves!
Try it with our homemade nut milk available for purchase at the Shop!
Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch
A cleaner and healthier version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs
Packed with whole grains, such as hard red wheat, brown rice, oats, barley, and buckwheat.
ECOS Free & Clear Laundry Detergent
ECOS Free & Clear Detergent is not only fragrance-free but free of harmful ingredients found in many conventional detergents. For someone that’s sensitive to scent, this detergent was a game-changer for me.
Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Powder & Packs
When the dishwasher is fully loaded and there’s no room left for even a single utensil, I opt for Seventh Generation’s Pods, but when it’s only partially filled, I pour in however much powder will get the job done. Both are completely free of any fragrances, dyes, and chlorine bleach and leave your dishes squeaky clean.
GT’s Kombucha Gingerade
The OG of kombucha. GT’s is one of my favorite kombuchas for its high probiotic value and low sugar content. We also have it on tap at the Shop! 🙂
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
Harmless Harvest’s coconut water comes straight from Thai grown, fair trade coconuts. It’s certified organic and never thermally pasteurized. Thanks to its ultra-hydrating properties, it’s perfect for a post-sweat session.
All it takes is a few leaves of fresh herbs to elevate any dish. Parsley and basil are some of my go-tos and since I typically use them in raw dishes, such as dressings, dips, and salads, I like to make sure they’re organic.
Some herby favorites 🙂 Nut-Free Pesto, Tahini Green Goddess, or Raw Kale and Olive Tapenade.
Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Arugula
Arugula serves as the base to the many salads in my life, particularly my pre-dinner one. Since arugula already has a bit of flavor on its own, I like balancing its peppery notes with a basic vinaigrette.
Gotham Greens Butterhead Lettuce
I love Gotham Greens for their greenhouse-grown, pesticide-free, premium quality lettuce leaves. They’re local to NYC and leading the way when it comes to urban farming.
Butternut, Acorn, and Spaghetti Squash
I’m all about cooking seasonally whenever possible, so come fall, squash typically finds its way onto my table more often than not. They’re easy to leave in the oven, usually 400 for about 45 minutes until they get golden brown. Always bake face down so they steam up nicely! Result: golden crust and soft interior.
Featured in Baked Pesto Spaghetti Squash Boats, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Butternut Squash Alfredo.
Chloe’s Cold-Pressed Pops
While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, my kids love Chloe’s Cold-Pressed Pops. I feel good knowing that they’re mostly made with fruit and are totally vegan and gluten-free.
Goya Organics Chickpeas
While I love buying dry beans and cooking them myself, canned beans cut the cooking time in half. All it takes is a quick pop open of the can, a rinse, and your chickpeas are ready! The best is to look for brands that use BPA Free cans but these are great in a pinch.
Featured in Chana Saag.
Goya Organics Black Beans
Featured in Creamy Cilantro Rice & Beans.
Rice Select Long Grain Basmati Rice
I love using basmati rice in a side or base of a bowl. It makes the meal a little more substantial and doesn’t require much work at all. I highly recommend using an InstaPot if you have, but if not, it turns out just as well on the stove.
Featured in Green Goddess Rice and Spinach Dill Rice.
Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
Rao’s Marinara is a tried and true staple in my kitchen. I’ll mix it with gluten-free pasta for a quick dinner or pour it over some raw veg that I’ll bake-off in the oven.
Featured in Creamy Polenta with Stewed Marinara Veggies.
Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Rice Noodles
A great base for Asian inspired noodle dishes.
Featured in 15 Min Vegan Pad Thai and Chilled Sesame Mung Bean Noodles.
GimMe Organic Premium Roasted Seaweed
A lunch box staple!
While I try to limit the oil I use in dishes to no more than two tablespoons, avocado oil is great when cooking with high heat since it has a super high smoke point.
You’ll find it in a number of dishes featured on the blog!
Bragg’s Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Another staple oil in my kitchen, but with a lower smoke point. I love extra virgin olive oil for its antioxidant properties and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to support heart health.
Bionaturae Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Ancient Harvest Quinoa
Quinoa is one of the only plant-based complete proteins on the market. It has all the essential amino acids you need to break down food, repair body tissue, and perform many other bodily functions.
Featured in Asian Quinoa Salad.
Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Sourdough Bread
If I’m shopping for bread and not going with a gluten-free option, I’ll opt for a sprouted loaf. It has less gluten than typical bread and is easier to digest since the grains are already partially sprouted. This makes it a lot easier for your digestive system to break down. Toast it up and it’ll pass through your system with even more ease! This loaf is made with organic whole wheat berries and subtly sweetened with honey.
Try it with Chickpea Tuna.
Ak-Mak Sesame Cracker
Ak-Mak makes a traditional Armenian cracker bread from organically grown, stone-ground whole wheat flour. I’ll put some of these out with a crudités when entertaining.
Try it with Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade.
Lundberg Rice Cakes
Lunderg’s rice cakes are gluten-free and come in salted, lightly-salted, and salt-free varieties. I love to top them with vegan mayo, tomato and sprouts 🙂
Try it with Cashew Ricotta and a drizzle of Brightland Olive Oil.
Edward & Sons Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps
Petite enough to fit into a lunch box, I love them also for dipping in hummus and guac!
Foxy Organic Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce makes it easy to satisfy a crunch craving with its neutral flavor and high crunch factor. I’ll sometimes chop a little up to throw into a salad, but my go-to move is using it to scoop up a heartier dip or cooked veg.
Try it with Pumpkin Seed Dip or Curried Tofu Salad.
Foxy Organic Cauliflower
Try it Roasted with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce.
Dijon mustard serves as a base and emulsifier in a number of my go-to dressings.
Featured in Bonberi Basic Vinaigrette and Bistro Shallot Vinaigrette.
Cholula Original Hot Sauce
When you want to spice things up.
Featured in Plant-Based Grain-Free Taco.
Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup
Whether it’s on a veggie burger or baked potato fries, some foods just need a little ketchup and Sir Kensington’s does it best. Their ketchup is free of high fructose corn syrup and made with high-quality California grown tomatoes.