As much as we college-goers adore Whole Foods (betches love organic), there’s nothing worse than checking out and realizing your one bag of groceries cost over $100. With so many tempting options, hitting Whole Foods on a budget can be a challenge.
To help navigate, I’ve created a guide to the Whole Foods essentials: 6 must-try foods that are worth the cash, and 7 extravagances that you’re better off getting at Kroger or Meijer.
Whole Foods Essentials:
Veggie burgers: You do not need to be a vegetarian to enjoy these. At $4.99 each, buy multiple to store in your freezer. For a quick, healthy meal pop one in the toaster oven and top with cheese and avocado.
Peanut butter: Forget JIF or Skippy—at Whole Foods you can literally grind your own peanut butter from fresh peanuts and it’ll stay good in your pantry for weeks. Spread it on whole wheat bread for a perfect PB&J, or on apples and banana for a snack.
AtlantaFresh Greek yogurt: Not only is this yogurt made fresh in Atlanta and shipped immediately, there’s a variety of amazing flavors (try Ginger Peach, Black Cherry and Port Wine, Bananas Foster, Karma Java, Maple Bacon…the list goes on). It’s fresh, creamy and delicious. $2.39 each.
Yamato roasted spicy pumpkin seeds: A healthy and delicious snack, Whole Foods makes the best pumpkin seeds. Enjoy for $6.99/lb.
Salmon burgers: These freshly chopped, raw salmon burgers at the seafood counter are cheap (only $4.99/each) and aren’t found at a standard grocery store. Choose between salmon caprese, wild salmon feta and Texas chipotle. They’re easy to prepare and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.
Sesame tofu: If you’re like me and have no idea how to make tofu taste good, let Whole Foods do it for you. For $7.99/lb (about 2 large pieces), these Asian-flavored tofu steaks found in the pre-made section can be enjoyed as an easy dinner cold or heated-up.
Eggs: At Whole Foods, a dozen ranges from $2.99 to a whopping $5.99. To save, stick to non-organic eggs at the grocery store that cost a little over $1 for a dozen.
Cheese: A 7 oz bag of 365 Whole Foods shredded cheeses costs $3.99. Stick to the supermarket for cheese that tastes the same and only costs $2.88 or less.
Soy and almond milk: For a half a gallon of soy milk ($3.39) or almond milk ($3.69) Whole Foods is overpriced; I found the exact same brand at a local grocery store for $2.99.
Onions: Don’t splurge on onions for $1.99/lb at Whole Foods—buy at the supermarket for half the price.
Bread: Whereas a loaf of whole grain wheat bread at Whole Foods costs $2.79, at Meijer’s, a comparable brand costs only $1.99.
Cereal: Whole Foods has some great organic cereals, but for brands like Kashi, always buy at the supermarket ($3.99 at Whole Foods vs. $3.48 at Kroger).
Pita chips: Pita chips at Whole Foods cost $4.99 for the 365 Brand. Save at Kroger: a box of Town House Pita Chips only cost $2 each.