One of my favorite places to shop for organic food is at Aldi. This German-based chain is a sensation in Europe. It doesn’t have the same cult status in America, yet. But more people in the United States are discovering this quirky, fast-growing grocery network.
Lately, Aldi has begun to carry a wider selection of organic items. These carry the familiar (and comforting) USDA-certified organic sticker. I’ve seen reports that Aldi will phase out foods made with genetically modified ingredients. But I haven’t been able to find out just what this means. Until I see the familiar (and comforting) Non-GMO sticker on a product, I’m going to assume it contains GMOs. (By law, USDA-certified organic food cannot contain GMOs either.)
However, by shopping carefully, you can save a lot of money at Aldi. Prices are typically much lower than at the grocery store. Lately, I’ve been buying USDA-certified organic meat. It’s just as good at what I get at the supermarket. And, at Aldi, organic meat is always in stock. (Not the case at the regular grocery store.)
Healthy Meal Ideas at Aldi
This is a natural health site. I write about natural remedies. I write about my own story, of how I’ve recovered from painful nerve inflammation. Herbal remedies have helped me tremendously. So has homeopathy and essential oils. But I don’t think any of these remedies would have made much of a difference, if I didn’t clean up my diet.
Right now, I eat mostly organic food. As you’re probably aware, organic food is expensive. I used to spend a fortune on groceries. But I’ve learned a number of tricks to make organic food affordable. You can read about them here. Shopping at Aldi is one of my favorite tricks.
Healthy Food from Aldi
You can now find a growing number of healthy and organic items at Aldi, if you don’t mind putting up with a few inconveniences.
Aldi is a unique shopping experience. At one time, in the United States, it didn’t take credit cards. It was strictly cash. Now, though, at my local Aldi, I noticed you can use a credit card. The carts are another story. You can’t use them for free. Instead, you sort of rent them for a quarter. You get this back when you’re done shopping.
Healthy Food in Aldi
The interior of Aldi looks like a warehouse. Food is displayed in cardboard boxes. Each Aldi has several thousand different items. This is much less, compared to a regular grocery store. At a regular supermarket, you’ll see endless jars of spaghetti sauce. There might be dozens of different brands.
Aldi will carry only one or two brands. One will probably be the house brand. (I often buy the organic generic brand.) However, this allows for aggressive cost cutting. Savings are passed along to the consumer. That’s one reason why Aldi food is more affordable than grocery store food.
Can You Find Healthy Food at Aldi?
Yes, you can find healthy food at Aldi. But you have to pick and choose. The chain sells a lot of junk food, which I suspect is not GMO free, despite a couple of published reports otherwise. It’s possible that packaged items originating in Europe don’t contain genetically modified ingredients. In the EU, food with GMOs must be labeled. This discourages grocers from stocking them.
Aldi is a German-based chain. It shares the same parent company as Trader Joe’s. Aldi stores are about as large as a Trader Joe’s outlet. I see this as an advantage. It’s easier to shop in a relatively small space. However, Trader Joe’s reminds me more of being in a health food store. I see more unhealthy items at Aldi. So you need to shop selectively.
In Europe, Aldi a sensation. The chain has a fan club. You can also find a book of recipes, all of which are made from Aldi food. Aldi is now expanding throughout the US. However, you still won’t find one in every region of the country.
Cheap Organic Food at Aldi
My local Aldi sells organic food. In the last year, the organic selections have increased. At Aldi, I less for organic food, compared to the grocery store. So it’s worth my time to shop there. Plus, I like the fact that Aldi is houses in a small building. You can get in and out quickly.
Aldi takes some getting used to. My first visit left me unimpressed. I was expecting more of a Trader Joe’s atmosphere. Aldi is more like a warehouse with shopping carts. The Aldi meat selection was extremely narrow. But that’s improved. Now I can find organic meat.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I could even trust the food. I wasn’t impressed with the healthy selections. So my first purchases were dog food and paper products. Then, I started feeding my dog grain-free kibble, which I couldn’t find at Aldi. However, by that time, I noticed a few organic items in stock. So I bought them.
Organic Produce at Aldi
In my honest opinion, produce is the weak link at Aldi. You can find really good deals. You can also find fruits and vegetables about to go bad. Perhaps, due to its aggressive cost cutting, Aldi seems reluctant to pull past-its-prime perishables. However, if you shop carefully, you can usually save money.
Sometimes, what you see now, you may not see later. I was happy to find organic Romaine hearts at $2.49 a bag. They’re $3.99 at the grocery store. However, my Aldi no longer carries this item.
Can You Buy Healthy Food at Aldi?
I also like the fact Aldi now has organic cereal, jellies and other types of snack foods. My family likes these. When I buy them, I try to make sure I’m buying snacks that don’t contain GMOs. Most of the corn and soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. Processed foods often contain corn and soy.
GMOs have been linked to cancer in lab animals. Once I saw pictures of lab rats with enormous mammary tumors, I made a vow to keep GMOs out of my house. Aldi now carries organic spaghetti sauce in a jar. I’ve even seen organic pizza there. (But I don’t see it all the time.)
Healthy Meal Ideas at Aldi
You can find just about everything you need at Aldi to put together a healthy meal. But not everything. For instance, I love to cook with shallots. I also like to make Asian dishes with cilantro. Neither of these are available at my Aldi.
You still have to watch the prices. One time I bought a bag of organic potatoes. I thought it was a great deal. However, I realized it was a 3-pound bag. Pound for pound, it was more expensive that the grocery store version.
Healthy Food to Buy at Aldi
Now, I can find most of what I need at Aldi. So I shop there regularly. This saves time, as well as money. However, I don’t buy from the Fit & Active line unless I can see the product contains no objectionable additives. Through the years, Aldi’s offerings have gotten healthier. At least they have at my local outlet. But there’s still room for improvement.