Healthy Food at Great Prices
Posted September 27, 2018 by Matthew Romans
My family shops primarily at Food Lion and Walmart for food. In an effort to get the best food for our family (five of us when the boys aren't off at college) and at the best prices, we have shopped at almost every grocery store within a 10 mile radius of our home. We have found the best options for the combination of price and quality are Food Lion and Walmart. We do have some items we buy at Wegmans and Trader Joes as well, but these are primarily to fill out our list. Interestingly I rarely if ever see my neighbors at the discount grocers. Why? There are several reasons. First, there are many, many choices in our area (Giant, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, etc.). Second, there exists a bit of elitism here in the Northern Virginia suburbs. Being one of the wealthiest areas in the country, many people choose to and can afford to shop at more expensive grocers such as Whole Foods (Hey, I love the idea of stopping for a beer and a few raw Oysters in the middle of Wegmans as much as the next guy!). Third, many honestly believe the healthiest foods or the most healthy and tasty options (ex. organic, natural, wild caught, etc.) can only be found at the higher end grocers such as Wegmans and Whole Foods.
Of course, to each his own. I enjoy having many choices for groceries in the area. However, here are a few facts that may encourage you to look at some other options when shopping for food:
-Walmart is one of the largest retailers of organic food in the Unites States. They are the largest seller of organic milk in the entire world. Walmart spends over $4 billion annually with small and medium sized farms in this country.
-The largest retailer of organic food in the country is not Whole Foods; rather, it is Costco, another great option for food shopping when volume buying.
-Even outside of the "Organic" label, many foods now are improved from just a few years ago. Many food items are no longer made with trans-fats. Many animal products have reduced or eliminated growth hormones. Many conventionally raised animals are allowed some degree free range (not ideal but vast improvement from standard confined animal operations). Many fruits and vegetables are grown with less pesticides. Many fruits and vegetables are flash frozen the day they are harvested, which helps maintain maximum nutritonal value. You can choose pastas and rice and other grains that are not hyper-refined and enriched.
A few examples from my recent grocery stops give an idea about what you can get:
-I bought a 3 pound bag of frozen bluberries at Walmart for just over $7. I use these almost daily in my yogurt or in smoothies.
-I bought organic chicken thighs from Food Lion for $2.99 per pound on special.
-Apples, which can range from $2 per pound to over $4 per pound are typically $1.40-$1.70 per pound at Walmart and a bit more for organic.
-Bonus buy - Instead of paying $8 plus for a small bag of liver treats at Petsmart, I buy 1lb packages of frozen beef liver at either Food Lion or Walmart for $2 and cut into small chunks still frozen. I give these to my lab Winston right out of the freezer!
In short, you can purchase very healthy and delicious food at the lower cost grocery retailers today. Feeding our families is a major expense. By shopping around, you can find a lot of healthy food choices at great prices.