Yes, I know I am usually eagerly promoting Whole Foods, organics, and local farmers markets. And I am still all for them! I am also all for bargains and getting good quality food at the best prices. Most of the people I meet feel the same. You’ll still find me visiting my local farm for their amazing squash, tomatoes, and corn, but you may also find me in a new place– a giant warehouse loading up my jumbo sized cart with some pretty cool deals in order to save a few bucks.
My memories of warehouse clubs go back to high school when I’d shop with my mom and stepfather to buy items like giant barrels of pretzels, cases of Clearly Canadian, huge cans of salted mixed nuts, and enormous tubs of jelly beans and gumballs. It’s no wonder they have been off my radar for a several years.
…Until a coupon for a free trial membership arrived in my mailbox and I figured I would go see what they have. After all, while I may not be consuming sugar and white flour by the pound anymore, I certainly do eat a lot of veggies. I was not even sure that they would have decent fresh produce, but I became hopeful for the possibility that they might have deals on some of the pricier items I buy frequently like nuts and dates.
Take a look at some of the great fresh foods I found at BJ’s:
That’s a 2-pack of guacamole in the middle. Check out that incredible bag of broccoli florets, ready to eat organic salad mix, just-the-right-size sweet potatoes, organic celery, juicy oranges, strawberries, and pineapple, big meaty mushrooms for grilling, and a 2-pack of cucumbers for refreshing salads. Everything was priced better than at a typical grocery store. For example, the 1 pound container of organic salad mix was a dollar cheaper than what I usually buy it for.
A few other items I found great deals on were a 3lb bag of almonds for $10.99, a 2-pack of Smuckers natural peanut butter (1lb 10 oz each) for $8.99, a 2.5lb bag of pitted dates for $7.49, and a 2lb bag of organic quinoa for $4.99.
This is an amazing price for quinoa ($2.50/lb). Compare that to most quinoa costing at least $4/lb, often much more.
I remember a few years ago when it was less than $2/lb; it has drastically increased in price, probably due to its popularity and growing demand.
I was skeptical about the dates because I have bought similar pitted dates and found them disgusting. However, with medjool dates being $8.99/lb at WFM I was willing to give another type a try. These are a little dryer and almost crunchy compared to the ooey-gooey moist medjools. While they may not be quite as delicious for a straight-up sweet snack, in recipes they work just fine. I’ve used them to make no-bake pie crusts (just equal parts nuts and dates!) as well as my trusty energy balls (again- just nuts and dates… and cocoa powder for chocolate flavor!) I was impressed and for the massive savings I am officially switching.
I’ll still go to Whole Foods for items like raw cacao powder, specialty teas, Kombucha, and Bliss Bars, things like that– but in the past month, to be perfectly honest, we have already noticed a big drop in our food bill.
Whenever people complain about the cost of food I remind them that here in America we are extremely fortunate. We actually spend less on our food than any other country. That’s right. According to statistics, Americans spend approximately 6% of their income on food compared to Kenya who spends about 45% of their income on food. Hmm…. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot more than 6%; that number seems very low. India is at about 35%, Brazil 25%, and France 14%. Read a full article on this topic from Mother Jones. I find this topic fascinating. It puts things in perspective and may make you stop whining about the cost of fresh produce– when at least we are lucky enough to have fresh produce. And now that you know of an even more economical place to buy your produce, I don’t want to hear anybody say they cannot afford it!
Do you ever shop at a wholesale club? Research has shown that when people eat out of large containers they end up eating more. Bigger package= more consumption; this has been demonstrated again and again in studies. So, be selective and cautious about the items you buy in super-sizes. While bigger portions of salad can be a good thing, bigger bowls of potato chips are not.
Shop wisely and healthfully.