I actually get excited to go to Aldi; my kids do, too, but for a different reason. I love all the healthy choices at low prices, and my kids love putting a quarter into the grocery cart chain gang, freeing one up to cruise the aisles inside the store.
Once known as the pantry stock-up store, Aldi has evolved over the last decade to offer an ever-growing selection that rivals Whole Foods. From organics and gluten-free items to trendy health foods like chia seeds and cashew milk, Aldi has come a long way. I am a mom and a registered dietitian, and these are just some of the foods you’ll always find in my cart. Prices will vary, but the ones here will give you a good idea of the kind of savings you can expect.
My kids have never been big meat eaters, but they do like Greek yogurt. It’s a good source of calcium and the protein they might be short on since they don’t like meat. Some generic versions are thin and super tangy, but Aldi’s Friendly Farms Greek Yogurt is thick and has rich flavor. You can save 30-70 cents on each small carton compared to name brand versions.
Dried Fruit and Nuts
A mix of raisins and peanuts is one of my favorite snacks to take on the run. The duo includes protein, fiber and healthy fat to keep me feeling full longer. Plus, there’s no risk of harm from shaking, smooshing or otherwise mishandling a bag of raisins and peanuts that ends up at the bottom of my purse. Aldi has an assortment of other dried fruit and nuts, too. Look for unsweetened dried fruit and nuts without a lot of salt.
My favorite thing by far about Aldi is their produce. It’s always high quality and fresh because of fast turnover, and they offer organic fruits and veggies, too. I always reach for stoplight bell peppers (that’s a three-pack of red, yellow and green), mini cukes (so crunchy!), red grapes, sweet potatoes, carrots and avocados. I love the convenience of kale salad blends, but they can be nearly $4.50 per package in most grocery stores. Aldi’s version at my store is just $2.49! Depending on the season, I also grab berries, melons, apples, pears and clementines, which are perfect for snacks and school lunches.
Sure, I can make my own, but time gets short and so usually I don’t. Aldi’s Little Salad Bar Hummus doesn’t include my from-scratch love, but keeping roasted red pepper hummus in the fridge means I’ll eat more veggies all week long and so will my kids. I also like to spread it on veggie sandwiches and pretend I’m having a relaxing lunch out—even though I’m desktop dining (a mom can dream).
Long before Kraft removed artificial colors from its mac and cheese (finally!), Aldi offered its own organic version that was, and still is, a staple in my house. When my kids were young, the food jags—those times they’d only eat one thing—were common. I knew I could include Aldi’s mac and cheese as part of a drama-free meal. I also buy Aldi’s whole wheat pastas and jars of pesto, which are great for easy family dinners.
Chicken sausage is much leaner than pork sausage, and most varieties are fully cooked, which makes meal prep fast and easy. Since they’re so flavorful, I can put a delicious meal together without a lot of fuss or ingredients. Most chicken sausage is pricey, but Aldi’s Never Any! brand costs around $2.99 for four sausages, and it’s free from preservatives.
Whole Wheat Bread
Have you seen the price of bread lately? A single loaf of 100 percent whole grain can set you back $4.00 or more! But Aldi’s L’oven Fresh 100% Whole Wheat Bread runs $1.79 at most stores. Incidentally, they also offer a wide variety of specialty bread such as ciabatta, naan and sourdough; these aren’t whole grain, but they’re great to have stashed in the freezer for a special dinner or unexpected company.
Refrigerated Cheese Tortellini
I’m not going to lie: I love the shelf-stable convenience of Aldi’s dried tortellini, but it cooks up dry and tough. Their refrigerated tortellini, on the other hand, makes an outstanding quick dinner that you can just toss together. I dress it up with sauteed bell peppers, chicken sausage and pesto for a family-favorite dinner that’s packed with veggies and lean protein.
I try to eat whole grains most of the time, but I just don’t like brown rice. Instead of settling for white rice, I substitute quinoa in most meals that call for rice. It’s technically not a grain, but it has a lot of the same great nutrition as whole grains, and most quinoa recipes cook up quickly. The cost deters some people from trying it, but a 16-ounce package at Aldi rings in at around $3.49.
Peanut butter with just a single ingredient is super wholesome, and Aldi has a delicious natural peanut butter at a great price. They also carry natural almond butter, which is in the ballpark of $7.00 for 12 ounces at most grocery stores; it’s $4.99 at my local Aldi. When I’m craving a PB&J with a little class, I spread almond butter and homemade jam on whole wheat bread to get my fix.
Just outside of every Aldi store, signage above the corral of oversize carts explains how a quarter saves a dollar, but this frugal dietitian already knows: Aldi is a no-frills shopping experience with quality foods at prices that can’t be beat.
Looking for more Aldi favorites? Don’t miss these best-priced items.