Whole Foods Shopping Guide

In this second installment of the grocery store tours, we”ll visit my other favorite store – Whole Foods Market. With numerous locations around the country, hopefully one should be located pretty close by wherever you live. There are also many similar stores that this guide can apply to like Vitamin Cottage and mom and pop health food stores.

We’ll start with the olives. Lots of delicious choices here, and a healthy source of fat. Try a new variety and expand your horizons.

The prepared foods deli can be great, and a lifesaver. Perfect for occasions when you are pressed for time. The cold case has many good options – meat and vegetables. New dishes appear all of the time, so you won’t get bored. You’ll have to inspect the ingredients of many of the preparations, though. Dairy and/or grains sneak into unlikely places. The good news is that the ingredients are on the back of the label card. The hot plate special is great, also, as is the salad bar and hot wok.

Let’s move on to the supplement section. Lots of quality here, if you are needing something specific. Just be sure you know what you are looking for, and check the labels carefully to make sure you’re getting what you want.

Moving down the aisles, you’ll come to unsweetened applesauce. This can be useful in place of sugar in certain foods. Across the way, there are unsweetened cans of pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes. You can sometimes use these as post workout meals in a pinch, eating it with a bit of leftover lean protein.

The oil selection here is fantastic. Organic olive oil and coconut oil should be your main choices.

In the ethnic food section, there are a few sauces that are usable – just be sure to read the label. Bad ingredients find their way into many of these, but not all of them. Be choosy. Coconut milk is in this section, and you’ll want to get a few cans of it.  If it’s available, go for the Native Forest brand, as the can is BPA free.  And As I mentioned in the Trader Joe’s shopping list, avoid the “lite” versions – they are simply watered down coconut milk.  Seaweed, curry pastes and soups can all be found here.

In the bulk section, you can find raw nuts. I especially like the bulk spices and herbs here. Buy your spices in the small bottles to start, then once they are empty, refill them from the bulk section. That way, you’ll already have a container with a label. Cheaper, and you can reuse the bottle over and over. Don’t miss the almond butter grinder at the back end of the aisle. Mmmm… fresh almond butter.

In the cooler at the back of the store are omega-3, pasture raised eggs. Also, near the chilled pasta section, there is actually something edible! Kelp noodles are a great addition to stir fried meals and salads. Almost no calories, lots of trace minerals, and not a grain to be found! A great choice if you miss pasta.

The meat section is great, and if they don’t have what you want, they will often special order it for you. Usually, grass-fed beef can be found here.

The bacon ends are a great deal if you like to cook your veggies with a bit of bacon for flavor. It’s the exact same product as the regular bacon strips, just not cut as neatly. Perfect for chopping up and cooking with some vegetables. The ends are $2.99/lb (I think), as opposed to $5.99/lb or so for the bacon strips.

Last, but certainly not least, the produce section. Knock yourself out here. Try a new fruit or vegetable. The pre-mixed salad greens are a time saver. There are lots of tasty, sometimes exotic fruits, as well. I personally try to eat seasonally – if the fruit is not in season or has to be transported a long way, I very rarely eat it.

Lastly, I should mention the kombucha. A probiotic, fermented tea drink that is available in numerous flavors.

I hope you will find these shopping guides useful to help know what to look for at the grocery store. Have fun out there hunting and gathering!