I get a lot of questions about my grocery store finds and ways to keep down on costs when doing the Whole 30 so I decided to write up a quick post on a few of my favourite items.
When I did a Whole 30 back in September, the two things that irked me were 1) the amount of prep I had to do and 2) the amount of money I spent on groceries. These are common complaints from lots of people that want to eat healthy, clean, whole foods but simply can’t afford to. Since September, I have made it my mission to find some of the best deals and also source where to find some of these great items. I don’t live in a city with a Whole Foods, Trader Joes or access to Thrive Market so I had to be creative. Back when I lived in Vancouver, I loved wandering around Whole Foods but would only pick up a few specialty items because every time I told Husband that I was going to Whole Foods his immediate response would be ‘Why are you going to pay a WHOLE LOT more’. Now while i’m about to do another Whole 30, I always think of that and laugh.
Disclaimer…I like to be creative in the kitchen and do spend a little extra on some items but these are often items that will boost flavour immensely or that I will get a lot of use out of. I’m not the kind of person that can eat a grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli for 30 days so I make sure I have great spices and ingredients so I can experiment and also make a lot of magic sauces so I can transform simple ingredients in to something EPIC.
Two of my favourite places to shop for food are Walmart Supercentres and Super Store. I recognize people have very strong opinions about these two places and that’s cool (I mean, I have strong opinions about escalators…I get it) but when you are on a budget, have kids and want to hit up one place without making 85 multiple stops along the way, these two places do the trick!
Here are some of my favourite compliant finds from Walmart:
Cholula Hot Sauce: This sauce is well…quite frankly, delicious!! Its a hot sauce that isn’t too hot and not too burn your face off, just a little zip. It’s more of a vinegar based hot sauce and is not too thick. (My 6 year old loves to add it to his tacos). It comes in many varieties: Chipotle, Chilli Lime, Garlic and Regular. *Be sure to check labels of the other flavours (outside of regular) because they often have additives that are non compliant. The flavoured versions are hard to find in Walmart and Superstore but the regular one is always there for the best price. *If you buy this brand of hot sauce at a Latin or Mexican grocery store, you are guaranteed to pay double the price, if not more!
Valentinas: Probably my favourite hot sauce out there. It’s a bit thicker of a sauce so it works perfect as an accompaniment to a potato, chorizo, egg breakfast hash. (I made that a lot for Whole 30 breakfasts with a half avocado…the valentina’s brought it all together). Valentina’s comes in two varieties, regular and extra hot. Again, I can get this for $1.97 at Walmart compared to my mexican grocery store which sells it for $5.99.
Franks Red Hot: Another classic cayenne pepper hot sauce. If you like buffalo flavoured anything…this sauce is your friend. It’s sold pretty much everywhere and often goes on sale. Be ware of other varieties/flavours because they often have sugar and non compliant ingredients in them.
Bone Broth: Since I bought an instant pot, I often make my own bone broth and freeze it so I have it on hand. I legit keep my chicken carcuses in the freezer in a zip loc bag so I can make awesome broth when ever I need to. I recognize that not everyone wants to do this or make it themselves and that’s totally reasonable. If you are trying to cut down on coffee consumption, sipping on bone broth in a travel mug is a great alternative.
If you still want the health benefits from bone broth and all that extra collagen but don’t want to make it yourself… I have good news, I found a compliant version in a tetra pack at Walmart. WOOT WOOT! The brand is called: Imagine
Kind Fruit and Chia Bars: Kay, lets be reasonable, sometimes you don’t have time to prep something, your kid is screaming, you are already running late and you are about to either eat your kids arm or grab a bag of chips and say fugettabowtit Whole 30, you can bite me. Insert Kind Fruit and Chia Bars!! Totally complaint, great snack on the go and a few different flavour options: Apple and Strawberry, Pineapple Kale and Banana, Mango Apple. I hadn’t seen these before and was ordering them online but then low and behold, Walmart to the rescue!! *Sometimes I have found these bars at Winners as well.
Ghee: Again, if you don’t want to make your own clarified butter, take a whirl down the asian food section at Walmart and you can be sure to find a jar of Ghee. Walmart has multiple varieties of it and various sizes. Ghee is awesome to use in cooking or if you miss those frothy, foamy lattes…blend your coffee with Ghee and Voila Latte!! (I know, I know, it sounds weird but trust me, it works)
Produce: Seriously, don’t knock it. I buy a lot of produce at Walmart and have no complaints. They are starting to carry awesome ingredients like: Fresh Curry Leaves, Fresh Turmeric, herbs, japanese egg plant and asian pears…I mean they have really stepped up their game. Also, I got a bag with 5 avocados in it for $1.77. Most grocery stores price a single avocado at $1.50 so I consider this a huge score!
Fizzy Water: Okay, y’all know I love me some hipster water. I’m not a pop drinker at all (other than when i’m hungover…cuz you can’t beat a McDonalds fountain coke) but man I love me some naturally flavoured fizzy water. We can get some flavours of La Croix (pronounced la-croy) here but the USA has way more varieties like: Mango, apricot, coconut, passion fruit, strawberry pineapple and many more. The price that it costs here in Canada is outrageous…like more than perrier and san pellegrino. I have found an aquafina brand that I absolutely love at Walmart and it’s cheap!! They have a few flavours but this is the best in my opinion: Mango Pineapple.
Now…on to Superstore!
Tahini: Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is complaint and great to use in a salad dressing. Superstore has multiple varieties and sizes in the lebanese/middle eastern section of the store. I find it to be very well priced here and often on sale.
Lara Bars: I often make my own because they are so freakin’ easy but sometimes nuts and dates get wicked expensive and SuperStore has them on sale often so its one of those things that you have to weigh out…if it costs you more to make them yourself…don’t!! Now, not all Lara bar flavours are complaint so do your research. I typically stick to the Cashew or Coconut flavour when i’m doing whole 30. You can get a case for about 16 dollars at SuperStore. You can get a case at Costco but it’s a multi pack of Peanut butter and Peanut butter chocolate chip. Both delicious flavours but they are both out if you are doing a whole 30…sorry homies.
Fizzy Water: Presidents Choice has multiple flavours and it’s by far the BEST value you can get for flavoured, no calorie, fizzy water. You can get a case of 12 cans for about $3.99 a case regular price and it often goes on sale for $2.99 a case. La Croix is often $5.99 a case at Co-op and London Drugs…just saying’. The water comes in a variety of flavours: Pomegranate Blueberry, Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon and my personal favourite: Mandarin Orange.
Roasted Seaweed: I love this stuff. It’s crunchy, salty and the perfect savoury quick snack when you are trying to eat clean but craving a bag a chips like nobody’s business! I love the brand Sea Snax and they can often be found in the natural foods section of Superstore. They come in multiple varieties (Onion, Wasabi, Chipotle) but they can be a bit pricey. I often buy the Korean version from T&T (Superstore/loblaws owns T&T an asian Supermarket so they sell their products at SuperStore). This version comes in huge packages or small 3 packs and its super affordable. My little guy also loves them so they are a perfect packable snack for school.
Coconut Aminos: You can go to a natural foods store and find this but I have noticed they are $1-3 dollars more a bottle. I was delighted to find this at SuperStore for $9.99 in the natural food aisle. Now…I know what you are thinking, 10 bones for a soy sauce alternative…have you lost your mind?? Remember my disclaimer at the beginning of the post? Yup, this is one of those items where a little goes a long way and its seriously an essential for Whole 30. I cook a lot of asian inspired dishes and soy sauce is out on the whole 30. The last time I did Whole 30, this bottle lasted me for the entire program so the 10 bucks was worth it. I literally ran out on the last day!
Herbs: I can often find awesome herbs (flavour boosters) at SuperStore. Mint, Cilantro and Dill are almost always there in bunches (opposed to those ridiculously small plastic packages where you get 2 basil leaves that are already wilted before you get home). Depending on the season, I have seen Basil bunches, rosemary and thyme at a really affordable price too.
Next up…Farmer’s Markets
I love going to the Calgary Farmers Markets to pick up some yummy produce and specialty items. There is a little stall called ‘Going Nuts’ and they sell various nuts (sorry many flavoured varieties are out) , seeds (the chilli lime pepitas are delicious), dried fruit and nut/seed butters. I bought a bag of organic unsulfered mangos and some coconut cashew butter as some luxury treats:
I also love buying some great produce at the market, especially for seasonal finds. Brusselsprouts, carrots etc.
One other spot I like to shop for specialty compliant items is an online grocery store called Natura Market. I really like the way they have designed their website and you can pull items up according to Whole 30, Paleo, Gluten Free, Keto etc. They have hard to find items (extra awesome for those people that don’t live in large cities) at a reasonable price and they ship for free if you spend $49. The specialty items I especially love from there are:
Yai’s Thai: Premade asian inspired, totally complaint sauces with real ingredients that you can actually pronounce! If you don’t want to prep stuff yourself, get a few of these sauces.
Vital Proteins: I am a huge fan of collagen peptides. As I age, I have noticed my skin is not as full/plump and is losing its glow. I started taking this stuff a year ago and i’m telling you, it has made a huge difference to my skin, hair, nails and joints. I add a scoop to my morning coffee every day. The other hot tip I have is that, I often buy 2 of these at a time so the shipping is free. If you order direct from Vital Proteins (which I have done), you get charged for the shipping coming from the US. Since i found Natura Market, I order this from them now. They also have the Collagen/ Coconut Creamer on the site which comes in 3 varieties: Gingerbread, Coconut (plain) or Vanilla. Doing dairy free in my coffee is legit hard for me so this stuff does the trick. It is a fairly new product so Natura Market has had a hard time keeping up with stock so when you see it, order it!!
Califia Farms: Better Half coffee creamer in the tetra pack is very hard to find in stores in Calgary. In fact, I can’t find it anywhere. This is a coconut/almond creamer and it’s Carrageenan free.
NutPods: This is the Whole 30 approved creamer that is also next to impossible to find in Canada without ordering it on line. It comes in a few flavours: Plain, Vanilla, Hazelnut and Pumpkin Spice. It’s a small Tetra Pack and only needs to be refrigerated after opening so it’s perfect for ordering on line.
You can order direct from their site at https://naturamarket.ca and also if you invite friends and they spend over a certain amount, you can get a kick back of $10 dollars. woo hoo.
So there you have it, I hope you found this little post useful and it makes your Whole 30 prep a little bit easier. Remember, you got this!!