Okay, you may need to repeat this mantra several times before it sinks in: Trader Joe’s is NOT the only option when it comes to healthy, affordable grocery stores.
We know, there’s something about TJ’s that’s just so dreamy. You also can’t click open a newsletter these days without stumbling on a list of amazing foods you can get there.
But not everyone has access to the popular grocery spot (gasp!). The good news: Other less trendy retailers also sell a great selection of healthy, organic foods for less loot than you’ll spend at Whole Foods. You just have to know where to look.
Check out our list, below, of five underrated grocery spots for shopping healthy. There may be one near you, and some are even virtual, so you can access them from wherever you are.
5 Healthy Affordable Grocery Stores
If you’ve never been in an Aldi, that will probably change soon. The German grocery chain has 1600 stores in the U.S. and just announced it’s spending $3.4 billion to expand to 2,500 by 2022. Its prices are low enough that Walmart is seen as a competitor. It doesn’t totally measure up to Trader Joe’s when it comes to healthy options, but its selection is strong and will only improve. In fact, it also recently announced stores would expand selection of organic packaged foods, the natural and gluten-free lines, and organic meats and produce.
Funny fact about the retailer known for selling the largest bundles of paper towels you can find: the chain has been prioritizing organic foods for a while. It actually sells more certified organic food than Whole Foods, and at much lower prices. Downside: if you live in a city like New York (where any cabinet space is a major luxury), and/or it’s just you (or you plus a significant other), the bulk sizes may not work.
If you live in New York City, Westchester, New Jersey, or Connecticut, FreshDirect is an amazing resource. Prices are a little bit higher than Trader Joe’s but about the same as a typical grocery store. They sell tons of great organic brands, and they’re even better at stocking fresh foods from local farmers and purveyors. You also don’t have to go anywhere; they bring it to you. Pro tip: If you stock your cupboards once every few weeks with non-perishables and then wait, they tend to send free delivery coupons to lure you back.
Target started selling food (in addition to, well, everything else) a while back. Its Simply Balanced line of packaged foods is made without artificial ingredients or additives and also includes lots of certified organic options. Prices are low, and you can shop online for many of the items. Target has also been leading the charge in stocking healthier beauty products, so you can grab a non-toxic face wash and moisturizer while you’re there, too.
Launched a few years ago to make healthy pantry items more accessible, Thrive stocks a curated selection of natural and organic packaged foods like snacks, nut butters, and protein bars. It also sells bath and body products, cleaning supplies, supplements, and pet food. Prices are lower than at conventional grocery stores but you have to buy a membership to shop. It’s like an almost-all-organic, online version of Costco.