Join Me on a Trip Through a Grocery Store to Locate CHEAP Healthy Plant-Based Foods

I grocery shop at a chain Supermarket

(and I love it!)

To be plant-based and eat healthy you don't have to spend a fortune OR shop at chains like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

If there was a grocery store I WISH I had access to it would be Aldi, but I'm perfectly happy with my Ralph's (a Kroger) and Vons (Safeway).

I snapped a few pictures of healthy, low priced items on my last trip to show how affordable it can be to eat well.

Note: I'm in Los Angeles which I think is probably high-middle in terms of food prices nationwide. I know it's not as expensive as, say, Hawaii (I can attest first-hand how expensive island living is) but it's also not as inexpensive as other places I've been or lived.

Point is...

TONS of options -- and bargains! exist at your local supermarket

Big bags of dried beans and rice for less than $2!

AND don’t you LOVE how it looks like the candy aisle?

Marketing finally used for GOOD :)

Cans of tomato paste 10 for $10 (there's also organic available for $0.30 more than the generic)

Tomato sauce for $0.49 and diced tomatoes at 4 for $5.00

BARGAIN TIP: Shop on the "ethnic" aisles as much as possible -- off brand foods are much, much lower.

For example, cinnamon sticks were only $0.69 in the ethnic aisle (but much more on the spice aisle). Same for bay leaves at only $0.59 here.

I've also found off-brand beans, lentils, and rice on the ethnic aisle for less.

My favorite: Frozen veggies 10 for $10! (plus you can mix and match!)

32 oz bags of frozen corn and green beans for $2.59 YES!

A variety of corn tortillas (no oil!) ranging from $1.79-$2.19

AAAND Kroger now sells NUTRITIONAL YEAST.

I literally have no reason to ever shop at the health store now -- my Kroger has everything I need!

And while I prefer to buy my nutritional yeast online from bulkfoods.com (a GREAT no frills but big deals website) for a fraction of the price, I'm glad to know it's available to me at the supermarket when I'm in a bind.

Plus I have to say I've been pretty heart broken by Whole Foods Market. They keep discontinuing all the oil-free brands I went there for...

On the upside, I'm finding more and more oil-free options at my supermarket though -- lots of premade "generic" soups are oil-free, and organic!

Like this one from Safeway--paired with oil-free precooked brown rice:

and these soups I just found at Kroger:

I've also had a lot of luck finding oil-free whole-wheat pita breads and buns, and corn tortillas at Kroger!!! AND the ingredient list is small - ZOOM!

And here are some bomb produce deals. Potatoes should be a dietary staple (I eat one at almost every meal) and you can't beat $1 a pound!

Apples are also inexpensive -- plus whatever is local and in season <3

Corn for $0.79, broccoli for $1.49/lb and carrots for $0.99/lb.

Spaghetti squash for only $0.99/lb!!!!

Bags of pre-chopped kale and greens for $1.99 each!

Tofu (not pictured) was also super cheap at 2 for $3.00 and jalapeños were $0.14! It's not even that cheap at the farmers market!

57 items in my cart for only $105.25!!

I filled my shopping cart with tons (TONS!) of food!

It was way way way way more than I needed for the meal plans (to feed us all week) because I was catering TWO big parties for work. So this is easily 3x my normal purchase.

AND it included some very expensive items, like $4.99 jar of fancy organic artisan salsa (for a gift bag) PLUS a specialty spice I'd normally never buy, but my client was requesting a cake that required anise and it alone was $5.99.

The most expensive item I purchased was my organic heirloom tomatoes at $5.03, but I love them so much I had to splurge!

My bill also included re-buying jumbo oats for $3.49 and a jumbo economy size applesauce for $2.79 because I'd exhausted my pantry stores... plus toilet paper and paper towels --- and I buy the more expensive eco-brand too.

Here's some receipts from meal plan users to show how little they spend too.

Eating well can be deliciously affordable and the supermarket is better for vegans and plant-based folks in a lot of ways because you're not tempted by the over-priced (and unhealthy) vegan junk foods and treats you don't NEED.

I'm a HUGE fan of generic and store-brand and love that Safeway and Kroger have more and more cheap organics (so does Walmart, btw. As of last year, Walmart is now the biggest purveyor of organic foods, and many locations will be almost all organic by the end of 2015).

One last note: I wrote 4 cookbooks without access to stores like WFM and TJ's. With HHC I lived in NYC, but there wasn't a location anywhere near us and it was simply too much trouble, time, and expense to go to one when I had other markets serving my needs a few blocks away. I wrote EHH living on a small island in the Caribbean, HHA in a small ski town in Colorado 3+ hrs from any kind of "city" and HHLL in small cabin tucked away by Lake Tahoe :D

P.S. A new Meal Mentor podcast is up and ready for you!

In this episode Stephanie (my copilot!) shares how she lost over 100lbs and got over a few big plateaus! She also gives practical advice on how to manage when you feel isolated or unsupported, and how having the right mindset makes a huge difference.

Stephanie’s positivity and happiness is radiating -- I promise your cheeks will hurt from smiling after listening to her upbeat, inspirational attitude. Don’t miss this bright hearted podcast!