Many of my clients begin the pantry makeover session by saying something like "Just so you know I don't shop at health food stores." Often they choose 1-2 markets to shop in and cannot find the time/ patience/ money to shop in these specialty stores. This article is meant to show you that there are SO many healthy finds at your local supermarket, in this case, I'm conquering our local Shoprite in Brooklyn. Honestly there was a time where I wouldn't step foot into this supermarket because it was bursting with crap and processed junk food. You can imagine my face when I walked in this time around and found TONS of products I'd normally buy at Whole Foods! There was a variety of kid friendly items to make breakfast, lunch and snack time easy!
Here are some of the items I found by category:
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
I’d be amiss to pass over the fruit and vegetable selection. There were organic bagged apples, carrots and greens and a host of organic frozen vegetables under the company’s organic private label, called Wholesome Pantry. (This label debuted in 2016 and seems like is always being expanded upon).
CRACKERS AND TOAST:
1. Late July Organic Classic Rich Crackers: These are my kid's all time favorite crackers and we go through many many boxes. One of their weekly lunches is 2 hardboiled eggs + these crackers + a veggie.
2. Simple Mills Sundried Tomato and Basil Crackers: Wildly addicting, I have to actually portion out the serving in advance or else I'll eat the whole box! I love these as a side with soup.
3. Mary's Gone Crackers Superseed Classic: Shoprite had way more than just this variety but this one is my favorite!
4. Dave's Killer Bread: I love that this bread is organic, has real ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup (which is all too common in sliced bread). Its very hearty and filling.
5. Alvarado St Bakery Sprouted Bread: A delicious sprouted bread option that I always keep in the freezer for easy toasting!
1. Erewon Organic Brown Rice Cereal and Corn Flakes: exact replicas of the Kellogg's version. I love that these are low in sugar. I like using the corn flakes in breading vegetables and proteins for dinners as well.
2. Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spread: Easy sandwiches are sometimes necessary when it comes to kid's breakfasts or lunch boxes. It doesn't get easier than shmearing some sunbutter and jelly on a nice organic whole grain toast!
3. Bakery on Main Instant Oatmeal: While this does contain added sugar, the flavors are very kid friendly. Simply placing the oatmeal in a cup with hot water is all kids need to run on the bus or carpool and eat it on the drive to school.
4. Bob's Red Mill Oatmeal Cups: This saves the step of finding a cup in the morning. Fill the cups with hot water, stir and eat. The classic variety is unsweetened.
1. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips - I don't know anyone that doesn't love these allergy friendly chocolate chips! Plus, they were on sale for 3.29 so it was the perfect time to stock up.
2. Navitas Organic Cacao Nibs: I use these as toppings in yogurt, smoothies, in granola and more! If you love the taste of bitter dark chocolate, these unsweetened morsels are for you.
3. Green and Black's Organic Dark 85% Chocolate Bars: My obsession with these bars are real. Although I have 4-5 different companies of dark chocolate in my freezer at any given time, there is no smoother and more delicious bar.
The pasta aisle is ridiculously difficult to navigate- theres regular ronzoni and barilla, along with brown rice pasta, corn pasta, quinoa pastas, bean and lentil pastas....the list goes on and on! Depending on your family's tastes and health goals, there were a bunch of interesting options:
1. Banza Penne, Rotini, Shells and Spaghetti: I am the only one in my family that eats Banza and that is totally OK by me. When my family is sitting down to a pesto dinner, so am I!
2. Ronzoni 100% Organic Pastas: If you are someone who believes that organic is always better, then at least you can now find organic pasta easily thanks to Ronzoni.
3. Barilla Protein Plus: Again, another option for those kids who will only eat noodles. There's a blend of semolina and legume protein in this pasta and eggs. Note though, that there is only an extra 1-2 grams of protein than your normal pasta.
I know many of you want to start your baby's life off with non- toxic, non- chemicalized products, but the selections and ingredients are often overwhelming! Here are some easy to find, better products that were stocked in Shoprite.
1. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Diapers
2. Happy Little Canper Baby and Flushable Wipes
3. Babyganics Fragrance Free soaps (I spoke to a spokesperson for Babyganics who told me that whenever their wording is in blue, the product is fragrance free- just thought I’d pass that little tip along!)
4. Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula
1. The Chia Co. Chia Seeds: As dumb as this sounds, I love that these seeds are WHITE and doesn't make baked goods look as though they are flecked with ants.
2. San J Organic Tamari and Sauces: GMO soy is something I say no to in my household. That means that I usually make my own teriyakis and Asian inspired sauces, but I like to keep a jar or 2 handy for last minute throw together meals.
3. Organic Asian Fusion Teriyaki and General Tsos: Again, Ideally I love to make everything my own, but for when it simply isn't feasible, I like knowing dinner is a protein, veggie and sauce away!
This is just a sample of the many unexpected grocery finds- there was an Organic dairy case with multiple egg and milk options (I am partial to Vital Farms Pasture Raised eggs, which they don’t have). They also have a small section of dairy substitutes (Ripple Milk Unsweetened is my favorite find in this category).
The main area I found lacking was Shoprite’s lack of non- toxic cleaning options. There was a small ‘natural’ cleaner section mostly containing Method or Mrs. Meyers - neither of which I use at home. Step up the game, Shoprite!
The moral of the story here isn’t that I’ve created an exhaustive list of what to buy at your local grocery store. Instead I’d tell you take some time every now and then to go through the aisles of stores you shop at most often to discover new healthy products that are cropping up each day!
Also, I strongly believe in the power our purchases have on telling grocery stores what we, as consumers want them to stock. I have a Shoprite Loyalty Card which I enter in at the point of sale to show Shoprite that I only buy their healthiest and organic items (except when my husband comes shopping with me and buys ALL the junk...) HAPPY SHOPPING!