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Whole Foods Insider's Guide: My $25 Grocery Basket

A little background before you read Part 6 in my Insider’s Series to Shopping at Whole Foods: I started working for Whole Foods Market in 2007. I worked off and on for the company at multiple stores throughout California until last year. I’m sharing all the tips, tricks, and strategies I learned during my time at the grocery store so you can learn to shop and save there, too.

Not long from now, Whole Foods will be opening their new store, 365 by Whole Foods Market. President of the new venture, Jeff Turnas, said on their blog it will not only be a scaled down version of the current Whole Foods model, but they will also emphasize the 365 store brand that so many consumers already know and love.

It is and has been one of my favorite things about Whole Foods for a long time. Not only do I not have to worry about the quality of the products that I am buying, but I also don’t have to worry as much about the cost.

Working on and off for the company over the course of seven years, I definitely cherished the times when I was able to use my team member discount. However, even when I did not have a discount to use, I would find myself still shopping at Whole Foods and filling my basket with 365 brands. Oftentimes, I would only have $25 that week for groceries.

So, I took $25 to Whole Foods and bought only 365 brand items just to show you what you can do. Now, I understand that many people have dietary restrictions that might not be included in this shopping trip, but hopefully, it inspires you a little to see what you can find at your own Whole Foods. If you need it, Whole Foods probably has it.

What's in My Grocery Basket Eggs $2.49 Corn Tortillas $1.39 Monterey Jack Cheese $2.39 Salsa $2.99 Brown Rice $3.99 Mediterranean Blend $2.69 Cauliflower $1.99 Chopped Spinach $2.69 Sparkling Water $1.39 $24.53

Meals I Can Make from This Basket

Breakfast Breakfast is my favorite meal, so it’s important that I have a variety of options. With all meals, I like to mix and match veggies to make things more fun. Sometimes, I will pick certain ones from the bag such as peppers and squash from the Mediterranean Blend for an omelette.

Breakfast options from this basket: Egg and Cheese Omelette Cheese and Veggie Frittata Egg, Cheese, and Salsa Taco Egg and Veggie Omelette Scrambled Eggs with Salsa on Top Brown Rice Topped with Egg

Lunch and Dinner I could easily apply some of the above to this list, but here are some ways that I would use my week’s food selections for lunches and dinners:

Veggie, Cheese, Brown Rice, and Salsa Tacos Veggie, Cheese, Brown Rice, and Salsa Taco Bowl Cheese Quesadilla with Salsa on Top Brown Rice and Veggies Brown Rice, Egg, and Veggies

Beverages I am a huge lover of beverages—coffee, tea, sparkling water, and the list goes on and on. Something that can be a struggle when on a budget is trying to still enjoy some tiny luxuries. So I will treat myself to something like 365’s Italian Sparkling Water because you can’t really beat it for $1.39. It makes whatever meal I am having a little more exciting.

You might have noticed that I originally had another bottle of sparkling water on my receipt that I had to remove. Apparently, the state of Alabama taxes all food, and having just moved from California where there is no tax on food, I was a little surprised. Thus I had to make an adjustment to my shopping trip. If you live in a state where there is no tax on food, you are in luck! You would still have an extra $2.49 that you could spend!

All things considered, this was a successful shopping trip and hopefully inspired you to see what you can find at your local Whole Foods.

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