The 16 Most Underrated Items at Your Favorite Grocery Chains
Did you know there are secret ways you could be purchasing more nutritious, higher-quality food at your favorite grocery store—and often for a discount? We asked registered dietitians all over the country to share their most-loved purchases.
Target: Archer Farms Simply Trail Mix
This store-brand Simply Trail Mix combines peanuts, raisins, M&Ms, almonds, and dried cherries. “I love this trail mix for snacking post workout or to fight off hunger in between meals,” says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, author of Healthy, Quick & Easy Smoothies. In addition to trail mix, you can find quality nuts in Target’s aisles. “The nut we eat most of is Archer Farms Unsalted Raw Almonds,” says Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN, a private practice dietitian in Boston. “It’s available in an economical and convenient 32-ounce jar. Nuts are packed with heart-healthy fat, as well as important nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium.”
Target: Archer Farms Chicken Tortilla Soup
“The Chicken Tortilla Soup is perfect for a hot meal on the go,” says White. “It comes in a microwaveable, re-sealable container and is filled with flavor. I try to bulk it up by adding extra beans for a protein boost or some more vegetables. I like to wilt in some spinach when it’s hot.” See what other things you should always buy at Target.
Aldi: SimplyNature Peanut Butter Powder
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“This is my go-to market to pick up my favorite kitchen staples at an affordable price,” says Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, a dietitian in San Diego. “The powdered peanut butter is a great option for people looking to add a little more protein and flavor to their smoothies without a lot of fat. Powdered peanut butter is essentially peanut butter with 85 percent of the oil removed.” In addition to smoothies, you can also make vegan chocolate pudding with powdered peanut butter.
Aldi: Happy Farms Preferred Cranberry White Cheddar
“This is one of my favorite products, averaging at $3.29 for the 8-ounce round,” says Stefanie Dove, RDN, a private practice dietitian in Ashburn, Virginia. “I’ve purchased it for as low as $2.79! Not only does it brighten up a charcuterie spread, it is affordable, tastes great, and is a wonderful way to promote increased calcium intake—which is essential for bone health. The unexpected surprise of the added cranberries is a unique way to incorporate this berry that many do not consider outside of the holiday season. Since white cheddar tends to have a stronger flavor than a mild cheddar, you can use a little less, helping to cut down on calories.” Check out more things you should always buy at Aldi.
Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil
“This is one of my favorite ways to work some vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids into my week,” says Jessica Cording, MS, RD, a private practice dietitian in New York City. “My favorite way to enjoy the sardines is in an arugula salad, tossed with balsamic vinegar.” Here are the 19 foods nutritionists always buy at Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s: Trader Giotto’s Balsamic Glaze
“I don’t know about you, but I like to chew my fats,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. “I’d prefer for the fat source on my salad to come from nuts or avocado instead of oil since these fats provide a more impressive mouthfeel and can help you feel more satiated. One tablespoon of the balsamic glaze goes a long way, and it can be decoratively squeezed onto a large salad or drizzled on top of strawberries or melon. Most balsamic glazes expensive, and this one at about $2.99 a bottle is an absolute bargain.”
Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s Falafel Mix
“I love the dry falafel mix!” says Jessica Penner, RD, a nutrition blogger at Smart Nutrition. “It makes two meals’ worth for our family of four. It tastes as though you’ve freshly chopped parsley and garlic, but in reality, you’ve just added water to a mix! Falafels are made from chickpeas, which are high in fiber.”
Costco: Kirkland Creamy Almond Butter
“This is really reasonably priced and contains nothing but almonds,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, a dietitian in New York City. “This Creamy Almond Butter offers healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E. For the almond lovers in your house, stock up on the large container from Costco to save a buck!”
Costco: Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Good Seed
“On my trips to Costco, I always head to the bread aisle for this Organic Good Seed bread,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a dietitian in New York City and a nutrition partner with Dave’s Killer Bread. “I get one of my favorite breads for a better bang for my buck when I pick up two loaves at once! This delicious bread is filled with seeds and offers 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in every slice. Some of my favorite ways to use the bread are for French toast or for making a breakfast egg sandwich.”
Costco: Tropicana Pure Premium 100% Orange Juice
“I always buy a four-pack of this juice at Costco for my family,” says Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, a dietitian in Los Angeles and a nutrition partner with Tropicana. “Since the juice is squeezed from actual oranges, I prefer the taste to other orange juice options—and the price point is less at Costco, compared to other retail chains. From a nutrition standpoint, I like that each 8-ounce serving provides 100 percent of our daily supply of vitamin C and is a good source of folate and potassium.” The OJ also makes a great base for a mimosa! Find out other healthy party foods to buy at Costco.
Walmart: Lantana Hummus
“I like how Walmart has a large selection of Lantana brand hummus, which comes in flavor-packed, unconventional flavors like white bean dip and spicy black bean dip,” says Michelle Dudash, RDN, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families.” The hummus is made with canola oil, olive oil, and lots of beans.” Find out the top-selling Walmart products in every state.
Walmart: Pop & Cook Crushed Garlic Cubes
“These Pop & Cook Crushed Garlic Cubes are a cooking staple in our house,” says Bannan. “With a two-year shelf life, we have ‘fresh’ garlic year round in our freezer. There is no chopping or measuring since each cube is equal to one garlic clove. We add the garlic cubes to just about anything we are cooking—sauces, vegetables, soups, and grain or meat dishes. Garlic is thought to contain potent medicinal properties that support heart, brain, and bone health.”
Safeway: Deli Rotisserie Chicken
“I love picking up a rotisserie chicken from the deli for a quick and healthy meal when I don’t have time to cook or prepare something,” says Brynn McDowell, RD, a private practice dietitian in Livermore, California. “It’s a great source of lean protein, and it makes a great addition to meals. I also like having it on hand in the fridge to toss into salads or to use on sandwiches, in soups, or to throw together a simple chicken salad. As an added bonus, on Fridays many Safeway stores have a special during which rotisserie chicken is only $5, making it really budget friendly.”
Safeway: O Organics Mediterranean Style Quinoa with Brown Rice
“I really like Safeway’s O Organics line, which is a high-quality, nutritious line at a more affordable price,” says Dudash. “I like the frozen, fully cooked quinoa made with simple ingredients. It’s easy to sprinkle over salads, adding fiber and protein.” Add quinoa to a grain bowl or a green salad.
Kroger: Dr. Praeger’s All American Veggie Burgers
“These new veggie burgers are just hitting shelves and are currently only available at Kroger and Whole Foods,” says Rizzo, a nutrition partner with Dr. Praeger’s. “These flavorful, soy-free, gluten-free, plant-based burgers are made with pea protein and boast an impressive 28 grams of protein per patty. Look for them in the frozen aisle to whip up dinner in a snap.”
Kroger: Kroger Black Beans
“I usually get the store brand of canned beans,” says Jessica Gust, MS, RDN, a private practice dietitian in Arroyo Grande, CA. “The store brand is nearly 50 percent cheaper than many of the name brands, and it has an almost identical nutrition profile. Canned beans are one of my pantry staples because they go in a variety of recipes and dishes, from chili and soups to tacos and even desserts. Beans are a great source of plant-based protein, iron, and fiber.” Next, check out the top-ranked grocery stores in America.
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