Low Hanging Fruit: First Installment

Welcome to Low Hanging Fruit, our weekly bit of advice for busy (or lazy) people who want to eat better without a big commitment or much effort.  I thought a good place to start would be Whole Foods.  The name alone makes any budget conscious shopper cringe.  My husband calls it “Whole Paycheck”–often inserting an expletive after “whole.”  But you can shop at Whole Foods and not walk out feeling weak and guilty.  You have to steel yourself against temptation before you go in, though.  First, go armed with a list.  Don’t buy anything at Whole Foods you can get somewhere else.  Finally, stay away from most of the store.  Hit up the bulk section, maybe the seafood section and then head straight for the dairy.  When you’ve done this a couple times, you can venture into the aisles and maybe get a can of tuna or a box of crackers–but this is only for veterans of the Whole Foods surgical strike.

These are the ten things I get at Whole Foods every month or so.  Sometimes I get other bulk items, but I can usually find the basics for a better price at Sprouts.

Ten Things I Buy at Whole Foods:

1.  Bulk Quinoa flakes: $8.99/lb

On the rare occasion I eat cereal for breakfast, I like this quinoa version of oatmeal.  It’s higher in protein and lower in carbs.

2.  Bulk Alter Eco rainbow quinoa: $5.99/lb

This is the only certified fair trade quinoa I’ve been able to find.  It’s pretty and delicious.  It comes in bags, but I get the bulk for a dollar less a pound.

3.  Einkorn fusilli: $3.00 a box

This pasta is higher in protein and fiber than most.  It’s made from Einkorn wheat, an ancient grain that has never been genetically modified.  It’s lower in gluten than other pastas if you care about that sort of thing.  See my earlier post.

4.  fish

If you’re lazy, buy fish at WF.  It’s all clearly labeled and you know what you’re getting and how sustainable it is.

5.  Native Forest pineapple chunks:  3.99 a can

Since you can’t get local pineapple in Phoenix, anyway, I sometimes buy a can of Native Forest. Although the verdict is still out on BPA, I figure it’s best to avoid it–especially when buying acidic canned foods like pineapple.

6.  Bionaturae tomato paste: $2.87

It’s organic and it’s in a jar, so no BPA.  It’s the best I’ve ever tasted.  If you ever use canned tomatoes, try Bella Terra San Marzano.  No BPA and, according to Dr. Oz, “when cooked, these tomatoes (San Marzano) release up to 150% of their bioavailable lycopene.”  They may help fight prostate cancer.

7.  Bulk beluga lentils: $2.99/lb

I can’t find them anywhere else and they’re a wonderful change of pace if you eat a lot of lentils.

8.  French green lentils: $2.99/lb


9.  Organic Valley Grassmilk: $5.49 for 1/2 gallon

I have a minor issue with Organic Valley, but it’s still the healthiest, best tasting milk I can find at a grocery store.  I get the whole milk.

10.  Flackers:
These aren’t for everybody.  They’re a mostly flax seed cracker and they contain Bragg’s aminos, which gives them a distinctive flavor.  My kids hate them.  But they have almost no carbs and are great for dipping and snacking.  Indispensable when you’re watching your weight.

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