If you think that switching to wheat or white sugar free foods means that your stuck shopping at expensive chains like Whole Foods, think again. I’m discovering the wide variety of products available at large, inexpensive chains, like WinCo.
Now before you get up in arms about WinCo being a large grocery chain, or about how unattractive their store is (which I totally agree – no $$ put into decorating, that is for sure!), let’s consider a few things:
- Not everybody has the $$ to shop at places like Whole Foods or Wild Oats or local health food stores
- It is more realistic to find the healthy gems of a big chain store and point them out, than to live idealistically and expect everybody to shop farmers markets. That is just reality.
- Not every town is equipped with a local health food store.
So, here are just a few of my favorite gems, all coming from WinCo, all at good prices:
- Bob’s Redmill gluten-free baking mixes: Cornbread, brownies, bread, etc
- The Craving’s place gluten-free brownies
- Wheat free bread from local bakers (randomly found in the deli section???)
- Madhava agave nectar: go for the lighter version, it is more “pure”
- Anney’s Organic Dressings
- Quinoa – check the bulk section. Better yet, its in the pour out type of bin, versus the kind that you dip your hands in to scoop stuff out…..
- Spelt flour – bulk section. Sometimes in the pour out section
- ready-cut collard and mustard greens – near the pre-bagged salads
- Bulk almond butter: so much cheaper than the jar, and you can buy just what you want. This is especially nice if you are just trying almond butter for the first time and don’t want to invest $7 for a jar.
I am not a big fan of WinCo produce because it looks a little picked over and old, and the organic options for produce are pretty slim. However, I can save so much money on the dry goods and bulk foods, that it is worth a trip, about 1x/month.
My husband and I also go to Winco to buy snacks for mountaineering/snowshoeing or travel because they have some unique options, and we can get everything we need.
In a typical pre-travel grocery trip, we get the following:
- Flax chips (bulk)
- raw almonds (bulk)
- some trail mix w/less thant 10g of sugar (bulk)
- rice cakes (WAY cheaper than any other store, except Trader Joes)
- Think Thin bars and/or Luna bars for climbing/mountaineering/snowshoeing
- Peanut butter (Smart balance) or sometimes Almond butter in bulk! WAAAYYYY cheaper than buying it in a jar
I love the short shopping list you provided. An incentive to look for your suggestive items next time we go to Winco. Yes, we fans of Winco. You really can’t beat the prices. We shop at New Season for our produce and meats; always great selections.
Looking forward to your vacation foodie pictures.
hey rebecca, I grew up here in Oregon and Winco used to be Cub Foods. I still call it that sometimes and people look at me funny! Actually we have “Waremart” here in Independence Monmouth area..it’s still WinCo. Smaller version but very same. No fresh meat or seafood counter though. But they do carry sprouted grain breads now! Yeah! I love the squirrely stuff. And agave nectar is cheaper. Their bulk section is so small though..no quinoa..and sadly they don’t have much local produce like Roth’s has but then I hate paying 3x as much for groceries at Roths..can’t wait for spring summer and for the farmers’ markets to return!!!!!!
I couldn’t agree more with the endorsement above. Having been a dietician for group homes for adults with mental and physical challenges, Winco (formally Cub and Waremart) has proven over and over again to be a reliable source in being able to feed MANY people healthy meals on less $/day. The bulk food section does make available healthy choices that I cannot always find at National Chain supermarkets like Safeway and Albertsons but allow me to make choices for those “granola” options that I would find at Wild Oats. Also, though not a union shop, they ARE employee owned and offer profit sharing which helps appease my liberal conscience. I too, heart Winco.
Yay for WinCo! thanks for sharing your support. I enjoy hearing about how others try and stretch their dollar to make good choices. Its unrealistic to think we all have major $$ to spend on food, and its usually those w/limited budgets who need the most nutritional support. Good for you for being a healthy crusader,