Can You Shop for the Perfect Health Diet at Aldi? {Menu Plan Monday}

I mentioned a few weeks ago that our grocery spending has been wickety wack lately.  As in, averaging $1,119.50 per month for two adults and two small children.  (The amount includes diapers, paper products, household cleaning supplies and the like.)

So, for the month of August I’ve resolved to do our weekly grocery trip at Aldi, instead of the local grocery store, to see if it makes a difference.

I’ve done a price comparison chart you can see here if you’re interested.*  Aldi wins on paper, but we’ll see how it shakes out in real life.

Aldi and I have an uneasy relationship:

  • It’s about 25 minutes away, and I have to subtract about $7/trip from any cost savings.
  • Also, you have to bag your own groceries. . . . There was that time I bagged in a hurry because Girl 1 was pitching a fit.  I got home and dropped an over-stuffed bag of pasta sauce in the carport, sending tomato sauce and tiny shards of glass everywhere.
  • Then there was the time sensorily-sensitive Girl 1 held her hands over her ears for the first 15 minutes or so, sobbing pitifully that her arms hurt and she was scared, because of the buzzer that occasionally goes off near the dairy section.
  • Another time I was so exhausted after a trip that I gave Girl 1 a whole bag of dried apricots to eat on the way home.  And she did . . . too many of them . . . and had an unfortunate accident later on . . . at the library . . . in the middle of the kids section . . . in full view of several other families.  Fortunately, she’s still a bit young to get embarrassed easily.  I sent flowers to the poor librarian who had to clean up.
  • And just last week I got cocky and, despite prior mishaps, took both girls with me again.  Only about 10 minutes into the trip, Girl 2  tired of reaching behind her into the cart and throwing groceries onto the floor, stood up in the front set of the cart despite the buckle, and threatened a terrible tantrum.  I let her and Girl 1 run loose and throw grapefruit at each other while I aborted the mission, checked out with only half my list completed, and got the h*ll out of there.

Already I’m talking myself into grocery shopping at Walmart instead.  But I get so sick of Walmart.  And even though their prices are low, they sell, you know, everything, and I can’t seem to leave there without spending $230.

So I’m determined to give Aldi a fighting chance.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

* Not all the items on the chart are PHD compliant.  We still feed the girls sandwiches on regular bread.  And we can’t quite give up peanut butter.


I’m linking up with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  I’m trying out a couple new recipes this week from Paleo on a Budget.  At least I’m planning to if I can get back to Aldi without both kids.

Breakfasts:  Scrambled eggs with avocado OR two-ingredient grain-free “pancakes,” OR  oatmeal (not completely Perfect Health Diet compliant)

Lunches: Our main meal (see below)

Dinners: Leftovers, some variation of a big-ass salad, a smoothie, or a baked sweet potato

Monday: Bare minimum mode chicken and potatoes (probably my favorite recipe ever)

Yummy baked thingy from Paleo on a Budget

Tuesday: Yummy baked thingy

Wednesday: Steak with mushrooms and onions, potatoes or rice, and a veggie

Thursday: Salmon some way or another

Friday: Cheese pizza using Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix

Saturday: Easy paleo chicken and spinach



14 thoughts on “Can You Shop for the Perfect Health Diet at Aldi? {Menu Plan Monday}

  1. Hmmm, Interesting! I might have to send this spreadsheet to Steve as he just nerds out over price comparisons! 🙂 He would love this. Your grocery list looks pretty similar to ours, subbing out a few of the bread/rice cake items and subbing in more meat…somehow we go through like TONS of meat. Have you tried Costco? We do 95% of our shopping there and we think it definitely saves us money. Plus, there are big carts and free samples for little girls! If you ever want to give it a try without totally committing, your SIL would totally lend you her card (Costco doesn’t read your blog, right? Just kidding, Costco, I would totally never do that! [I totally WOULD do that, call me Laura!])
    Poor Girl 1! I feel so bad for her getting all scared by the buzzer in the bakery. I have special sympathy for those who are scared of weird things, for obvious reasons. Life is scary and hard! 😦
    Oh and I have really enjoyed some of the recipes from Paleo on a Budget–it’s been a great resource and I’ve been able to even modify some of the recipes myself. Our favorite is the Comfort Meal–I make that often!

    • Ha ha, thanks Shar. Glad you like the spreadsheet. I’ve toyed with the idea of going to Costco. I might give it a shot after the Aldi experiment. I can probably use your mom’s card. The thing is, I am so susceptible to impulse purchasing. At Aldi, it might set me back $5 or so. At Costco, everything’s $20!

  2. I am just now coming back around to shopping at Aldi once in a while. Since I can’t find everything I need in Aldi, I find it easier to just go to one main store. I have trouble with the whole sacking my own groceries thing as well…there is definitely skill involved in that!

  3. Don’t forget your quarter for the cart! (Do they all Aldis have that?)
    I haven’t shopped at Aldi in a while since we don’t have one especially close. For me it was a little hit or miss with specific ingredients, but definitely great prices! And Walmart- something about it sucks my soul out a little bit each time. But I schlep back b/c of the prices.

    • “something about it sucks my soul out a little bit each time” yes, exactly. But unlike Aldi, it usually has everything I need. *Sigh* and yes, I think all Aldis have the cart quarter thing.

  4. We don’t have an Aldi’s near here, but when I’m together enough (which is rare) I bring those reusable grocery bags. They really do make bagging your own groceries (which I sometimes do at the grocery store if they don’t have a bagger there) much easier because they hold A TON and you don’t have to worry about the bags breaking. I’ve had a few broken tomato sauce or olive oil jars so I feel your pain on that..but the cloth bags do make it easier.

    • I bring my canvas bags to Aldi now but never think of it at other stores. The spaghetti sauce jar incident happened when I was reusing a regular plastic grocery store bag. It probably wouldn’t have been as bad if I had used cloth!

  5. ALDI is a culture and you have to get used to it. I love it, but mine is just around the corner from my home. My boys, including the Autistic 6 year old, are getting used to the buzzer. We come with bags in tow, and quarter, and we go so often that it is easy for me to get what we need and get in line to check out. It beats Walmart in that it is not nearly as huge so there is a lot LOT less in between to get to what you need. Good luck!

  6. I LOVE your spreadsheet price comparison! I am totally a spreadsheet girl too but haven’t done it for specific grocery items yet (just our monthly budget). We buy a lot of the same stuff (I focus on meat, fruits, veges because I am gluten free) but I probably buy a few more snack foods for the family (oreos, pretzels, icecream, etc.; and gluten free bread, waffles, cookie mixes etc.). I spend $400-$600 on groceries, $70 on diapers/formula, and $200 on household/misc (target runs … should be cleaning products, but also impulse buys)… so not too far off from you. My household $ is out of control, but I work pretty hard to shop sales and keep groceries cheap-ish (given how good we eat). I don’t have an Aldi’s near me, but like Costless/Winco (discount grocery stores), Savemart (higher priced but great weekly ad items), and Costco (berries, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese). Also, does your husband come home for lunch every day? Is that why that is your big meal vs. dinner? Just curious. And good luck with your meals & groceries moving forward!

  7. I’m a huge Aldi fan. For the last 7 years I’d say I’ve done about 80% of our shopping there. (I rarely get meat from there and rely on the regular store’s “butcher’s specials”, etc. I also tend to play the coupon game at the drug stores every few months for shampoo, soap, etc. Oh, and I have to get my beloved Dr. Pepper whenever it’s on sale.) However, IMHO produce (while cheap) goes bad much faster than “regular” stores, so make sure to eat it quickly. Milk, cheese, butter, baking goods, rice, beans, (more cheese), and yes, junk food, always make it into my cart.

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