While I love a good deal, shopping at ALDI is something I’ve resisted for a while. While reducing my weekly grocery bill is definitely tempting, I assumed that to score big savings I’d have to settle for less healthy, lower-quality foods. But, as it turns out, my assumption was completely wrong!
For the past month, I’ve been doing most of my weekly grocery shopping at ALDI. Sure they don’t have everything on my list, but I shop at ALDI first to get as much as I can. The result is that my grocery bill is significantly lower, and I’m bringing home more organic and higher-quality foods!
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So, today I’m sharing 19 of my favorite anti-inflammatory finds at ALDI that I’ve recently discovered.
Fresh Cherries, $1.59
Did you know that cherries have been compared to ibuprofen when it comes to the anti-inflammatory effects they provide to some people? The Arthritis Foundation even suggests eating cherries or drinking cherry juice to possibly reduce joint pain associated with arthritis and gout! Research also suggests the phytochemicals that give cherries their dark red color reduces inflammation markers associated with heart disease and cancer. And since ripe summer cherries can easily cost $3 or more per pound, buying these for just $1.59 per pound at ALDI was an easy decision.
Little Salad Bar Mango Pico de Gallo, $2.39
This chunky salsa looks and tastes like one you might make at home, and the mango in it provides a sweet bite and some health perks. Thanks to antioxidants such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene, research suggests the tropical fruit may reduce inflammatory enzymes associated with digestive issues like colitis and may even play a role in reducing inflammation to improve glucose management in diabetics.
Park Street Deli Sliced Apples and Cheese, $1.25
Coming in at just 90 calories, this snack pack of Granny Smith apple slices and mild cheddar cheese cubes is perfect for a all ages. Eating a snack like this that contains fiber, protein, a little fat, and no added sugars keeps you feeling full longer and may even minimize inflammation. The reason is that the fruit and cheese have minimal impact on glucose levels—especially when compared to snack foods loaded in carbs or added sugars. Research suggests that avoiding foods that cause big spikes in blood sugar is essential for reducing one’s rick of for inflammation-associated conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Specifically Selected Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon, $9.99
Eating salmon is an easy way to reduce inflammation thanks to the omega-3-fats, but buying salmon (or really any fish these days) is tricky. Turns out, looking for labels like “wild” or “farmed” don’t tell you that much about salmon’s quality. In fact, data suggests farmed is just as healthy as wild, so look instead for what country the fish is “a product of” and make sure it’s a country where you would expect for cold-water fish to be harvested. This ALDI option says it was caught in the Pacific Northwest and is a product of Canada. Be careful, though, since others may be labeled as “wild Alaskan” yet a product of Chile.
Simply Nature Milled Flax Seed, $2.29
Don’t love fish? Flax is source of some of the same omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel, and tuna that research suggests are essential for reducing inflammation to can lead to heart disease and dementia. Ground or milled flaxseed may be best when it comes to the body absorbing more of the seed’s fats and compounds, but whole seeds are also beneficial. Toss either form in smoothies or granola, sprinkle on salads, or add to a breading or crunchy topping.
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Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $4.99
Finding a good quality extra-virgin olive oil can get expensive, but this 16.9-oz. Simply Nature bottle I found at ALDI is a steal! Most all olive oils are good for reducing inflammation, but opt for extra-virgin when making a salad dressing or using it over minimal heat. The reason is that extra-virgin goes through little to no refining process, which means more of the antioxidant vitamin E is preserved as well as a compound called oleocanthal which has demonstrated ability to suppress inflammation in the body.
Season’s Choice Frozen Riced Cauliflower, $1.89
Using riced cauliflower in place of rice, pasta, and other grains is an way get in more veggies, but perhaps even more importantly, the veggie swap adds to your intake of cruciferous vegetables. The cruciferous vegetable family also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, greens, and cabbage, and they contain sulfur compounds which pack a powerful punch when it comes to reducing inflammatory markers. Health recommendations advise eating at least five servings of these veggies a week, so I was excited to find ALDI’s option that less than half the price of the riced cauliflower I had previously bought.
Organic Spring Mix, $3.99
Recommendations advise getting in at least six cups of leafy greens a week to reduce one’s risk for inflammatory-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. And, each cup beyond that is thought to decrease our risk even further. This means buying salad greens adds up quickly; it also means that for many, organic ones are out of the question unless they're on sale. So when I ran across this giant container, I did a double-take. And then I did a price-check. Any package of trimmed greens for $3.99 is a good deal, but getting organic ones at this price is a major steal!
Fresh Asparagus, $2.79
Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C and folate, but a serving also contains over half the RDA for vitamin K. Research suggests vitamin K induces an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, particularly when it comes to heart and joint health. The spears of asparagus at ALDI when I went were tall and thin, which only take a minute or two to cook and are much more tender than thick, giant ones. So when I saw that they were about half the cost per pound compared to what I usually pay at my regular grocery store, I couldn’t pass them up.
Simply Nature Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, $3.39
Peanut or almond butter is a staple for snacks and quick meals. Not only does its fat content give you satiety, but it’s a plant-based source of protein which is something everyone—not just vegetarians—need to get in. In fact, one easy way to reduce inflammation is to try swapping animal proteins like chicken or beef for plant-based proteins like nut butters and beans twice a week. ALDI has several peanut and almond butter options but this is the one I chose because of its simple ingredient list: peanuts and sea salt.
Artisan Series Mini Peppers, $2.49
These mild, sweet peppers are perfect to eat alone or to slice in half and fill with hummus. And their bright red, orange, and yellow hues are a sign that they’re packed full of bioactive compounds. This includes antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene, which minimize free radical damage preventing future inflammation. This bag of minis is a great deal, too, considering that a whole red or yellow bell pepper usually costs about the same.
Organic Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce or Marinara, $2.19
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and phytochemicals like lycopene which minimize free radical damage that inflammation can aggravate. This sauce has no added sugars and contains only ingredients that I might actually use if making the sauce at home. The fact that the sauce is organic is an extra perk, since limiting most outside chemicals and compounds in food can help to restore gut health and to tamp inflammation. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t mean making everything from scratch, and I love finding minimally processed items like this to save time.
Northern Catch Chunk Light Tuna in Water, $0.68
Shelf-stable tuna in cans or pouches is a great pantry staple to add protein to a quick meal. Tuna is also a good source of key anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and the antioxidant selenium. However, minimizing contaminants like mercury that you get from fish is just as important to prevent inflammation, so opt for a “light” canned tuna like this one I found at ALDI. Chunk “light” tuna usually comes from small skipjack tuna that contain 60 percent less mercury than canned ones that labeled “white” or from albacore tuna.
Southern Grove 100-Calorie Packs Whole Almonds, $2.99
Their fiber, protein, and fat content is what makes almonds one of the few snacks that easily holds me over until mealtime, so I was delighted to find that their Vitamin E and omega-3 fat content also helps to reduce inflammation. My only problem with nuts is that I usually need help when it comes to watching my portion sizes, so these 100-calorie packs were an automatic purchase (especially since they’re about $1 to 2 less than what I’d been buying). Plus, this package comes with seven individual baggies so you can snack all week long!
Season’s Choice Frozen Strawberry Banana Blend, $6.89
Smoothies are a great way to sneak in a few servings of fruits and vegetables, so frozen berries are a regular purchase for me. I also add banana to my smoothies to thicken it and to add sweetness, since this prevents me from needing to use added sugar. And since U.S. intake of added sugars is considered a top inflamer that leads to chronic diseases, looking for ways to cut back is important. This giant bag combines strawberries and banana slices, which makes it perfect for smoothie-making on busy mornings.
Simply Nature Organic Spices, $2.69
Research suggests that fragrant spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, cumin, and fennel may reduce inflammation in the body, particularly when it comes to easing joint pain or arthritis, and ALDI is the place to stock up spices! While they don’t have a huge selection, I did find about twenty different ones. Each was sold at a flat $2.69 rate, with sizes dependent on the type of spice.
Haas avocados, $0.99
Avocados are a great way to incorporate healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, all of which appear to soothe inflammation in the body, and ALDI is my top choice for avocado purchasing. The reason is that there is always a selection of ripe ones available, as well as few that need another day or two if preferred. Not to mention that the price—less than a dollar per 'cado—is hard to beat!
Organic Baby Spinach and Arugula, $2.69
From a health perspective, getting plenty of vegetables in your diet is one of the most important factors to reduce inflammation. Then, if you’re able, opting for organic produce may help to further keep inflammation at bay by limiting the outside compounds and chemicals that could enter and potentially irritate the body. I shared an organic spring mix earlier, but this organic mix of spinach and arugula is another one of my favorite ALDI items and adds a little variety to those six recommended cups.
Moser Roth Dark 85% Cocoa Chocolate, $1.99
Healthy eating is all about balance and working in a few treats on occasion! When you do indulge, dark chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70 percent or higher is a good choice since it has compounds that may aid in reducing inflammation. I also like this chocolate because it’s pre-portioned into four 150-calorie servings, which makes indulging in moderation easier.
Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, is author to the new cookbook, Meals That Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less. You can follow her on Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd or on carolynwilliamsrd.com.
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