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Food shopping is way cheaper than a doctor.

ON THIS PAGE: 

Chain Supermarkets / International-Ethnic Stores / Local Grocery Shops / Farmer's Markets

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Chain Supermarkets

(try to by-pass "danger zones")

Chains are where most people tend to shop if they have access to these mega-stores. Some are focused on value, others on quality, and a few try to do both. Alternatives are Trader Joe's, which has medium to low prices, and Whole Foods Market, which has a relatively high price mark-up. Most chains now have an organic section which is usually more costly, but organic soy products, corn, lentils, apples, melons, peas, strawberries, and wheat products are highly recommended if your budget allows. 

 

Also, supermarket chains are masters at sales. They've arranged aisles to force customers through less desirable areas in order to get to the back of the store, where the most popular items are. Focus your time among produce!

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International Stores

(have fun with variety)

Also known as ethnic food stores, international markets tend to have medium to low pricing. The most common are Asian (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian) and Hispanic (Mexican). Another popular market is Aldi, with European and German products which tend to have less GMOs and petrochemicals; their paper and cleaning products are cheaper, too. My local Hispanic-owned market has a massive produce section, inexpensive beans and intact whole grains, and a variety of global foods. 

 

I also frequent a small Asian-Thai market for soba noodles, tofu, edamame, and miso. Smaller stores are usually independently owned, too. Focus on produce, have fun with variety, and experiment with new foods!

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Local Grocery Shops

(support local + small vendors)

In urban, suburban, and rural areas, there are many smaller, independently-owned shops! They vary from feeling like a mini-supermarket to being a small grab-and-go type of store. Rural shops might have more local vendors selling honey, produce, and baked goods from a friend down the road. Urban shops might be perched at a corner near a transportation line with higher prices and less selection, while offering quick convenience. 

 

Suburban shops tend to be tucked away in strip malls, and can range from small shops selling Indian goods to large markets selling mostly produce. These shops can be gems and tend to be either for convenience and selling local, or they're a source for specific types of food. 

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Farmer's Markets

(get deals at closing time)

In the past decade, farmer's markets have exploded, which is why some are now failing as the market has become flooded. Certified organic vendors are growing as more people ask for chemical-free products. These locally-sourced markets tend to be in urban and suburban areas, and sell everything from flowers and cucumbers to fresh sage and sauerkraut. Pricing tends to be a bit on the higher side since their quality is better. 

 

I shop at farmer's markets as much as my budget allows. I go early when vendors have time to talk about where their products come from or how they're made. Also, going just before closing time and being a regular can offer a chance at getting lower prices and freebies!

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