Whole Foods Insider’s Guide: My $25 Grocery Basket

July 28, 2015 | By | Comments (10)

A little background before you read Part 6 in my Insider’s Series to Shopping at Whole Foods: I started working for Whole Foods Market in 2007. I worked off and on for the company at multiple stores throughout California until last year. I’m sharing all the tips, tricks, and strategies I learned during my time at the grocery store so you can learn to shop and save there, too.

Not long from now, Whole Foods will be opening their new store, 365 by Whole Foods Market. President of the new venture, Jeff Turnas, said on their blog it will not only be a scaled down version of the current Whole Foods model, but they will also emphasize the 365 store brand that so many consumers already know and love.

It is and has been one of my favorite things about Whole Foods for a long time. Not only do I not have to worry about the quality of the products that I am buying, but I also don’t have to worry as much about the cost.

Working on and off for the company over the course of seven years, I definitely cherished the times when I was able to use my team member discount. However, even when I did not have a discount to use, I would find myself still shopping at Whole Foods and filling my basket with 365 brands. Oftentimes, I would only have $25 that week for groceries.

So, I took $25 to Whole Foods and bought only 365 brand items just to show you what you can do. Now, I understand that many people have dietary restrictions that might not be included in this shopping trip, but hopefully, it inspires you a little to see what you can find at your own Whole Foods. If you need it, Whole Foods probably has it.


What’s in My Grocery Basket
Eggs $2.49
Corn Tortillas $1.39
Monterey Jack Cheese $2.39
Salsa $2.99
Brown Rice $3.99
Mediterranean Blend $2.69
Cauliflower $1.99
Chopped Spinach $2.69
Sparkling Water $1.39


Meals I Can Make from This Basket

Breakfast is my favorite meal, so it’s important that I have a variety of options. With all meals, I like to mix and match veggies to make things more fun. Sometimes, I will pick certain ones from the bag such as peppers and squash from the Mediterranean Blend for an omelette.

Breakfast options from this basket:
Egg and Cheese Omelette
Cheese and Veggie Frittata
Egg, Cheese, and Salsa Taco
Egg and Veggie Omelette
Scrambled Eggs with Salsa on Top
Brown Rice Topped with Egg

Lunch and Dinner
I could easily apply some of the above to this list, but here are some ways that I would use my week’s food selections for lunches and dinners:

Veggie, Cheese, Brown Rice, and Salsa Tacos
Veggie, Cheese, Brown Rice, and Salsa Taco Bowl
Cheese Quesadilla with Salsa on Top
Brown Rice and Veggies
Brown Rice, Egg, and Veggies

I am a huge lover of beverages—coffee, tea, sparkling water, and the list goes on and on. Something that can be a struggle when on a budget is trying to still enjoy some tiny luxuries. So I will treat myself to something like 365’s Italian Sparkling Water because you can’t really beat it for $1.39. It makes whatever meal I am having a little more exciting.

You might have noticed that I originally had another bottle of sparkling water on my receipt that I had to remove. Apparently, the state of Alabama taxes all food, and having just moved from California where there is no tax on food, I was a little surprised. Thus I had to make an adjustment to my shopping trip. If you live in a state where there is no tax on food, you are in luck! You would still have an extra $2.49 that you could spend!

All things considered, this was a successful shopping trip and hopefully inspired you to see what you can find at your local Whole Foods.

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  1. Caroline A

    Life and people are interesting … we literally spend thousands of dollars a year on items that are not necessary to life, but when it comes to organic food, many feel it is just too expensive and won’t buy it! The food is a lot less expensive than the medical bills, the prescriptions and the long term ailments from eating foods that are ingested with chemicals. As I said, people and life are interesting …. Yes, Whole Foods is expensive for some things. Just don’t buy them or go there then. It is a store I do love to shop in when I get the chance .. which is not often.

    August 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm
  2. Whole Foods Insider’s Guide: Punch Cards | Cooking Light

    […] Part 6: My $25 Grocery Basket […]

    August 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm
  3. Theophanu

    Four dollars for brown rice? Are you out of your mind? You can get that same thing for two dollars at my local Safeway. It’s not organic, but organic isn’t worth double the price on a pantry staple.

    August 23, 2015 at 6:53 am
  4. Kristiin

    While I appreciate the gesture of eating healthy on the cheap, I am doubtful that this would be a successful shopping trip for me, especially with no meat. This would cost me $32.94 Canadian, plus GST on certain items. Do you consider this a fulfilling and realistic amount of food for you? What is a week to you–5 or seven days?).

    August 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm
  5. scfaler

    Do all your shopping? For a family of 5? With diet restrictions? At Whole Foods? You are out of your mind! For some specialty items, I’ll take the 45 mins to an hour to FIND a Whole Foods (basically all of these kind of markets involve at least a half hour drive for me). Thing is, my local megamart has a really excellent organic, vegan and natural foods section and even then, it’s just TOO MUCH!!! I do a combo of local produce (from a reputable stand), meats from a family owned market (much higher quality, but better priced) and items from the grocer’s when it’s the cheapest alternative. Single people or maybe dual income couples can swing a hipster cart like that, but in the real world? Nope.

    August 3, 2015 at 5:59 am
  6. Jessica

    For all organic items, that’s very reasonable. If I wanted to make concessions on what I am putting in mine my family’s bodies, I’m sure I could squeeze extra stuff out of $25, but it’s not worth it in the long run!

    July 31, 2015 at 10:01 am
  7. Melissa

    You probably could have saved even more by buying rice from the bulk section.

    July 30, 2015 at 3:38 pm
  8. Lala

    I love whole foods because it is way cheaper than my local grocery store. Otherwise I shop at the local farmers market.

    July 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
  9. Garret J

    Good article, looks like you have breakfast, lunch and dinner covered for 5 days at almost .64 per meal and it’s mostly all organic. Critics just aren’t creative enough. Splurge on a few spices and sauces a few times a year and you’ve got some tasty meals.

    July 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm
  10. Heather B

    You spent way to much money on that little bit of food! Not everyone can afford to shop at wholefoods. You need to be a little more realistic in this type of economy!

    July 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

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