Editor's Note: We've launched a new series in which dietitian Katie Cavuto will be scouring local grocery stores for their healthiest prepackaged food options. First, she took a trip to Trader Joe's and then Giant Food Stores and ALDI. Today, she shares what landed in her cart at ACME. Don't forget to reference her healthy grocery shopping cheat sheet here.
ACME is truly a local grocer. Did you know that the store began in 1891 as a neighborhood market in South Philadelphia?
While you may consider ACME to be a conventional grocery store, in 2005, they launched their O Organics line in order to continue to meet the diverse needs of their shoppers. With over 300 items available, and 100 new items coming to shelves this year, the O Organics line offers USDA-certified organic foods that are affordable for all. However, I still like to check the ingredient list as an organic label does not always equate to a nourishing product.
Shopping tip: Most of the natural and organic brands are integrated into the conventional aisles of this grocery store but, if you take your time and read the ingredient list, there are a great number of minimally processed foods to be found on ACME's shelves.
When it comes to staples, I found the O Organics line to be a helpful marker as I navigated this store. O Organics brand staples like organic beans, applesauce, maple syrup, eggs, chicken and ground beef were priced similarly to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, while the milk was actually $1 less per half gallon. Not pictured below are a few other natural and organic food finds which include Popcorn and Potato Chips made with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Forager Organic Vegetable Chips, Roasted Chickpeas, a variety of Bob's Red Mill Flours and store-roasted turkey which is a good alternative to lunch meats.
Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Millet: Inexpensive and versatile, Millet is a whole grain that makes for a great pantry staple. Gluten-free and a good source of fiber, protein and other nutrients, this grain is as easy to cook as rice. You can also add extra water for a more polenta-like consistency.
Price: $3.69/28 oz
Ingredients: Whole Grain Hulled Millet
Signature Select Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce: While it would be ideal to make sauce from scratch, I know that is not realistic for many people. Thankfully, there are jarred products like this one that can be both convenient and nourishing. Ditch the additives, preservatives and sugar and choose a sauce that is made with only whole-food ingredients and extra virgin olive oil, of course. Bonus: This store brand sauce is affordable whether it's on sale or not.
Price: 2 for $4 (24oz each)
Ingredients: Tomatoes, Garlic, Canola Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, Salt and Spices
O Organics Frozen Mixed Berries: Frozen produce is a great way to save money and get colorful fruits and veggies all year long. These berries are picked at their nutritional height and quickly frozen to preserve their nutritional value. I love thawing this berry mix and using it to top my oats in the morning.
Ingredients: Organic strawberries, organic blackberries, organic blueberries, organic raspberries
Good Natured Soup Hearty Tomato with Spinach and Roasted Garlic: When you are craving soup in a pinch, packaged varieties can be really convenient but often loaded with chemical. This hearty tomato soup is a great find as it is made from simple, whole food ingredients and packaged in a BPA-free box. It's an excellent packaged soup option to have on hand for the winter.
Ingredients: Water, Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice, Carrot Puree, Tomato Paste, Carrots, Celery, Spinach, Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Cooked Navy Bean Powder.
Campoverde Fruit & Veggie Blender: If you have some extra time to meal prep, you can easily bag and freeze your own blender mix, but if time is of the essence in your household, this frozen bag of fruits and veggies will be your go-to for making a nourishing and satisfying smoothie. Don't let the price scare you; it's a 3 pound bag which will stretch a long way when following the appropriate serving sizes.
Price: $14.99/3lb bag
Ingredients: Spinach, Mangos, Apples, Pineapples
Green Giant Riced Veggies Cauliflower & Broccoli: We can all stand to add more fruits and vegetables in our daily diets, and this is a great way to do that. Try mixing this in with your rice or quinoa for added nutrients and antioxidants or replace the grain all together for a veggie-packed meal!
Price: $3.89/12oz bag
Ingredients: Cauliflower, Broccoli
O Organics Old Fashioned Creamy Organic Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter and Almond Butter are staples in my house. Considering we eat them almost daily, the quality of this product is a priority. This peanut butter is made from just two whole food ingredients and is a great price for the size.
Ingredients: Organic Dry-Roasted Peanuts, Sea Salt.
California Olive Ranch First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Olive Oil is my go-to cooking oil and I use it daily. The thing is, not all olive oils are created equal. If you are looking to reap all of this anti-inflammatory oil's health benefits, opt for the "extra-virgin" and "cold-pressed" versions. And make sure it is stored in a dark bottle, like this one from California Olive Ranch, a trusted brand.
O Organics Quinoa: I often reserve my 'organic dollars' for the items that we consume the most. Similar to peanut butter and olive oil, quinoa makes this list. The O Organics quinoa is priced similarly to Whole Foods 365 brand.
Ingredients: Organic Quinoa
LaCroix Natural Sparkling Water: Let's be honest, drinking tap water all day, every day, can be boring. I like to switch things up with homemade iced teas or sparkling water. LaCroix Sparkling Water is naturally flavored carbonated spring water that is a far cry from many of the other brands on the shelves. For extra flavor add a slice of orange or a splash of 100% fruit juice.
Price: 2 for $9 (12 packs)
Ingredients: Carbonated water, natural flavor
Disclaimer: I worked with ACME to confirm factual price information and general availability of products. However, the products chosen and any opinions here are my own, as I only recommended products I personally purchase.
Katie Cavuto MS, RD, Chef is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian and wellness advocate. Katie is the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers and the Nutrition Advisor for Unite For Her, an organization that supports newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. She appears in regular nutrition and cooking segments on local and national TV. Her writing and recipes have been showcased nationally in Eating Well Magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine, O, the Oprah Magazine, Parents Magazine and more. For more of Katie's recipes and wellness tips visit her blog. Her first book, Whole Cooking and Nutrition is available now!