A Guide to Healthy and Affordable Grocery Shopping in Lincoln Park

Our nutrition challenge is kicking off this Sunday, and in preparation, I thought I’d share with you a run down of how and where I shop for food. For those of you who are new to cooking healthy food for yourself, or even just cooking for yourself, the learning curve can feel steep at first. Hopefully this list will help.

There are 3 things that you’re normally juggling when deciding where to buy your groceries: quality, convenience and affordability.

Quality: Obviously in a perfect world, you would always get the highest quality food. It is the most nutrient dense and usually the most delicious. In a real world, time and money may have the final word.

Convenience: Remember making your own food will almost always be a cheaper and healthier choice than eating out, so if shopping at a more convenient food store will actually mean that you have groceries in your house, do it.

Affordability: Know your budget and make the best choices you can within that budget. Your healthy eating habits need to be sustainable if you want to sustain them.  That said, if you have to prioritize, high quality meat and fats/oils are much more important than high quality produce. 

So, here is a run down of different grocery options and how they measure up in relation to quality, convenience and affordability. (Convenience in this article will be in relation to GICF’s location since I know that all of you are there at least a few times a week.)

Obviously, there are other places to shop. These are the ones I use frequently enough to rate:

Green City Market, Olympic Meats, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Stanley’s

Green City Market

Meet Jeremy: farmer extraordinaire. Seriously, go meet him at Green City Market. He's great.

Meet Jeremy: farmer extraordinaire. Seriously, go meet him at Green City Market. He's great.

Meat and Eggs: Meadow Haven Meats: Meadow Haven, without a doubt, has the most delicious meat that I have ever eaten. The moments when I love food the most are when I am eating anything cooked with their meat. I would happily accept a pork shoulder roast from them as a birthday present. Also, their eggs are phenomenal and are super reasonably priced right now.

Quality: ******  Convenience: ** Affordability:****

Produce: There are several great produce vendors here. Prices are high but the produce is delicious and packed with nutrients. Sometimes, when I can afford to buy my produce here it feels like everything else I’ve been eating has just been an imitation of the real thing.

Quality: ***** Convenience: ** Affordability:***

Olympia Meats

Olympia Meats

Olympia Meats

Meat and Eggs: So this butcher isn't technically in Lincoln Park, but this is the place we go if we’re getting tired of eating the same cuts of meat over and over again. Quality is good and prices are reasonable. (Also a good place to get duck fat)

Quality: **** Conveninece: ** Affordability: ****

Whole foods:

Meat, Eggs, Produce: This place has so much selection and quality and is conveniently close to the gym. Because of price, I don’t shop here a ton unless I need a specific item immediately, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if you can. (Oh, and if I need coconut aminos, this is the place to get them).

Quality:***** Convenicne: **** Affordability: **

Trader Joe’s

Meat and Eggs: Honestly, because of convenience, this is where I get a lot of my meat and eggs these days. It makes for little variety, but a normal week if I were just feeding myself for seven days, I would probably purchase:

2-2.5 lb bags of frozen chicken tenderloins
2lbs frozen grass fed ground beef
1 frozen grass fed steak
2 lbs pork roast
1 packs of sausages

It can get old if I get lazy with cooking. None of them can carry a meal, but they’re great, affordable building blocks.

Quality: *** Convenience: ***** Affordability: *****

Produce: Super convenient (especially with its pre-cut options), but neither cheap nor mind blowing quality. Usually this is where I will turn if I’m in a pinch, but it’s never my go to spot for produce.

Quality: ** Convenience: ***** Affordability: ***

Pantry Items: I usually do all my pantry shopping at Trader Joe’s because of the price and convenience. What do I usually get?

Marinara Sauce, Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chilies, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Vinegars (this one varies, my favorites are balsamic, apple cider and red wine), Coconut Flour, some type of nut, rice, seasonings.

Quality: ***** Convenince: ***** Affordability: *****

Stanley’s

Produce: So so affordable, but quality varies. But really: so cheap. Usually, I can pretty much get whatever I want for my family for at least a week and some out spending $30 or less….unless I buy coffee beans.

Quality: *** Convenience: *** Affordability: ******

Extra Credit:

Our community garden:

Produce :It’s free. It’s fresh. It’s high in nutrients.

The mythical spice house. Home of Orange Pepper...and other seasonings.

The mythical spice house. Home of Orange Pepper...and other seasonings.

Quality: ***** Convenience: ***** Affordability: *****

The Spice House

Pantry items: This little shop in Old Town is an AMAZING place to take your cooking game up a level. Go and explore here, and it will make your life better.

Quality: ***** Convenience: *** Price: ****

 

Hopefully, this list will be a good starting place for you. Stay tuned for more practical tips as we go through this nutrition challenge together. 

If you are not yet a part of the gym and want to be a part of our upcoming nutrition challenge, make sure you get signed up for a free intro class ASAP!  You'll get half an hour to talk one on one with a coach followed by an hour of personalized coaching in addition to the coaching of the group class.
Our Nutrition Challenge Seminar is THIS SUNDAY afternoon, so sign up now to lock down a spot in an intro class if you are interested in getting started with this challenge.
To learn more about our FREE intro class, click the button belownd shopping