My Top Healthy and Easy Grocery Shopping Finds for Summer 2018
In the summer, I typically take a break from my mail order food services, like Hello Fresh and Plated, as I begin to focus on eating from my vegetable and herb gardens and utilizing the grill for tasty summer barbecues. Although I still need to grocery shop when I'm using my mail order services, I do not necessarily meal plan, especially for dinner. Now that I'm back doing full time grocery shopping, I am beginning to focus on all meals and as a result, am finding some great and delicious buys!
As you know, I love to cook and put together new recipes, but I'll be honest, there are days when I want to look in the freezer, fridge, or pantry for a super quick meal. I don't necessarily need it to be microwave only, but simple ingredients and minimal clean-up are key, especially during a busy work week. I also like to have a quick snack or great items on hand when I need a quick pick me up or an additional item to put in my lunch bag.
Below you will see my recent favorite grocery store finds! I try to eat healthy, so many of the items below are great for those who try to eat clean. I'll admit though, I'm not perfect with this and don't claim to be! There are items on here that do not meet the criteria for clean eating but go ahead and take a look to see what fits your dietary needs.
As a Cleveland blogger, I generally shop at Giant Eagle, Acme, Heinen's, and Aldi. This post primarily features items from Giant Eagle and Aldi. Although some of these stores are regional, I am hoping that you will also be able to find some of these brands and items in your store if you are not local to the Cleveland area!
SCHWEID & SONS C.A.B. BUTCHER'S BLEND ANGUS BEEF PATTIES
I try to eat healthy, clean, and organic to the best of my ability, but my weaknesses and favorites goods are hamburgers and pizza. I will be honest, I actually do not think either is terrible for you (although I'm sure there are others that will argue with me), but I believe in red meat, iron, and eating what you like. So, in the summer, one of my favorite and easy things to do for dinner is to cook burgers out on the grill. I've tried everything from ground beef burgers to steak burgers, but I generally find myself being drawn to steak burgers or Angus beef burgers. I like a tender, juicy burger and to be able to cook these medium to medium well on the grill rather than well done ground beef patties. When I was browsing for burgers at Giant Eagle one weekend, I came across these burgers. They looked great and of high quality meat. As a plus, they were only $7 for all four patties. I did not think that was a bad price for high quality meat, when ground beef burger patties were at a comparable price.
I was able to easily grill these up, add some cheese, chop up some red onion and pickle, place on a bun, and top with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. They were awesome! I would highly recommend this brand for tasty, high quality burgers!
FROZEN CEDAR PLANKED SALMON
My mom recently told me that she and my dad had purchased some frozen salmon already on cedar planks at Giant Eagle. Upon hearing this, I had to check it out, as salmon is one of my favorite fish to eat. I have never bought it frozen, as I'm always cooking to fresh. Although it is easy to grill a fresh piece of salmon, already purchasing it on the plank automatically gets rid of all the prep work, such as creating the sauce, marinating it, and prepping it on the plank. The brand that I purchased at Giant Eagle was Cedar Bay. I initially tried the Orange and Ginger Planked salmon but also recently bought the Maplewood and Smoked Pepper. The orange and ginger salmon was delicious, and the smoked pepper was definitely smoky. I really liked both of them. My recommendation is to definitely squeeze fresh lemon on both of them to cut any fish taste. I grilled lemon slices on the orange and ginger salmon, which brought out more of the citrus flavor. I definitely wouldn't do this with the smoked pepper, but I did think it needed a squeeze of lemon.
The plus is that you can put the frozen salmon right on the grill rather than having to defrost. One downside for me sometimes in working with frozen meat or seafood is that I often have to dethaw it. Since I rarely meal plan that far in advance, especially on weeknights, I never am able to correctly thaw meats in time for dinner that night. This was a great option.
Because it was frozen, it did require more time on the grill (about 20-25 minutes) to have it reach its internal temperature of 145 degrees. The positive is that because it was on the plank, no flipping was needed--just check on it every now and then. For sides for this easy meal, I microwaved baked sweet potatoes and boiled and sautéed some fresh green beans from the garden for sides when I had the orange and ginger salmon. Easy peasy. For the Smoked Pepper salmon, I did the same thing with my sweet potato but decided to toss some baby arugula with fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh ground Himalayan salt and pepper. This is probably one of my favorite, tastiest, simple sides. Arugula has a pepper taste, and I love it paired with fresh lemon and freshly ground pepper. Delicious. Sweet potatoes are also always one of my favorite side dish options for salmon, but other easy sides to prepare include frozen broccoli or corn in a steamer bag, Knorr rice in a bag, and/or easy prep Quinoa in a bag.
FROZEN HONEY GINGER CHICKEN STIRFRY FROM ALDI
Another quick and easy meal that tastes like home made was this frozen chicken stirfry meal from Aldi. After looking at the packaging, I found that it had no GMOs or MSGs and was low in all the bad stuff, including saturated fat and sodium. Overall, this was a pretty decent food find that was quick.
All you need is a pan and lid, cooking oil, and a stovetop. Follow the directions and in 20 minutes you have a meal! I will admit, I was able to eat the entire package on my own. I did not have any other sides, so it provided a nice size bowl (see above). If you were to make this for two people, I would definitely recommend using two packages OR stopping at your local grocery or sushi bar to pick up a prepared sushi roll. With the sushi, this would seem like a restaurant quality meal! Even with the sushi, I would still probably prepare two bags of Honey Ginger Chicken Stirfry for Terry and me, as I know he would want more. I would package up the leftovers and save for later!
SWEET POTATO CHIPS
When I pack my lunches for work, I always look for some type of crunchy snack food, like potato chips or popcorn. Because I like to eat healthy, I try to stay away from super salty potato chips (although I liked my Ruffles Ridges for potato chip dip). I do not always like the Baked Chips, because they basically taste like cardboard.
Instead, I have been reaching for a healthier option, like Sweet Potato Chips! Now, this may not be the ultimate perfect snack, but I think it is a better option compared to regular potato chips. They are salty, crunchy, yet a little sweet and satisfy your craving for something salty and crunchy!
I have tried a variety of brands, but one of my favorite and more affordable options is the Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips from Aldi. Like many healthier snack options, this is a smaller bag of chips, but it is less than $2 compared to comparable products that range from $3-$4 at larger grocery stores. I have tried many sweet potato chips, and I like these because they are sliced thin, making them crunchy and more like a potato chip. The addition of the sea salt is also great.
FROZEN SALMON POWER BURGERS
Here is another great frozen salmon options. I picked up these frozen salmon burgers from Giant Eagle. I love salmon burgers. I have made my own homemade ones before, but they can be a lot of work. I will pick up some pre-made at the seafood counter, but let's face it, I don't always want to stop at the grocery store after work. These are a great, quick option for a week night meal when you don't know what to make, didn't meal plan, and want something quick and healthy.
I popped these on the grill, put on a bun, and top with my favorite dill sauce (just mix fresh dill and garlic in with either plain greek yogurt or sour cream). Delicious, quick, easy, and healthy.
So I rarely ever make homemade guacamole and really never even think of having it at home! However, when I was recently browsing the aisles at Aldi, I saw this packet of guacamole. I vaguely recall hearing something that the Aldi guacamole was good. I figured, well it's summer, so let's give this a try. I also picked up a $1 bag of their nacho chips and was on my way.
That evening I scooped out some into a bowl and opened the bag of chips. Oh my goodness, this was one of my favorites guacamoles I have had. It was smooth but had chunks of smooth avocado. It was flavorful, and I loved the flavors of onion that I picked up.
I just bought it on Friday, and it was gone by Tuesday. I am definitely picking up more of this in the future. It is just pure deliciousness and one of my favorite summer snacks!
FLAVORED TUNA PACKETS
So lunch tuna packets are really nothing new, but many of you may not know that Tuna companies have started making flavored tuna packets! I have tried both the Bumblebee and StarKist brands, but I have to admit that Starkist is likely my favorite.
I always run out of ideas for lunch, so I like to change it up. I've been adding these packets to my lunch lately. They are healthy, filling, tasty, and also super cheap at about a $1 or less a packet! Sometimes I will add a bit of mayo to make it creamy or eat it with crackers. Often, I will just eat it out of the bag! Another good option for these to put on top of a salad.
I've tried all of the flavors, but the StarKist Ranch and either the StarKist or Bumblebee Lemon and Pepper are my favorites!
So there you have it--my small round-up of favorite food options I have recently discovered the summer for quick, healthy, and tasty dinners, snacks, and lunches.
Let me know your favorite grocery finds on Instagram or in the comments below!