Grocery Low Down

A few weeks ago some of you Vista readers had a chance to follow along with a recent obstacle that was throw my way as a result of a skiing accident, but even if you missed out, I’ll tell you again. I tore my meniscus, forcing me to have surgery, but I promise this column won’t be about that.

On Friday I had my post-operation check-up with the doc and he cleared me from all use of crutches. Although I am still unable to take long walks on the beach – ha – I have the use of my hands back. Long story short, I went a bit crazy at the grocery store after my appointment.

Since I was already in La Jolla, I chose to grocery shop at Whole Foods, better known as Whole Bucks. It was not all that shocking, yet still gave me a slight heart palpitation, when I blew $80. This didn’t even include alcohol and other goodies that I usually buy when shopping.

Whole Foods is overrated, over-priced, and overwhelming. The store is massive, with more variety than any high-end grocery store, I would argue. I think my eyes wandered over more than 50 different kinds of almond butter until I finally gave up. In addition, six pieces of sesame tofu set me back $12 and a miniature pre-made salad burned an $8 hole straight through my tote.

Although I do love looking at all the options Whole Foods has to offer, I think it is silly to spend a large sum of my two-week paycheck only to leave with a small basket full of food.

I am an advocate for Sprouts and Trader Joe’s because they are both relatively small, maintain the perfect amount of options, and are actually very well priced for the quality of the food they sell.

Trader Joe’s is my go-to because I know exactly what I want and will consume before I enter through their automatic doors. Also, they have so many good items that often go unnoticed, such as their sesame seed crackers, and unsalted, mini portion sized almond packets; and you can’t forget their cheap, yet delicious international wine selection.

Sprouts is very similar to Trader Joe’s in terms of excellent customer service, great location, and tons of good snacks. However, Sprouts stands out because they have the best produce, hands down. Whenever I am in the store, I always see the employees cleaning and restocking new fruits and veggies, and picking out spoiled or expired items. Also, they have a sandwich counter that never lets me down.

Based on experience and first hand knowledge, I’ve come to the conclusion that the hype on Whole Foods is ridiculous. Personally, I think students would have an easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful time shopping at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts.