Now in addition to my local grocery store, I shop at Whole Foods at least once a month to stock up on Hubby's favorite gluten free foods, his gluten free beer, and a $6 wine I have found that I absolutely love! I have also been buying a lot of natural beauty items and soaps, have found a vitamin that I love for myself, and the only probiotic that my kids actually want to take!
While other stores have jumped on the natural product/whole food/gluten free train, I still like shopping at Whole Foods. Even with my local grocery store's Health Market sale, Hubby's four favorite gluten free items are still less expensive at Whole Foods. This might shock the people who call it "Whole Paycheck." But last weekend I got to attend a blogger event at my local Whole Foods, and even I learned quite a few things I didn't know about one of my favorite stores.
WFM is not a regular grocery store. It's an experience. :)
In addition to being able to return things that you didn't like, did you know that sales associates will open something on the floor that you want to try? They will open a box, cut into an exotic fruit, or even open a glass of wine for you! Yep, you can ask for a sample of anything and get it. They may even write "Try Me" on it and let you take it home for free. They realize that some of their items are pricey, and they want you to be happy with it. They will cut specialty pieces of meat for you, give recipe and cooking suggestions, and have handouts available that detail which foods are allergen-free. And for the guys (and YOU, stressed out Mamas), they let you walk around and shop with beverage in hand - even if that beverage is alcohol! You better believe I'm going to take advantage of this!
They care about everyone's health. . .
WFM takes their food seriously. They always put organic produce above non-organic, so the organic does not get contaminated. Likewise, they never cut organic food on the same board as conventional, which is super important to some people. While my local market can't guarantee gluten free food on made on site (no separate kitchen, which is key for allergy free food), they can guarantee the foods made off site are allergy free.
They also started the Whole Kids Foundation which works to put salad bars in schools with the highest need, works to create school gardens, and provides free resources, recipes, and activities for families to learn about healthy eating. If you want to apply for a salad bar in your school, click here to learn more about it.
WFM also operates several global initiatives that help communities, neighborhoods, and the environment by showing communities how to stop the cycle of poverty and live sustainably off the land. I always give the pennies I save by bringing my recyclable bags back to these foundations. Every little bit helps!
. . .and they care about our wallets!
Many people think it is too expensive to eat organic and naturally. Not so, says WFM. They are constantly moving toward value. They sell a range of products, both conventional and organic; and they have their own 365 Everyday Value line. In addition, you can check out The Whole Deal link on their website and find coupons, budget-friendly recipes, meal plans, and money saving tips. Plus, they have an amazing bulk section for those people who do food prep and meal plan. How many times have I bought a whole bag of some exotic flour to make a gluten free recipe and only used a small portion of it? Never again now that I know this secret! Make sure to search your local store's website to find coupons that are unique to your WFM (they do strive to make each store unique).
They want to make shopping convenient for us.
They have all sorts of yummy food stations set up for lunch or dinner (I used to take Knox to lunch at WFM on the regular when he was in preschool. He loved their pizza, and there was always something healthy for me. . . okay, okay, I ate pizza, too.). They have sandwiches and pizza and a salad bar. They have sushi and a deli, AND a coffee bar. If you're hosting a holiday dinner, let WFM do the cooking. You can order delicious healthy meals online. When Joey was sick and people were bringing us family meals, a lot of people went to Whole Foods. They knew of Hubby's allergy, and we were sure we'd get a healthy meal the whole family could enjoy.
They want us to hang out with them.
Here's the part where I talk about the events that my local Omaha WFM has to offer. To find out what's going on at your local Whole Foods, check out this link on their homepage and search for a store near you to access their newsletter.
- Taste What We're All About: This is a rebranding of their sample Saturdays, which happen every Saturday from 12-3. Holy cow, you guys, they had some great samples the day I went! They had stations set up in produce, meat and seafood, grocery, prepared foods, the bakery, and the spirits department. Honestly? This is where I spent most of my time. Can you say, "Mama loves her wine and cheese?"
- Birthday parties: Yup, Whole Foods does birthday parties. With themes like "Build Your Own Pizza," "Spa," and "Gross Out," there's bound to be something for every kid.
- Girls' Night Out: Last month's GNO filled up so fast that you know it had to be a good time.
- Cheese Night: Does this really need an explanation?? But Tuesday, September 16th, it's about grilled cheese. Gourmet grilled cheese and suggested wine pairings? Umm, yes please.
- College Value Tour and Whole Moms Store Tour: Teaching these target groups how to shop the store affordably.
- Beauty DIY classes
- Kids' Club Classes
- And some new events for September, The Whole Kids Foundation Fundraising Carnival. This free, in-store carnival takes place on Saturday, September 6 from 9-11 a.m. It benefits the program I mentioned earlier that helps to bring salad bars and gardens to local schools. Truck Farm Omaha and Omaha Bee Club will be there to teach kids about gardening and pollination. There will be kids' games in the cafe, giveaways, and raffles for awesome kids' prize packages. Donations for the foundation will be accepted.
- Thursday Night Hullabaloo: September 4th, the Kris Lager Band kicks off a new free concert series.
- Happy 9th Birthday, Whole Foods! Head over on Sunday, September 21 from 12-2 for free cake, face painting, and balloon creations by Balloon Brigade.
Watch the WFM Omaha website for an entire list of September activities coming soon. And Be sure to follow Whole Foods Market Omaha on Facebook so you can be in the know about all their great deals and activities.
If you've never been to Whole Foods Market, now's a good time to check it out. If you've been there before, maybe it's time to look at it with new eyes. Armed with all this great information about events and money saving tips, it will be a win for the whole family! I know we'll be there. Hope to see you!
*I was compensated with a WFM gift card for this post (well, and THESE bad boys!),
but all opinions and my continued devotion to Whole Foods are my own.