* I am a compensated member of the Walmart Fresh Crew. All opinions are my own.*
Prior to joining the Walmart Fresh Crew, I had been struggling to balance my busy schedule: work, home, and my health. I had already lost about seven of the twelve pounds that I had wanted to lose, but realized that I could benefit from more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Instead of just reducing the amount of red meat and carbs that I ate, I knew that to be healthy, I needed to simultaneously increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables I was eating.
I also wanted to create a system and structure for buying produce that made sense to me and my needs. Because honestly speaking, I get very overwhelmed when there is too much conflicting and LOUD information coming at me about what to eat and how much to eat. So, when this opportunity came– to be a member of Fresh Crew and to educate myself about eating healthily on a budget, I was super stoked.
Earlier this week, I had a tour of Walmart’s HUGE produce section, with Joe, the general manager, Gena, the newly appointed assistant manager (Congrats Gena!!!), and Chandy, a department supervisor; I was really interested in hearing their thoughts about what Walmart had to offer for consumers like me, young professionals on-the-go and concerned about their financial bottom lines and their waistlines.
They spoke about a “culling”process throughout the day. By “culling”, I mean, the process by which they identify pick the best fruits and vegetables for their customers. They have particular internal standards that they use to select the produce that will stay in the store. Any produce that does not meet their standards is donated to a nearby food bank in the community. In addition, I learned that they are able to keep costs competitive because they work directly with local farmers and because they select produce that is in season. Finally, Walmart receives 2 or 3 shipments a day of produce, making their commitment to “fresh daily” an act, not just talk.
My Produce Aha Moment
Over the last couple of months, I realized that I spent a lot of time and a lot of money throwing out produce that spoiled. Has that happened to you? You want to do too much too fast, so instead of being thoughtful and deliberate about your choices and your selections, you throw EVERY vegetable and/or fruit into the shopping cart because you are dying to be “healthy.” Well, here is what I came up with: I will no longer buy crates of fruits or buy in bulk. Instead, I will plan weekly and more carefully. More specifically, I may only buy at most, two types of fruits and/or vegetables that I KNOW THAT I will eat.
I really LOVED these grab-and-go Dippin’ Stix healthy choices and they were only $1.00 each. I bought 10 for the week so I could plan out my work week and have two to eat each day: one for my midday snack and other for the afternoon snack, but I ate two on my way back from New Jersey to New York without guilt. 🙂 What this gently reminds me is that ” I can spend a $1 on healthy snacks instead of a $1 on a bag of chips.” #Noexcuses
If you have little ones that you are teaching healthy habits, these are excellent snacks for them, too.
What I also learned about Walmart during this tour is that they respond to the dietary preferences of the communites that they are in. I went to a Walmart in a largely Latino/Caribbean community, and what do you think was in the produce section? One of the first things that I saw on their farmers tables were avocados and plantain. Being a Caribbean girl myself married to a bona fide Ghanaian, you know I bought both green and yellow plantain– 8 for $2.00, well $0.28/plantain. The crazy thing is that when I went to buy plantain this past weekend, they were 2 or $1. I was also telling Gena, the assistant manager, another Caribbean girl visa via Dominica about how happy I was. I think she could understand why. 🙂
Recipes and The Healthier Kara
I have been on vacation for the week and went to my mother’s house to spend some time with her last night. I
stole borrowed her juicer; I am so excited about trying out one of the quick, healthy recipes that Sarah-Jane Bedwell, the nutritionist supporting Walmart, has created for a morning smoothie. I will let you know how it goes.
Frugalistas: Are you committed to eating healthily on a budget and watching your pennies? How has a recent visit to Walmart helped you reach those two goals??