Many people think to be vegan, you have to spend trillions of dollars at Whole Foods. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I do 90% of my shopping at Kroger, just like every omnivore. I’m not gonna lie, Whole Foods (or Rainbow Blossom) is the perfect place to get those necessities like Vegenaise, Daiya cheese, or those Dr. McDougall’s soup bowls that are perfect for work time lunches that you just can’t find at Kroger or Wal-mart. But for your every day needs, Kroger is more than sufficient. And they’re only going to get better from here!
Although some label reading is still required, Kroger has started to mark a lot of their products “vegan”, only adding to the hundreds of cruelty-free products they’ve always carried, giving consumers the opportunity to make more ethical choices. Care to take a stroll? Here are just a few things you might not have known were so readily available…
Bread Products…Just about all of Kroger brand bagels (Everything, Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin) and most, if not all of Thomas’ Bagels are vegan, as well as Kroger’s “Value” brand wheat and white sandwich bread.
Need something to spread on your toasted bagels or bread? Try Earth Balance “buttery spread”. It tastes no different from margarine, and everyone I know that’s tried it has loved it. It comes in “original” or “soy free”. Plus it has Omega-3’s which are great for your brain!
Wanna try something other than that mucus-packed cow’s milk with your cereal? There are actually more options for non-dairy drinkers! Soy milk isn’t the only one. There’s Oat, Hemp, Almond, Hazelnut, Coconut, and Rice milks. Most of these products are animal-free. Just check the package to see if it’s vegetarian or vegan. Most will say so. If not, just Google it on your smart phone! That’s what they’re for! Non-dairy milk lasts longer, and most are fortified with vitamins, including calcium. Plus, I like variety, so I’ll usually switch it up for whichever milk is on sale at the moment.
Craving lunchtime soup in the winter? Try Amy’s Organic Soups. They make it soup-er easy (I couldn’t help it!) for you to grab and go, because 90% of these are vegan and are labeled first thing on the ingredient list if they are. They have sales on these all the time, so stock up when they do. My favorites are “No Chicken Noodle” and “Split Pea”, both low-fat. They also have fantastic lentil soups. I haven’t met one I didn’t like. And if you’re a soup and sandwich person, there is no shortage of “deli meat” alternatives that taste great stacked between lettuce, onion, pickles, tomatoes, avocados, or whatever else you want to throw in there. Tofurky’s Hickory Smoked “turkey” slices are amazing. I could, and do, eat these by themselves. Another alternative is Lightlife’s Smart Deli, Roast Turkey Style.
As for dinner, nothing is easier than stir-fry. Lightlife’s Smart Strips, Chick’n Style Strips saute perfectly with a bag of frozen veggies, which is one of the better things Kroger has started offering. They’re carrying more all-natural frozen vegetables, with no added preservatives. And there have been several studies to show that frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than fresh, due to nutrients deteriorating right after they’re picked. So don’t feel bad if you’re in a hurry!
Sweet tooth got a hold of you? You have about a dozen soy and coconut milk ice cream flavors to choose from. Not to mention ice cream sandwiches and frozen fruit bars. And who could forget Oreo’s? Yes, believe it or not, they’re actually vegan! They may not be healthy but they are animal-product free.
Last but certainly not least, you have the most important section…produce! You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. And look at those beautiful colors! I must say, Kroger has really stepped up their produce and organic section, which just goes to show, your choices do matter. See a veggie you’re unfamiliar with? Don’t be scared!! Grab it, look up a recipe on Vegweb.com, and dive into the kitchen! You may hate it or have a new favorite! The point is, eating ethically doesn’t mean eating twigs and berries. The choices are always expanding. So go Krogering!