Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

If you're a regular reader of mine, you may remember my posts about shopping gluten free at Aldi and at Trader Joe's. This post is another addition to that grocery store series, and today I'm highlighting one of my new favorite grocery stores for gluten free shopping: Food 4 Less!

Before I moved to California, I'd never seen or tried Food 4 Less. But when I stumbled across one on my way to the gym, I couldn't help but check it out - and I'm glad I did!

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

In my experience, Food 4 Less is an awesome grocery store for getting high-quality produce and other foods for a very reasonable price. And while the locations I've visited don't have a separate gluten free section, I've been pleasantly surprised by the various gluten free items I've found sprinkled throughout the store.

So whether you’re a Food 4 Less fan or just looking for ways to eat healthy for cheap, here are my top four tips for eating heathy, cheap and gluten free at Food 4 Less!

Shopping at Food 4 Less, Point 1: Food 4 Less sells more than just food...and is more about value than flash.

During my first visit to Food 4 Less, one of the biggest surprises was the fact that Food 4 Less is not just a grocery store. I would compare it to a mini-Costco since it not only sells food but also other items - ranging from toothpaste to vitamins - in bulk. This makes it a very convenient place to shop when you not only need groceries but also household staples.

Like with Aldi, Food 4 Less also focuses on providing the highest quality of products at the lowest price MORE than creating a beautiful store. As a result, many items are placed in huge bins for people to grab as they wish. You should also expect to bag your own groceries.

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

Shopping at Food 4 Less, Point 2: Load up on Food 4 Less's affordable produce - and watch out for awesome sales.

What has really kept me coming back to Food 4 Less are their produce prices. For example, last week, they had zucchini and yellow squash on sale for $0.48/a pound...when usually they cost at least $1.50 a pound. All of the produce I've tried has also been very fresh and flavorful.

Compared to a smaller store like Aldi, Food 4 Less also offers a LOT more variety. Because the Food 4 Less locations I've shopped at are in San Diego, there are many kinds of Mexican produce available, like nopal cactus. At least in my experience, I'm a lot more likely to branch out and try more foods when I don't have to spend a ton of money on them in the first place. So if you're looking for a grocery store that can help you experiment with new foods, Food 4 Less is an awesome option!

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

Shopping at Food 4 Less, Point 3: Watch for gluten free products on the same shelves as regular products.

Unlike grocery stores like Sprouts Farmer's Market or Aldi's, Food 4 Less does not have a specific gluten free aisle (or at least, there hasn't been one in either of the store locations I've visited). Instead, you can find gluten free options scattered around the store, including goodies like:
  • Prego's Sensitive Recipe spaghetti sauce
  • Tons of different gluten free cereals
  • Gluten free pancake mixes from Bisquick and Purely Elizabeth
  • So Delicious dairy free ice cream
This definitely isn't the place to go if you have a specific gluten free product in mind (check out Sprout's or Whole Foods for that), but it's a great place for naturally gluten free foods and some extra goodies. I also want to note that the gluten free products that are at Food 4 Less aren't always the cheapest compared to what you could pay at a more specialty store. However, you can still find some good deals.

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

Shopping at Food 4 Less, Point 4: Save money on gluten free food by buying off-brand and frozen foods.

I also LOVE that Food 4 Less fills its shelves with Kroger branded products, since Food 4 Less is owned by Kroger. These options are a lot cheaper than their mainstream counterparts and equally delicious (at least in my opinion). Some of the Kroger brand products I've tried and enjoyed so far are the ketchup and mustard, which are labeled as naturally gluten free, and gluten free popcorn and chips that mimic popular brands' flavors for a much lower price. As always, make sure to read ingredient labels and only choose products you feel safe eating!

Meanwhile, Food 4 Less's frozen aisles aren't the best I've ever seen, but they do include some winners. The locations I've visited haven't had many gluten free freezer meals or frozen products - besides a few finds like So Delicious dairy free ice cream, gluten free corn dogs and individually-wrapped chicken breasts for easy cooking - but they do impress with their naturally gluten free frozen foods.

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

I always end up loading up on frozen vegetables since they are so much cheaper at Food 4 Less than Trader Joe's or Sprouts. They also have a LOT more kinds of frozen vegetables than I've seen at most stores, including options like asparagus and lima beans.

The Bottom Line of Shopping at Food For Less

Does Food 4 Less have EVERYTHING I could possibly want or need while shopping gluten-free, cheap and healthy? No...so I'll often stop by Aldi or Sprouts Farms Market a few times a month. But is Food 4 Less worth visiting if you're trying to save money, eat healthier, or find a new few - and affordable! - gluten free items? For sure!

As I've said before, the best thing about experimenting with different grocery stores is being able to find out which store serves your needs best and which items are the cheapest at each store. For instance, I might get my produce at Food 4 Less but stop by Sprouts for gluten free specialty foods.

Eating Gluten Free, Cheap and Healthy at Food 4 Less

Whether you've shopped at Foods 4 Less before or not, I hope this review is helpful and gives you ideas of other places to find affordable produce and new gluten free products!



Do you shop at Food 4 Less? If so, do you have any favorite products? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Comments

  1. Another southern California store you might check out if you can find one near you is Grocery Outlet. I have found that they have really great prices on different GF foods. I even found really crispy gf battered fish fillets there yesterday! This is still a new grocery store to me too, so idk what is typical there since I've only been to maybe 3 of them.

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