October 19, 2022

– by zedek

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How to buy whole foods – A simple guide

Introduction – Why Whole Foods?

Although I have been vegan for 2 years now, it has only been within the last 5 months that I made the switch to a wholefood plant-based diet after realising that just being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean I am fuelling my body with healthy natural food.

I was still readily consuming fries, Oreos and a long list of crisps and snacks. Luckily since I’m quite active and young I stayed slim despite my poor eating choices, but since making the switch I’ve seen a real change.

I am now much more slender and lean, with more muscle, less fat and new mental clarity, but I’ll get into the benefits a bit later… Even if your reason for going with whole foods is nothing like mine, allow me to use my knowledge and experience to aid you with your search for whole foods.

How To Buy Whole Foods

To many, the question may sound silly, but if you live in a city like mine, the norm is no longer healthy wholesome foods, the easiest food to acquire is the most unhealthy, most carcinogenic food for your body, these are the foods that are heavily advertised despite there horrible effects on your body.

So when you ask how to buy whole foods, you’re asking a brilliant and important question. Whole foods  are naturally occurring and are minimally processed for example:

  • Grains – e.g wheat, buckwheat, spelt, wholegrain rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, rolled oats,
  • Beans and legumes – lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, split peas, chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds (not salted or roasted) – peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds
  • All fruits
  • All vegetables
  • foods that are natural but processed can be categorised as whole foods but whether or not you’d say so is up to you, for example, tofu & tempeh are made from fermented soybeans (a legume) but since it has gone through some sort of processing some may steer from it.

Listing out these foods is one thing, but knowing which ones are the best to buy for your personal situation is a whole other pursuit that requires some experience.

One way you can gain that experience is by messing around in the kitchen and figuring out which fruits, vegetables and legumes are the best price and tastiest for you.

I’ve been making most of my recipes on a low budget (Some of which you can check out now!) So I now have a good idea of how to pick up whole foods to ensure I have a belly full of good food for the rest of the week.

But firstly let’s talk location. Ideally, you’d be growing your own food like a farmer but realistically we’re going to buy our food from the store.

Wholefood Shopping In The United Kingdom

Lidl is a godsend as well as any outdoor mini markets you can find. For the most part prices for whole foods like potatoes, peppers, zucchinis/courgettes & beets, will be lower in stores such as Lidl and Aldi.

I often go to Lidl to pick up most of my whole foods including my kidney beans and chickpeas, since their prices are often a third cheaper than alternatives like Tesco.  If you are on an even tighter budget or would just like to reduce waste, you can source lots of vegetables for even cheaper by heading to the Too Good To Waste box in Lidl.

As you can see, you can pick up a box full of fruit and vegetables for £1.50, and for the most part, the fruit is absolutely fine. The only problem is consuming the produce before they begin to perish, but in my opinion, it’s a fair deal considering such a low price. Moreover, the range of veggies you can get will aid you in creating nutritionally varied meals.

A box full of fruit and veg would usually cost you over £10 so if you are able to head over to Lidl and grab a too-good-to-waste box, you should go ahead and do that. But even if your local Lidl does not have one, the overall pricing at Lidl is solid, so consider picking up your produce from there.

Wholefood shopping Tips No Matter Where You Live

Another way to get your hands on some whole foods for a good price is to buy what is local and what is in season. These two factors are often skipped over or not acknowledged at all. But they play a major role in the pricing and availability of your food.

If you want to kill 3 birds with one stone, these birds being, eating healthy food, reducing environmental constraints and having cheaper food, then you should find local whole foods and eat those ones rather than imports. Now, this is not necessary by any means but the key to success in most fields is making distinctions, and if I can provide you with subtle distinctions that will make a difference for you, I will do that.

Living in England during the cold seasons means the local fruits are not as succulent and exotic as in some other countries, but if I want to save on money and still keep healthy I’m better off sticking to the apples and parsnips.

So now let me tell you the way I go about dealing with whole foods:

A Helpful List Of Whole Foods For A Full Week Of Eating

My weekly essentials of ingredients include:

  • Potatoes
  • kidney beans
  • broccoli
  • courgette/zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Lentil Pasta
  • couscous
  • carrots
  • peppers
  • onion
  • garlic
  • tomatoes
  • spinach

If you follow my recipes you know I use all these ingredients in rotation but in different ways. The variations of dishes you can come up with are probably endless and I’m constantly thinking up new ways to spruce up the dinner plate with these same foods.

Of course your list of foods will be different from mine depending on your preferences, budget, culture etc, but as long as your eating healthily and happily your doing good. When it comes to fruit I eat anything so I pick up whatever is cheapest.

I often make dishes with a particular food as the focal point and then switch up the complementary ingredients for example I love to make kidney bean stew, but I love mixing it up even more, my family will tell you that my dishes often taste slightly different each time because I’m always trying to keep it fresh and fun.

Sometimes I’ll add in parsley, mint, sweet potatoes and steamed dumplings to my stew, and sometimes I’ll just add carrots, spinach and Irish potatoes. Mixing up your ingredients while leaving the focal point of the dish the same is a great way to discover new combinations that slap and also get different nutritional looks out of your food.


Don’t let anyone tell you whole food eating isn’t fun! You can even experiment with your own healthy desserts that don’t throw your whole gut biome into whack, and you’ll be able to develop the skill of creating art that tastes good and doesn’t harm your body.

Although this should all be common practical knowledge, this way of living has taken the back seat for a lot of people, but I think re-engaging with what we eat on a more personal level is crucial to increasing health and wellbeing. Leaving our nutrition in the hands of ‘profit first- health-maybe later’ companies is not the best idea.

As you can now tell I have a keen interest in the whole food lifestyle and you will find many more blogs in the future delving into this topic from various angles and viewpoints, but in the meanwhile thank you for reading and let me know what you think in the comments below. You can find me on instagram, twitter and YouTube @alldayplantbased.

Thanks for stopping by ADPB!

Let me know what you think about this article. Leave your thoughts & comments down below, hope you enjoyed it!


  1. rainmelodysound October 19, 2022 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Creating a good quality of food is very important. Thank you for your advices it is very helpful when you trying to change your habits for healthier and replace junk food with products that  improve on your condition. Now I know where to start, whole foods sounds delicious and satisfying,  I’ll follow for more tips!

    • Zedek Boateng November 1, 2022 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Im glad you enjoyed reading this post, luckily for you there’s much more in store!

  2. angelce903 October 19, 2022 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Hello, I found your article very interesting and refreshing! It’s true that being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re eating healthy. Personally I tried to be vegan for Daniel’s fast during 21 days and it was a wonderful experience, though my body didn’t bear veganism on a longer period…When shopping for Whole Foods, you don’t need to go to health stores because you can find them at your local supermarket. For me, I find them at Lidl, Aldi, Franprix or Carrefour (I am French).

    • admin October 19, 2022 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Exactly! Whole food eating is simple and easy for us all

  3. Roopesh October 20, 2022 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    My wife and I are vegetarians. I agree with you totally, that it does not mean that we are eating healthy as we too engage in potato chips(Lays), fries, and snacks. And I am ever so grateful to understand the concept of buying whole foods from your article, thank you. 

    I bookmarked this page. We too consume fruits and veggies but not so much. But now we going to focus on the other items in your whole food list. As they say, ‘you are what you eat, and we have not been feeling on top of our game. Very lethargic and has no enthusiasm for life. 

    Hopefully, that’s going to change, thanks to your list of great foods. Can you direct us to some great recipes that you personally use?

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