Grocery shopping is probably one of my least favorite activities to engage in, especially now with a toddler in tow. Little one just loves to turn around in her seat and pull out every last item to hold. By the end of a very long experience, she’s stuffed in the front seat along with a good quarter of my groceries. While grocery shopping for many others may be rather quick and painless, for us to pick up groceries is quite the ordeal. I spend many an hour prepping for the actual trip, from couponing to sale searching and list making. Then finally we come to the actual main event, which I have to admit takes quite awhile to navigate the aisles, always checking labels for gluten and spotting new products that may be gluten free, all while tackling a sticky fingered toddler. I have to give my little girl props though. She loves the hustle and bustle of the store along with the chit chat with its patrons (not to mention the lunch meat samples at the deli counter!) which keeps her in good spirits for a good portion of the adventure.
In our house we try to stick to making biweekly grocery shopping trips, along with a little one in the middle n to pick up milk and bread that don’t quite get us through the entire two weeks. We typically shop at our local Shop Rite which is only about 10 minutes down the road. While their gluten free section has come leaps and bounds since my earlier gluten free days, it never fails, I’ll always have to make a farther trip to either Wegmans or Whole Foods to buy the remainder of our shopping list. This week, as we’re overdo for a larger shopping trip but are also only a week and a half away from Disney, I decided to attempt a smaller trip to Wegmans to pick up the essentials and a few extras for our planned dinners next week.
I personally love Wegmans. Although I can’t quite navigate it blindfolded yet as I can Shop Rite, I love the welcoming feeling that you get just from walking through the door. They are home to a number of gluten free and allergy free brands that can’t be found many other places. In fact, I’ve found a number of gluten free gems here over the years from premade, reasonably priced, and delicious gluten free cookie dough to, my most recent find that I’m super excited about, gluten free gnocchi straight from Italy. They offer so much variety, as much that’s available at least, to individuals that find themselves with a limited variety of groceries to choose from.
While Wegmans houses a number of gluten free and really allergy free brands, my biggest perk with shopping there is their own product line that indicates gluten content clearly on the labels. This is almost unheard of in terms of store brand labeling. For Shop Rite, this has been one of my biggest gripes shopping there. I only purchase store brand products when their price is cheaper than a brand equivalent, as many do. For Shop Rite brand, this process is a bit more complicated, as allergy information is not printed on labels and you have to call regarding each individual product. While this process is incredibly daunting, it’s also very necessary to make sure that the purchased products are gluten free for me. So usually after I’m done shopping, I call Shop Rite and interrogate them on a number of purchased products. On many an occasion, this phone call has saved me from a dangerous run in with gluten and is accompanied with the return of many of their store brand products.
For Wegmans, the guess work and interrogation step is taken out of your shopping trip. You literally can now go up and down each aisle of a grocery store, not just the gluten free section, and easily pick out a cheaper, gluten free option than a name brand. Not to mention, I’ve enjoyed many of their store brand products, such as pasta sauces and even ice cream, more than name brands. So how easy is it to pick out gluten free items among a sea of Wegmans brand products? Well, not only are their ingredient labels clear and indicative of allergy content, but posted right on the front by the name of the product is a convenient and easy to find gluten free symbol in the form of a G with gluten free written underneath, which you can see here on one of their pasta sauces. They offer a number of labeled gluten free, Wegmans brand products including pastas, sauces, cheeses, deli meats, desserts, snacks, beverages, and many more (not to mention my favorite broccoli and cheese soup available at their market). To take a look at their full selection at a store near you, just follow this link to the product finder page, make sure you select a local store, and finally search gluten free and you’ll find over 1500 gluten free products to choose from.
Wegmans is an outstanding store to either pick up a few odds and ends or do your entire grocery shopping. They are coupon friendly and their gluten free selection can’t be beat. Every time I leave there I always walk out with a few more products then I had intended on grabbing, not to mention a higher grocery bill to boot, but nothing can beat growing your gluten free selection at home. I’m so thankful that a store like this exists and is local for me, making my gluten free experience much more doable and enjoyable.
TIP: If you don’t have a local Wegmans, check out any of your local grocery stores and see if they too offer gluten free store brand products or if they even have a complete list of their gluten free products. If neither of these are available to you, don’t be afraid to go with the route that I still do with Shop Rite. Making phone calls isn’t necessarily fun but if it can save you some money and provide you with safe gluten free alternatives then they’re worth making.