The Smart & Final Decision About Healthy Food

Lisa Waugh

If my clock is right, a lot of us are out there starting the New Year with a health and fitness challenge. One of the big discussions I hear all around is that although it’s great to get back into shape, the cost of food is somewhat daunting. This is where I, Miss Cheapskate McGee, pipe up. No one believes me until they go to the store with me but Smart & Final has most everything you need for your new nutrition change. I’m not kidding.

Nutrition shopping doesn’t have to be expensive or a drag

The produce is fresh, the eggs are range free and they have six kinds of Greek yogurt. Their proteins are flavorful and fresh. And… everything costs about 20 to 30% less than your run to Trader Joes, Ralphs or neighborhood store.

I love Ralphs, TJs and my neighborhood Bob’s Market so don’t get me wrong but there’s simply no need to overwhelm your budget with a pricey grocery bill while you’re getting fit.

The store has been the go to for chefs and restaurants for nearly two decades. I spoke with Juan Tempiero who shops regularly for his restaurant in Venice. “I like their produce because it’s fresh and because it’s very reasonable. They also have supplies and good prices on seasonings. We have a vegetarian part of our menu and it’s quite popular. I get all of those ingredients here.”


Quick Comparison:

Trader Joe’s – 6 oz bag of organic baby spinach $1.99

Smart & Final – 1 lb. box of organic baby spinach $3.99

*Prices are based on stores in Los Angeles


Perks of Smart & Final:

No membership

Roomy stores

Lots of parking

Name brands

Choice of First Street brands

Food comes in bulk but not Costco/preparing for nuclear winter huge

Fresh and organic can be found in a multitude of stores

Eat Better, Spend Less

Smart & Final isn’t the only choice among my healthy group of friends. Joe Lenier is a trainer in Los Angeles and he swears by Food 4 Less. This draws heavy groans from my friends.

Joe defends himself, “I brought home produce from several different stores and could not taste or tell the difference. Sure, I like some of the organic things from Trader Joe’s or the local farmer’s market but you don’t have to live in those places.”

Part of Joe’s bootcamp is taking his students to the grocery store to show them just what they need to put in their basket. “My clients like the image of those places but they can’t tell the difference in most of the foods I make in my class. When I tell them they are eating a dish made from ingredients found at Food 4 Less or Smart & Final, it’s a big surprise. It’s about getting the right nutrients, not the branding of the store.”

So if you don’t want to make your piggy bank squeal while you trim the fat, consider a trip to your local discount grocery store. No matter where you shop, congrats on getting out there and good luck!


*Main feature image: Kristen Stein