Gluten-Free at Wegmans: How to Save Time & Money
*This post is not sponsored by Wegmans*
*Disclaimer: This post goes into a silly amount of detail about grocery shopping. I included everything I could think of to help save you time and/or money (except extreme couponing because I am not cut out for that shopping intensity level). Please ignore this post if you are already a grocery shopping pro! If I forgot something, please add your own comment below. Remember, these are only guidelines meant for inspiration—by no means is this a rulebook! Make these tips your own.
I am not an expert grocery shopper—I am still learning myself—but I have learned how to maximize the value of shopping at Wegmans to save both time and money on my gluten-free groceries.
In researching these posts, I was able to (consistently) cut $20+ off my weekly grocery budget and at least 20 minutes off my actual shopping time. I am usually at the checkout lanes within 20-25 minutes of walking into the store. Not an easy feat when the store is so enormous it’s considered a “small, beautifully maintained, self-sustaining city.”
This post will go through the general steps of making a grocery list and navigating a Wegmans store to save time and money. Next week’s post will be an example of how I use these steps to plan and execute a weekly grocery shopping trip with a $130 budget.
Making the Grocery List
In an ideal world, I highly recommend making your grocery list a day before you actually plan to shop. Not only does breaking up the list-making and shopping allow for a quick double-check of the list, but it helps the grocery shopping itself feel like less of a chore. When I used to make my list right before I left for the store, it felt like I had already spent lots of time thinking about groceries…and then I had to actually go to the store. Ick.
Whether or not you agree with my tactic, there are a few tips that help me make a quality grocery list:
- Make a grocery list that matches your cooking style. The more often you visit the grocery store for missed items, the more likely you are to over-spend that week.
- Do you prefer to plan out every meal? Make sure you have all the ingredients you will need for planned recipes.
- Do you “wing it” more than a few nights a week? Make sure your pantry and fridge are stocked with the basics for your favorite quick meals.
- Do you like to batch-cook and freeze meals? Shop the sales and stock up on items you use often.
- Looking for a new recipe? Search online at Wegmans.com or use the Wegmans App to find over 400 chef-developed GF recipes. If you find one you like, you can add all the ingredients to your shopping list with just one click!
- Write down everything you need, then cross off items you already have. It seems like you’re wasting time here, but it helps give you a sense of what you already have in your pantry and fridge—you’re less likely to buy items you don’t need and you might even notice something you forgot you had.
- Do your research. Know which brands are GF before you go to the store, so you can grab and go. This step is a huge time-saver, especially if you’re shopping with children. Also, make sure to check your coupon stash and the weekly sales flyer to check for any big deals before you are in the store.
- Make an actual list—hand-written, printed, or on your smartphone. This is the number one step to save time and stay on budget (as long as you stick to the list!). If you like browsing a store for new products, spend the time before you hit the store checking out the online selection. Wegmans shopping list tool (also available on their App) is my preferred way to make my list. I used to just write everything on a piece of paper, but this online/App-based tool shows the cost of each product and an estimated total, which makes it the best way I have found to double-check GF brands and stay on budget as I build my list.
Shopping the Store
- Think about timing. I prefer to shop Friday mornings because it works best for my schedule (i.e. it’s child-free!), most food is stocked for the weekend, and it allows me to beat the weekend rush. If you have the flexibility, experiment with different times to find your preferred day. If you don’t have that luxury, I recommend shopping as early as you can on the weekend.
- Know where you are going. This is one those rare times in your life when you can know exactly what you need and where to find it.
- If you’ve never been to Wegmans, I recommend reviewing the layout of your local store before you go for the first time—it can feel somewhat overwhelming at first. The Wegmans shopping list (online or App) automatically organizes your list by aisle in your local store. You instantly have a personalized map of your store built right in to your shopping list! Find your local Wegmans here.
- Familiarize yourself with the GF options in each department so you can find your favorite GF items (and maybe discover some new ones!). Also, there are Wegmans employees available throughout the store to answer your questions. For items designated as MWNGCI* be sure to ask specific questions to assess your comfort level with using these products. The following chart provides information about GF options you can find at just about every grocer as well as options that are uniquely available at Wegmans. NOTE: all items labled with “G” Wellness Key are Wegmans-brand products and will not be available at other grocers.
|Name||Always GF||Uniquely Wegmans|
|Market Café/Fresh Foods Bar/Prepared Foods||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅Rotisserie Chickens (MWNGCI*) ⋅Sushi/Sashimi (MWNGCI*) ⋅MWNGCI-labeled* Fresh Foods Bar items (NOTE: this is a buffet-style area so use whatever precautions you normally use at a buffet) ⋅Refrigerated Prepared Foods w/ "G" Wellness Key|
|Produce||⋅Fresh unseasoned produce is naturally GF||⋅Pre-washed/pre-cut veggies (talk to employees at the counter if you have specific questions or special requests)|
|Bakery||⋅GF packaged treats (available in GF Aisle)||⋅GF Bakery items prepared in dedicated GF facility available in Packaged Bakery Department ⋅some MWNGCI-labeled* Bakery items prepared in-store ⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key (available in GF aisle)|
|Meat & Seafood||⋅Plain meat and seafood is naturally GF||⋅Packaged and prepared items w/ "G" Wellness Key|
|Deli||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅All meat and cheese sliced at this Delicatessen is MWNGCI* (as stated on a single sign posted in the department → talk to employees at the counter if you have specific questions or special requests) ⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key|
|Bulk Foods||⋅Not usually recommended for GF shoppers||⋅Discounts available in Family Pack section (look for items with "G" Wellness Key)|
|Dairy/Cheese Shop||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅Packaged and prepared items w/ "G" Wellness Key|
|Nature’s Marketplace (where GF Aisle is located)||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅GF Aisle (HUGE!) ⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key ⋅Health & Beauty items labeled with "G" Wellness Key ⋅Specially trained staff knowledgeable about living GF|
|Grocery/International Foods||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key|
|Frozen Foods||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key (includes specialty GF items like chicken nuggets and frozen waffles)|
|Pharmacy||⋅GF-labeled sealed products||⋅Request to have your Pharmacist flag your personal file for GF screening ⋅Talk to your Pharmacist if you have questions about your prescriptions or OTC medications ⋅Packaged items w/ "G" Wellness Key|
NOTE: I did not include the Wine Shop/Beer Department because selection will vary by store and not all stores carry wine and beer. Please check out this post if you would like to review GF Alcohol options.
*Made With No Gluten Containing Ingredients → read more about MWNGCI in this post.
- Think about the bigger picture if you need a Plan B. If you have a general idea of what you need for the week, it will be easier to make substitutions if necessary. For instance, I often add “green roasting veggie” or “snacking veggie” to my list so that I can improvise based on what looks good or is on sale. If they’re out of a fresh veggie I want, I can sub out a different similar veggie or pick up a frozen/canned version. If you have the Wegmans app, you can make these quick substitutions to your list on the fly.
These steps may seem unnecessary or ridiculous to some of you, especially if you’re new to living gluten-free. It’s important to remember, however, that the food you purchase and consume each week is currently the most effective treatment for gluten-related disorders. Grocery shopping, like it or not, is something to take seriously. If you’re strapped for time (or cash), these tips might help make the process of shopping for gluten-free groceries a tad easier.
Next week’s post, Gluten-Free at Wegmans: My List & Shopping Plan ($130 Budget), will review a real-life example of how I put these tips into practice. Feel free to email me if you have any tips you’d like me to include!
I was not compensated by Wegmans for my time researching and writing this post. I contacted Wegmans expressing interest in writing about their gluten-free resources because of my personal experience with the store. I was invited to tour my local store with Wegmans Nutritionist, Krystal Register, RDN, to discuss resources that are offered for gluten-free customers. All opinions expressed are my own.
There are currently 88 Wegmans stores in six states (Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). Find your nearest Wegmans.
Don’t have a Wegmans near you? Contact them about future expansion plans.