Can you buy healthy food at Dollar General? Here’s why you should try, plus a list of whole, real food they carry.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Did you know you can buy real, whole food at Dollar General?
You don’t need to shop at expensive health food stores to buy real food. And you don’t always need an Aldi, Costco, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to eat simple whole food on a budget.
You can actually buy a lot of inexpensive staples at Dollar General.
Why You Should Buy Groceries at Dollar General
Maybe you live somewhere rural and the only grocery store within 45 minutes is Dollar General (this is basically how I grew up). Or maybe you have limited driving access (we were a one-car family until 4 years ago).
You can still save money and eat well! Dollar General won’t have everything you need, but you can buy enough to supplement your groceries until you get to another store.
Does Dollar General Sell Healthy Food?
It depends on your definition of healthy food. You won’t find organic chia seeds and grass-fed beef. But you will find a wide variety of basic staples – milk, eggs, butter, frozen veggies, frozen fruit, rice, beans, canned tomato products, baking supplies, etc.
In our Save Money Eat Healthy Classes, we break healthy eating into several stages: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Obsessed Real-Foodie.
Nearly everyone, at any stage, can find something good to eat at Dollar General. If you’re looking for simple whole foods, Dollar General gives you those!
They don’t have fresh produce or meat, but they provide alternative solutions you can supplement with, like frozen veggies, frozen berries, canned pineapple in juice, unsweetened applesauce, and raisins.
If you live in a rural area, you might not have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes, or even a Walmart. But you may have other resources around you that help you eat well. Maybe you have local produce farms, or you have a big yard for a garden (here’s why you should or should NOT grow your own garden). Maybe you have homesteading neighbors or friends who raise chickens for eggs and meat, hunting, raising cows or goats for milk, etc. Many rural areas have local Azure Standard co-ops to help people stock up on bulk pantry staples.
Dollar General typically targets communities without a lot of other resources, so think about how you can use it to supplement your existing options.
Keep in mind that there is a lot of junk food at Dollar General. Of course there is. You can also buy junk food at Kroger and Walmart. But Dollar General also carries the ingredients to make homemade, from-scratch cookies, so you still have a choice. Keep it simple. Buy what you want. Ignore the rest.
According to several articles, Dollar General is expanding its fresh produce options, so hopefully, it will get easier and easier to shop for simple, whole food at Dollar General.
Does Dollar General Actually Save You Money?
This depends on where you live and what you have available to you. Dollar General offers competitive prices on a variety of foods. It has all the staples you need without inflated prices, so depending on what grocery stores you have around you, it’s worth a price check.
For example, where I used to live, Dollar General was right next to Kroger, and they were both across the street from Aldi. I ended up doing most of my shopping at Aldi, supplemented with markdowns and household products from Kroger, and occasionally shopped at Dollar General.
Aldi still beats Dollar General’s grocery prices. However, if Aldi hadn’t been across the street, Dollar General could have provided more of our staples.
You can even download the Dollar General app to get digital coupons and stay up to date on their sales!
What to Buy at Dollar General
Here are the whole foods you can buy at Dollar General. This list is based on my local Dollar General and their prices. It includes simple foods like eggs, dry beans, and raisins, and also some foods that maybe aren’t considered “whole foods” but are typically purchased even by health-conscious families – like bread, tortillas, and crackers.
Keep in mind that prices and products vary with region.
Refrigerated Foods at Dollar General
- Almond milk
- Cottage cheese
- Cheese – shredded and blocks
- Cream cheese
- Frozen strawberries
- Frozen veggies (broccoli, mixed veggies)
- Canned tuna fish
- White rice
- Dry pinto beans
- Canned beans – pinto, kidney, black-eyed pea
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Pasta Sauce (some varieties had cleaner ingredients than others)
- Pasta – spaghetti, angel hair, rotini, elbow macaroni, and egg noodles
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil (labeled as non-hydrogenated)
- Chicken broth
- Veggie broth
- Beef broth
- Lemon juice
- Hot sauce
- Basic condiments – mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, etc.
- Spices (a lot! All the typical American staples)
- Black tea
- Sugar (brown and white)
- Cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Chocolate chips (real chocolate!)
- Canned pineapple in juice
- Unsweetened apple sauce
- Trail mix
- Granola bars
- Peanut Butter (“natural” – made with cane sugar and palm shortening)
Would You Try Grocery Shopping at Dollar General?
While it certainly doesn’t give you the same feeling as walking into a Sprouts or Trader Joe’s, Dollar General provides a lot of the same food at a discounted price. If you have one close by, it’s worth popping in to check the prices and decide if it’s worth it to you!
What You Can Do Now:
Do you shop at Dollar General?
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I had to pull up Google maps and see if we have a Dollar General since I didn’t think so, and no, we don’t. I’ve seen it on road trips, however. We do have Dollar Tree and 99¢ Only, but they are mostly true dollar stores. Still, when the budget is tight I’ve been known to shop 99¢ Only for groceries. They have plenty of healthy basic foods, and even have produce (but you must know your prices and how to check for freshness). Now that Aldi opened in our town it’s a far better option, but I still check out 99¢ Only occasionally for close out bargains.
Awesome! Way to go finding creative ways to stick to your budget. We don’t have 99-cent stores where I live.
I go to your stores 3-4 times a week…everything I buy there is wonderful