It isn’t always easy to tell what foods you should and shouldn’t buy at the grocery store. Simplify your options by seeking out healthy destinations to do your shopping.
The South County Food Co-op (once known as the Alternative Food Co-op) started in 1970, when there were no natural food markets in Rhode Island and members loaded up their cars with supplies from Boston to distribute to their Rhode Island neighbors. Now, the South County Food Co-op is in a new, larger storefront in Wakefield, and sells natural foods, amenities and products for the home. Becoming a member of the co-op entitles customers to discounts and the ability to pre-order in bulk. Their cafe, with a deck overlooking the river, serves soups, salads, baked goods, made-to-order juices and organic coffee. 344 Main Street, Wakefield. 401-789-2240, southcountyfoodcoop.com
Back to Basics Natural Food Grocery is just as much a learning resource as it is a grocery store. The family-owned business carries 10,000 natural and organic products, but more importantly offers resources to teach you how to use them to boost your health and well-being. Browse their online Wellness Library, or talk to employees at the East Greenwich store. Back to Basics is also committed to being a gluten-free resource, with dedicated GF freezers and coded shelves. The store has a smartphone app to help customers keep track of lists, coupons and reward program earnings. 500 Main Street, East Greenwich. 401-885-2679, backtobasicsnaturalfoods.com
Newport’s A Market is a “think healthy” store, a philosophy that extends beyond just the healthy foods they carry. In addition to stocking natural, organic and specialty diet supplies, A Market is a resource for healthy living, offering an online Wellness Library and daily prepared foods. They also offer a rewards program, coupon incentives and quantity discounts when you’re looking to stock up and save. 181 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. 401-846-8137, myamarket.com
Nature’s Goodness is all about practicing what they preach. The natural foods store stocks high-quality local and organic products, but also teaches you what to do with them, and by extension, how to live a more holistic lifestyle. The Middletown store offers in-store demonstrations and events, and their website is full of delicious, healthful recipes (including options for vegetarians and macrobiotic diets) and articles about healthy lifestyles. 510 East Main Road, Middletown. 401-847-7480, naturesgoodnessri.com
Westerly’s Maize n Manna takes (almost all) of the work out of healthy eating. The whole foods store has a takeout cafe serving up enticing, nutritious options, with a different menu every day. While there are baked goods, Dave’s Coffee, salads and lunch boxes to go, there are also takeout entrees, specializing in vegan and gluten-free diets. 40 High Street, Westerly. 401-596-1680, facebook.com/MaizeNMannaWholefoods
Fertile Underground is Providence’s only independent natural foods store, focusing on locavore vegetarian eating. The store grew from a community garden into a storefront on the city’s West Side, run by worker-owners of the co-op. Find locally made items from Farmacy Herbs and the Virginia & Spanish Peanut Company, prepared foods to go that are vegan- and vegetarian-friendly and fresh smoothies. 1577 Westminster Street, Providence. 401-365-4384, fertileunderground.com