Whole Foods: Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that it’s taken the grocery world by storm. With its wealth of organic and supposedly good-for-you food items, its inviting atmosphere, and its reputation for quality, there’s no wonder why people around the country love shopping at this ubiquitous grocery chain. But if there’s one aspect people really love about the store, it’s Whole Foods’ brand 365. While Whole Foods is known for selling food that’s on the expensive side, its own 365 products aren’t as pricey as many of the other name brands the store carries. Because of that, it’s gained a popular following amongst some who do their grocery shopping at the retailer.
You may be wondering if you should be looking into 365 products as well. The answer is … maybe. It really comes down to the specific product you’re looking for. Some are fantastic, and they’re staples that we keep in our kitchens on a regular basis. Others aren’t as great, though, and you can probably skip them in favor of another brand. Wondering which are which? Take a look at this list, where we’ve compiled some of the best — and some of the worst — 365 items. Then, use this list as a guide for the next time you make your way to the grocery store. Happy shopping!
Best: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Mediterranean Blend
We all know that not all olive oil is created equally. Some of it really is better than others, and it makes a significant difference in your food. However, often, these nicer olive oils are exceedingly expensive, and you may not be able to convince yourself to buy them on a regular basis because of that staggering price tag. Instead, you’re better off finding an oil that’s both high-quality and affordable. Enter 365’s organic extra virgin olive oil, Mediterranean blend.
The oil has a smooth, rich consistency with a flavor that’s not overpowering. That being said, it still has some of the bitterness you want in a high-quality olive oil. (In fact, it’s a trait you should look for when you’re buying olive oil!) It’s the perfect complement to salads, pasta, bread, and even some desserts, and it’s a staple you can keep stocked in your pantry for whenever you need it (which should be often).
Just one thing to keep in mind: Like every olive oil, the 365 brand won’t last forever — it’s not something you save. According to Healthline, extra virgin olive oil has a shelf life of about 12 months, so don’t keep it in your cupboards forever.
Worst: Apple Cereal Bars
When you buy groceries for your family, you want to give them the healthiest foods possible. Generally, that means lots of fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed whole foods. But let’s just be honest: We don’t have time to cook everything from scratch. Therefore, you may buy some prepackaged food from time to time. And when you buy from Whole Foods, you may assume you’re getting higher quality, healthier food because you’re paying a premium. But that’s definitely not the case when you buy the apple cereal bars from the 365 brand.
According to Eat This, Not That!, these cereal bars are far from a healthy option. In fact, they have a whopping 17 grams of sugar per serving. And since they doesn’t really have much protein in them, you’re going to get hungry again shortly after you eat one. While it may seem like this is a smart option for those busy mornings when you’re on the go, you probably don’t want to make a habit out of it.
While the apple cereal bars you’ll find from the Whole Foods brand do taste pretty good, you’re better off finding a healthier alternative.
Best: Basil Pesto
When you have unlimited time in the kitchen, you can really go above and beyond when it comes to preparing every dish. If you’re making pasta, this means that you’re probably going to make your sauce from scratch. While that may be your preferred method, though, you probably don’t have time to do that on a regular basis. After all, sometimes, you just need to get dinner on the table fast — that’s when canned and jarred products come into play. One of the best you’ll find at Whole Foods is the 365 basil pesto.
It may look like your typical jarred pasta sauce, but this one really goes above and beyond when it comes to flavor. The oil in it tastes super fresh, and the basil itself tastes more like the fresh stuff than the dried variety you have in your cabinet. We love this pesto because it can add amazing flavor to so many dishes. Of course, you should add it to your pasta, but you could also cover cuts of chicken with it or spread it on a piece of crusty bread.
There are some staples that you always want in your pantry for when you need a quick and easy dinner, and this basil pesto sauce should be one of them.
Worst: Chickenless Nuggets
Listen, here at Mashed, we’re all about limiting our meat consumption. Just because you’re a meat-eater doesn’t mean you have to eat it every day, after all. Generally, it’s better to consume higher-quality meat but less of it. Additionally, cutting down on your meat intake can have a positive effect on your health and on the health of the planet. If you’re interested in reducing your meat intake, you may think about purchasing the 365 chickenless nuggets from Whole Foods — but we’re here to warn you against that.
Chicken nuggets aren’t exactly known for being gourmet food, but these chickenless nuggets are even worse than the real thing. Considering the texture of the nugget, there’s no way you would ever mistake these for real chicken. But that’s not the problem. Rather, they just don’t taste good at all. They’re super bland, basically just leaving you with an unsatisfying, squishy texture in your mouth.
If you’re trying to eat less meat, you may want to look into other whole food protein options, such as beans, legumes, nuts, and tofu. Not only will they be better for you, but they’re almost guaranteed to taste better than these chickenless nuggets.
Best: Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets
Some of us don’t eat at all between meals. But for others, snacking is an absolutely essential part of the day. If you fit into the latter category, there’s a good chance that you’re always on the hunt for the tastiest snacks. Well, your search ends here, because we’ve found what may just be the most delicious snack of all time: the peanut butter pretzel nuggets from 365. They’re the perfect mix of salty and creamy, and they’re crunchier than we would have expected from a peanut butter filled pretzel.
Just be warned: When you start eating these things, it’s not going to be easy to stop. They just that addictive. One Amazon reviewer said, "Disappeared so quickly in my house that I didn’t even get to try them! Must have been good, my sons and husband ate them all up!" If you don’t share a home with your family, you’ll have to be careful not to eat them all yourself at one sitting. Otherwise, though, we think that this is one of the best purchases you can make when you go to Whole Foods.
Worst: Veggie Straws
Here’s another one that might seem healthy at first glance. If something has "veggie" in the name, it must be good for you, right? Right? Well, we’ve got bad news because that’s not exactly what you’re going to get when you buy the veggie straws from the 365 brand. This is another unhealthy food that Eat This, Not That! has written about. Despite their colorful appearance that’s apparently supposed to make you think of vegetables, the article states that these things are "basically chips." They don’t even have a ton of veggies in them, and it’s not like you’re getting a lot of fiber.
And since these veggie straws aren’t as good as normal potato chips, you’re definitely getting the short end of the stick. The flavor is really bland, and they’re not as salty as other chips. Even though that might be slightly better for your health, it really detracts from the taste factor. You may feel like you’re being healthier, but just go for the bag of Lays next time. They’ll taste better, and at least you can be honest with yourself about what you’re eating. Just skip the veggie straws in the future when you’re shopping at Whole Foods — there are so many other great products to try.
Best: Crunchy Almond Butter
Of course, peanut butter is a classic and an absolute pantry staple. But it often overshadows its younger, more expensive, and tastier cousin, almond butter. Don’t worry, though: You can find some of the best almond butter around at Whole Foods. This stuff is as crunchy as it can be, which can sometimes be difficult to find when it comes to almond butter (as opposed to peanut). Even though it’s crunchy, though, it still has an amazing, creamy texture to it. It spreads super easily, but the fat doesn’t separate from the nuts too much.
Your first thought may be to put this almond butter in a sandwich with some jam or jelly, and that’s a great option. It really elevates your classic PB&J to a whole new level and makes it into a special sandwich you can eat any day of the week. But that’s not all you can do with this versatile nut butter. We love adding some of this stuff to a hot bowl of oatmeal or cooking with it in place of peanut butter. It’s also great in baked goods, and it even tastes good on its own (we won’t judge you if you eat it with a spoon). Give it a try the next time you can get your hands on some.
Worst: Organic Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Listen, we know that there are some people out there who absolutely love ranch dressing. We don’t want to start a fight here, but we just can’t get behind this aggressively creamy condiment. Who ever thought of dipping their fresh vegetables in such a fever dream concoction of dairy products? It’s just not a good salad dressing option. But if you decide to ignore our pleas and buy ranch dressing anyway, just make sure you don’t get the organic buttermilk ranch dressing from the 365 brand.
This stuff doesn’t even taste like traditional ranch. Rather, it offers more of an off-kilter caesar dressing — but not in a good way. We think the consistency is too thin, which means it’s not great for dipping or adding to most salads. And while you may be able to use it as a condiment for other random foods, you’re better off just getting something else entirely.
Best: Organic Cracked Black Pepper Turkey Breast
Whether you need to make a quick dinner at home or you’re packing lunch for a day at the office, there’s nothing better than whipping up a tasty sandwich. Of course, you’re going to need good-quality bread, but after that, the second most important ingredient is your protein of choice. If you’re looking for something lean, on the healthier side, and completely delicious, then you have to pick up some 365 organic cracked black pepper turkey breast from Whole Foods.
We love that this stuff is cut thin but not too thin — just the perfect thickness for layering on the meat. But the flavor here is what really stands out. The cracked black pepper is surprisingly strong, and it lends a pleasant bite to the edges of the turkey slices. The turkey itself is perfectly salty, resulting in an ideal mixture of flavors. Get some of this stuff ASAP and make yourself a sandwich today.
Worst: Organic Wheat Waffles Cereal
Cereal may not be as in style as avocado toast or a sous vide egg bite for breakfast, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a standard option in your house. After all, cereal is quick and easy to throw together, and it’s something that will usually keep you full until lunch if you eat enough of it (and it’s not absolutely riddled with unnecessary amounts of sugar). However, that doesn’t mean you should just take any old cereal you can find. And one you’ll definitely want to avoid is the organic wheat waffles cereal from the 365 brand.
We hate to say it, but this cereal is just downright bad. It couldn’t have less flavor to it, and the texture is awful too. You may be tempted to think it’s healthy specifically because it doesn’t taste that good, but you’re really not doing yourself any favors with a box of this stuff.
One customer posted about their experience with this cereal on Amazon … and they weren’t happy. "Absolutely awful," they lamented. "No taste … turns to mush." Keep that in mind before you decide to buy some for yourself.
Best: Jalapeño Hot Sauce
Looking to add a little burst of flavor or spice to all of your favorite foods? You don’t need to look any further than the jalapeño hot sauce you’ll find under Whole Foods’ 365 brand. This isn’t your average hot sauce. While this stuff is pretty spicy, it’s definitely not overpowering; if you don’t handle spice well, you’ll probably be okay using this if you just add it to your food sparingly. However, if you love making everything you eat super spicy, then you can really pile this jalapeño sauce on.
Of course, we love that this condiment adds some heat to whatever we’re eating, but what’s even better is the overall flavor. See, this stuff isn’t like a lot of hot sauce that’s just spicy and has nothing more interesting going on. The ingredients list includes organic tomato puree, which is where we think the jalapeño hot sauce gets a hint of its sweetness from.
If you want to make pretty much everything you eat taste even better, then this hot sauce is for you.
Worst: Organic Vanilla Animal Cookies
Animal cookies aren’t exactly known as the most delicious baked goods out there. They’re okay at best, and oftentimes, they’re downright bad. The latter is definitely the case with the organic vanilla animal cookies you’ll find from 365’s brand — they are about as boring as they can be. They have just a touch of vanilla flavoring, and that’s it. Nothing else. There’s no frosting, no sprinkles, no anything — truly just a vanilla flavor. We wish there were something more interesting going on with these things, but they really left us hanging.
What’s worse is the fact that you can’t even tell what shape most of the cookies are supposed to be. You know they’re animals, of course, but it’s hard to decipher what’s what. Since that’s kind of the main point of animal cookies, we don’t really know why Whole Foods even decided to come out with this product. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, this is one that you can easily leave behind.
Best: Organic Riced Cauliflower
If you’re trying to cut back on how many carbs you eat in a single day, you’re not alone — this is something that a lot of people struggle with. That’s because it can be difficult to replace many of your carb-laden favorites. How are you supposed to make a rice dish without the rice? That’s where the organic riced cauliflower from 365 comes in. It easily replaces rice in a variety of dishes so you can have the same meals you love while cutting back on carbs. It’s been chopped super finely, giving it a great texture that you’ll come back to again and again.
Don’t assume that you can only use this stuff as a rice replacement, though, as you can also add it to a ton of other dishes. We love adding it to soups to bulk them up and make them a bit healthier. This riced cauliflower also finds its place in stir fries with other veggies.
Worst: Organic Cherry Fruit Strips
Trying to get more fruit into your diet? If so, just buy a piece of fruit, because these organic cherry fruit strips are not what you’re looking for. When you first take a bite of one of these fruit strips, you’ll really feel like you’re eating solid medicine — that’s the overwhelming flavor you experience with this snack. The cherry flavoring definitely doesn’t taste natural. And in fact, if you look at the ingredients, the first ingredient listed doesn’t have anything to do with cherries at all: It’s organic apple flakes. The first time cherries appear in the list of ingredients is after four other ingredients — and it’s just cherry concentrate.
While you may think this is a healthier snack alternative than a lot of other treats out there, you’re definitely better off just buying some fruit instead. If you’re going to eat something with 10 grams of sugar, you probably also want the health benefits (or the flavor), after all.