Today I’m here to share a whole bunch of foodie finds with you! Whole Foods in Arlington generously put together a bag of new to me goodies for me to sample.
Talk about the most exciting grocery store stop ever since I got to leave with a stash with my name on it! Whole Foods made sure to give me a combination of both products from their 365 value brand and other name brands they carry.
- Taza stone ground organic chocolate: I was psyched to see Taza in the bag because Tim and I toured the Taza factory back in the day and had a blast. Their chocolate is the real deal (none of this processed Hershey’s crap), and 70% dark is my preferred cacao level.
- Sweetriot’s kickin’ coconut: This bar was one of my favorite goodies of them all! Seriously you guys, this brand is life changing. Paradise in my mouth. The coconut flavor isn’t overbearing at all. I’m sure you can assume that I had a lot of trouble limiting myself to one serving at a time with this one!
- Whole Foods 365 brand dark chocolate with almonds: This one wasn’t bad, but it was definitely my least favorite of the three chocolate varieties I received. The texture seemed a little grainy to me!
Tim and I do really well with eating mainly organic produce now, but I never really stopped to consider drinking organic coffee. After sampling a couple of different Whole Foods 365 coffee flavors (organic breakfast blend city roast and organic colombian cup vienna roast), I’ve tried to buy organic k-cups more often so I can at least drink organic coffee at home. Drinking organic coffee all the time would be unrealistic, but I can taste the difference in quality! I liked the Vienna best since I prefer a medium roast. Coffee snobs out there, do you have any recommendations for me?
When it comes to granola bars, protein bars, energy bars, etc. I find myself very skeptical. I used to swear by certain bar brands, but the more educated I become about food and nutrition, I find the sugar content too high in unless I’m in a bind while traveling. Or hiking up a mountain? If I’m not making a homemade bar, I usually stick to Kind bars or Larabars because I trust in the ingredients.
Here’s the rundown on the brands I tried from Whole Foods though:
- Bobo’s Oat Bar: I think I was bias toward this one as my favorite of the three because this company is located in Boulder, one of the coolest places I have ever traveled to! I received the original flavor, and I couldn’t even tell that this bar was wheat free or vegan. The sugar content wasn’t out of control, and Bobo’s boasts being organic, having no artificial ingredients, and coming in gluten-free flavors as well.
- Bonk Breaker Bar: I wouldn’t go as far as to call this one the “world’s best energy bar” like their packaging claims, but the ingredients are all real, and all Bonk Breaker bars are gluten-free and dairy free. Fun fact: these are actually the official bar of the Ironman triathlon series and of USA Cycling! Obviously I liked the chocolate and peanut butter combo, but I’m not sure my workouts are intense enough to need an energy bar like this for my pre-workout fuel.
- ProBar: Finally, I also received a ProBar meal replacement bar (not pictured). I think I had a few bites of this one and then handed it over to Tim. I don’t like to use bars as meal replacements because eating full meals makes me happy. Why have a packaged bar when you can eat a delicious breakfast and savor each bite?
I was really excited to receive new oils because Tim and I don’t really experiment with that many oil varieties. We pretty much stick to extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil, so almond and pumpkin were certainly new to us.
- Whole Foods 365 brand almond oil: I had to research what to do with this one! I learned that it cooks at a high heat, improves vitamin E level, and actually has a lot of uses for at home skin and hair remedies! So far we’ve only used this for salad dressings, but I’d like to try it for under the eye circles or in other kitchen ways. Ideas?
- La Tourangelle toasted pumpkin seed oil: This is perfect for all you pumpkin lovers out there! We’ve mainly used this for salad dressings too, so I guess we still need to expand our oil horizons. Over the weekend I drizzled some of this on vanilla ice cream with pumpkin seeds for dessert though. I highly recommend it!
- Whole Foods 365 brand cashew butter: Yes, yes, yes! This definitely did not disappoint. In the nut butter world, I mainly stick to peanut butter and almond butter, but cashew butter was DELICIOUS. I enjoyed the variety for my pre-workout fuel of choice: cinnamon raisin Ezekial bread with nut butter and sliced bananas. It was also a great snack right from the jar!
- Whole Foods 365 brand vanilla whey protein powder: Protein powder is something that I still don’t feel comfortable with. I’ve used a regular whey kind from Trader Joe’s in the past, and I’ve used the vanilla from Whole Foods (unpictured) since I received it in my goodie bag. I’ve mixed it into smoothies and made energy balls and cookies with it, but I still don’t know enough from a nutritional standpoint about regular whey, whey isolate, and casein. I recently opened this question up on my F&F Facebook page and received a ton of comments and opinions!
- Ancient Harvest quinoa flour: I am embarrassed to admit I haven’t tried this yet! Does anyone have any recipes that call for quinoa flour you can recommend?
- Whole Foods 365 brand summit seeker trail mix: I loved that this trail mix wasn’t too salty. I’m a sucker for salt, so having an unsalted variety helped me keep my snacking in check. This is a trail mix that I can easily replicate making on my own!
Aside from all the above, Whole Foods was also generous enough to leave a $20 gift card in the bag. Tim and I put the money to good use for a sushi and seafood night on a Friday night in together.
I know sometimes Whole Foods gets a bad rap for being so expensive, but I think it’s just a matter of putting in a little effort. At work, we recently organized foodie field trips to another Whole Foods store so staff could learn tips for shopping at Whole Foods on a budget. During the tour, they talked a lot about the 365 value brand as well as how to navigate the weekly sales flyers. They also talked about their options for buying in bulk at 10% off or paying by weight as to not buy giant containers of things you only need a bit of. Finally, I always try to remind myself that even if I’m paying a little more for my groceries, I can trust in the quality of my food and I’m investing in my health. That’s worth it to me!
What is something at Whole Foods that you’ve always wanted to try? Have you guys tried any of these products before? What do you think? What are your tips for shopping on a budget at Whole Foods? Do you love or hate grocery shopping?
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, but Whole Foods Arlington provided all the products in this post at no charge in exchange for writing this review. As always, all opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links within this post.