12 best and 12 worst foods to buy at Whole Foods

Some people buy absolutely everything at Whole Foods and some refuse to even step foot in the store, but there are many great buys at Whole Foods that are more than worth it. Believe it or not, there are still deals to be had that make the case for adding Whole Foods to your regular grocery store rotation. So what should you pick and what should you skip? Here's what you need to know.

Best: Organic milk

If you always purchase organic milk for your family (it's my go-to if I'm going to drink dairy milk), you'll find it for a comparably affordable price at Whole Foods. Surprised? Believe it. According to GOBankingRates, a gallon of Whole Foods' generic brand, 365, organic milk costs about 50 cents less than a gallon of organic milk at Safeway stores. Less than a dollar here and there may not sound like you're saving a ton, but over time it'll add up.

Best: Organic olive oil

Buying good-quality olive oil is a must, and while Whole Foods' organic olive oil might seem like an extravagance, as PureWow noted, it's a better way to go than just buying a bottle at your regular old neighborhood grocery store — even if you just stick with the Whole Foods brand. You have to be careful when purchasing olive oil, because your extra-virgin olive oil just might be a fraud, as CBS News reported. Purchasing one that's higher quality is so worth it.

Best: Organic balsamic vinegar

In an interview with GOBankingRates, grocery shopping expert and author of Shop Smart. Save More Teri Gault said that you should buy your organic balsamic vinegar — a basic vinaigrette essential — at Whole Foods. The chain's 365 brand is viscous and delicious, and costs about 25 percent less than its Newman's Own counterpart. Vinegar keeps, so it's worth stocking up on.

Best: Kite Hill almond milk yogurt

Kite Hill's almond-based alternative dairy products are relatively new to Whole Foods, but in the short time they've been on store shelves, they've attracted a loyal following. According to Thrillist, Kite Hill's almond milk yogurt is one of the best things to buy at Whole Foods. The almond milk yogurt is exclusive to Whole Foods (at least for now), so it's the only place you can go to get your fix.

Best: Non-dairy milk

Nowadays, lots of people don't drink dairy milk, for various reasons. If you aren't drinking milk, there are a ton of alternatives: hemp, pea, pecan, almond, soy, oat, coconut… the list goes on and on. In an interview with GOBankingRates, Gault said that when those non-dairy milks go on sale at Whole Foods, you can save a ton of money. Even when they're not on sale, some versions are cheaper than comparable cartons at other stores. Either way, it's a win for your wallet and your taste buds.

Best: Frozen fruit and vegetables

Frozen fruit and veggies — especially fruit — can be super expensive, which is difficult for anyone with a morning smoothie habit. While you might think they're priced exorbitantly at Whole Foods, that's actually not the case. According to The Kitchn, the 365 organic varieties cost between $3 and $5, which is pretty much a steal, especially for something that'll keep for awhile — unless you whir it all into smoothies first.

Best: Almond butter

Almond butter is notoriously pricey, but it's a great alternative to peanut butter. According to GOBankingRates, however, it's cheaper to buy your fancy almond butter at Whole Foods than it is at other grocery stores. If you're trying to save money, all-natural nut butters are a good place to scrimp and save wherever you can because they can add up fast. Don't let them bust your budget.

Best: Good Soap

According to a BuzzFeed reader, if you're shopping at Whole Foods, you absolutely have to pick up a bar (or as many bars as you can find) of Whole Foods-exclusive Good Soap. It gets nice and sudsy and lasts a good long while. For $2 a piece, you'll be able to stretch your dollar farther. There are a ton of different scents from which to choose, and they even have a vegan line with a coconut oil base, so you're sure to find something that'll please everyone.

Best: Organic chicken broth

If you're not going to make your own chicken stock at home (it's not as hard as you think!), buying the organic chicken broth you need to make soups, stews, sauces, and more is more affordable at Whole Foods than it is at many other stores. According to GOBankingRates, the 365 brand organic chicken broth sold at Whole Foods is about 30 cents cheaper than it's counterpart sold at Walmart. That's right, Whole Foods' price on organic chicken broth is cheaper than Walmart's.

Best: Pastured eggs

If you've ever cracked open an egg to see a deeper-hued orange yolk, then you've seen a pastured egg. They're that color because of the hen's diet, eating out in the pasture. Pastured eggs are usually more expensive than other kinds of eggs and they're often difficult to find. According to POPSUGAR, the added nutritional boost and smooth, creamy flavor makes them a must-purchase when you're at Whole Foods.

Best: Dairy-free cashew yogurt

Dairy-free cashew yogurt is delicious and tastes pretty similar to regular dairy yogurt. According to Thrillist, it's one of the best things you can buy at Whole Foods. Jason Stein, a senior grocery buyer for Whole Foods, told Thrillist that Forager's dairy-free cashew yogurt's texture is what sets it apart from other dairy-free alternatives — and I can confirm that it's just as thick and creamy as your favorite dairy version.

Best: Bulk spices

If you've never shopped the bulk spices section at Whole Foods, you're missing out big-time. According to PureWow, these spices are a total bargain. For starters, you can purchase as much or as little as you need and not have to worry about forking over the contents of your wallet for something you only need a tiny bit of. The other major plus to buying your spices this way is that since you're buying in smaller quantities, you'll always have fresh spices — and that means better flavor.

Worst: Fresh meat

If your family eats meat on a fairly regular basis, you should definitely buy it at another local grocery store instead of at Whole Foods. Meat there is more expensive than it is elsewhere, so if you're looking for ways to shed a few dollars off of your grocery budget, this isn't the place to shop. According to Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analyzed cost comparisons between Whole Foods and other grocery stores and found that meat at Whole Foods cost 40 percent more than at other, similar grocery stores in 2016, which is certainly steep, but still better than the year prior. In 2015, the upscale chain priced its meat 50 percent higher than its competitors. Yikes.

Worst: Deli meat

Buying deli meats at Whole Foods just doesn't make any sense, when you think about it. According to PureWow, although you'll spend way more on deli meat there than you will at other grocery stores, it's not a certainty that the meat you'll buy there is any healthier than deli meat that you can buy at other stores. Nearly all deli meat is highly-processed, so when it comes down to it, in many cases, you're better off making a selection based on the best possible options at local grocery store rather than heading to Whole Foods for it specifically.

Worst: Organic chicken

Many families who regularly eat meat eat quite a bit of chicken. If you're trying to save a bit of money at the grocery store, it's best to buy your organic chicken at other grocery stores instead of at Whole Foods. In an interview with GOBankingRates, Gault said that organic whole chickens are typically about 50 cents more per pound than at other grocery stores. That can add up to much bigger grocery store bills, which likely isn't what you're looking for.

Worst: Food from the hot bar

It can be tempting to pick up an easy lunch or dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar, but you might want to resist that temptation and choose something else. According to The Kitchn, food from the Whole Foods hot bar runs about $10 a pound, so it's not exactly affordable. Plus, though you can sometimes find healthy options there, nothing you buy is inherently healthier than a lunch you'd buy elsewhere. Pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, and the like all make regular appearances and though it can be easy to convince yourself that it's healthier just because it's from Whole Foods, that's really not the case.

Worst: Coffee

There are many places to buy great coffee, but many are more affordable than Whole Foods. According to PureWow, because you can find great coffee nearly anywhere, it just doesn't make much sense to go out of your way to buy it at Whole Foods. If you're looking for convenience, you'll find many good options to pick up while perusing the aisles at Whole Foods, but you'll pay a premium for that convenience.

Worst: The salad bar

While you might think that the salad bar is a great option, especially at a store like Whole Foods, if you're trying to save money, you should skip it. It's a convenience, like the hot bar, but so pricey that it's really just not worth it. According to The Cheat Sheet, it can cost you around $8 or $9 per pound, and that's far too much in order to just save yourself a tiny bit of time. Every once in a great while is manageable, but you probably don't want to make it a habit to swing by the salad bar on a daily basis.

Worst: Vitamins

When Refinery29 sent a writer to Whole Foods, tasked with spending $1,000 on the fewest ingredients possible, he learned that vitamins were a pretty big ticket item. According to Refinery29, the bottle of prenatal multi-vitamins costs about $60, while the bottle of regular women's multi-vitamins costs about $70. That is a ton of money to spend on vitamins and is definitely cost-prohibitive for most people. You're better off buying them somewhere else instead.

Worst: Nuts

It might seem like Whole Foods is the perfect place to buy nuts, which are a wholesome snack and full of lots of healthy fats, but it's definitely not if you're trying to save any money. When a Whole Foods worker who spoke on condition of anonymity provided Business Insider with some do's and don'ts of shopping at Whole Foods, nuts were on her list of 'don'ts'. According to the worker, nuts are significantly more per pound at Whole Foods than they are at other grocery stores — so much so, that it's just not worth buying them there.

Worst: Dried wild blueberries

The Refinery29 writer was floored the by expense of dried wild blueberries while shopping at Whole Foods, too. The dried and sweetened wild blueberries cost about $32 a pound in the bulk foods section. The bulk foods section might seem like a place to score great deals, but it can also be a place with exorbitant costs on items that you could find priced more reasonably elsewhere.

Worst: Gluten-free foods

Whole Foods carries a huge selection of gluten-free items (perhaps not surprisingly), but they can cost more than the same kinds of gluten-free items at other stores. In an interview with GOBanking Rates, Gault said that some gluten-free products available at Whole Foods can be priced between 10 and 30 percent more than those same products at other stores, like Target. You're better off shopping for your gluten-free foods elsewhere.

Worst: Goji berries

Goji berries are pricey no matter where you buy them, so you want to save a little money if you can. They're especially expensive at Whole Foods. According to Refinery29, on the day they sent their writer to spend $1,000 there, bulk buy goji berries cost about $35 a pound. That's a whole lot of money to spend on dried fruits that are just going to garnish smoothie bowls or end up mixed into trail mix. You're better off buying them somewhere else.

Worst: Infused waters

Picking up a bottle of infused water at Whole Foods is probably fine if you're running in to grab a snack or quick meal and you're going to buy something to drink anyway, but you definitely don't want to make it a regular habit. Infusing your own water at home couldn't be easier, plus, as The Kitchn noted, you shouldn't waste your money. It's often expensive and just really not worth it. Infuse a pitcher at home by throwing fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs into water and refrigerate overnight. Or, infuse a bottle-full or a single class. It's quick, easy, and actually a great way to save money if you'd otherwise end up tossing that already-zested lemon in the trash anyway.