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Best Choice Food Shelf
Best Choice Food Shelf

Welcome to The Best Choice Blog™, where your peers will evaluate our brands.

We have asked real Moms to try our products and share their thoughts with you about the quality of our brands. At times we will even ask them to compare our items to the National Brand leaders, in order to see how they stack up. Now you don't have to take our word for it, you can trust theirs!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: AWG provides The Best Choice Blog™ bloggers with free products for the bloggers to review.

WEEK 148: BEST CHOICE® FAJITA SEASONING MIX

My family loves simple dinners. I love a good casserole, but, when we’re trying to be healthier or lose a few pounds, I stick with meat and veggies. Fajitas are an easy solution when I’m in need of a fun but healthy dinner. I grab a cut of steak or some chicken, slice it, and cook it through in the skillet. Add a sliced onion and some sliced bell peppers (in different colors to keep things interesting) and dinner’s just about done.

While I don’t always use a fajita seasoning packet, I do love how it kicks the flavor up. Lawry’s fajita seasoning mix sells for $1.29, while Best Choice seasoning mix sells for $0.88. I love the ease of having all the seasoning I need already mixed up in one handy packet, but anything over $1.00 just seems like too much to pay for that time saver. Flavor-wise, my family and I thought both packets yielded the same result: an awesome, healthy dinner.

I would definitely buy Best Choice fajita seasoning packets again. Like Lawry’s, it made dinner a bit more special. Since I served my fajita mix over rice, I also really enjoyed the bit of sauce the seasoning mix made. The kiddos love rice and it makes fajitas easier for them to eat.-Jess

WEEK 147: CLEARLY ORGANIC® BROWN LONG GRAIN RICE

I have a confession to make before I even try this product. I freaked out when I didn’t see the word ‘instant’ on the package. I’ve never made rice that wasn’t of the instant variety. I might screw this up before I even start.

It worked out that I needed a rice side dish to go with my pork chops. I’ve always associated the term organic as being more expensive and more difficult to cook. After reading the instructions, it looked easy enough, but it would take more time than the instant variety. So I mixed the scoop of rice, with 2 cups of water and set it to boil. Then it would set on low for 45 minutes. Not too much work at all!

I served it with my pork chop dinner and my family loved it. My husband really like the taste, and my daughter thought it was like the normal instant rice I served. This actually worked out really well and I will make it again. It was easy enough to make, and I have a bag that I can reseal full of rice. I just need to remember that putting a little extra time intosomething can bring about great results in this world of instant products!-Karess

WEEK 146: BEST CHOICE® BABY WIPES

I am on my second kiddo, but I am still picky about baby wipes. However, with baby still in diapers, it’s a given I’ll be buying diapers and wipes almost every week. My kiddos have both had somewhat sensitive bottoms, so, when I found I would be testing Best Choice baby wipes, the first thing I did was check the ingredient label. Like Huggies, Best Choice wipes are alcohol-free. The Best Choice wipes also noted they contained Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.

The Huggies wipe hide a slightly fresh scent, while the Best Choice wipes seemed to be unscented. Whatever smell might have been there simply reminded me of babies and diapering supplies.

Best Choice seemed to be the softer of the two wipes—it didn’t feel weak when used on the kiddo and did the job. The Huggies wipes seemed soft enough, but were easy to pull apart. In fact, I tore the first wipe simply pulling it from the dispenser. Both wipes did the job they were made to do, but the Best Choice wipes seemed to glide across baby’s skin better. There was less resistance/friction/pulling as I wiped, which made me feel like the Best Choice wipes might be less likely to irritate baby’s skin.

The final bit I noticed was that the Huggies wipes were connected like paper towels, while the Best Choice wipes were packaged more like facial tissues. Both worked well with regard to getting the next wipe out and in place so I didn’t have to open the container to position it. I was more likely to get extra wipes or use an extra hand to tear a wipe free with the Huggies wipes. I imagine it may be difficult to grab Best Choice wipes from the dispenser when I get toward the end of the container.

Huggies baby wipes retail for $2.58, while Best Choice wipes retail for $2.37. While not exactly the same, they both did the job for which they were intended and I liked that the Best Choice wipes seemed softer. After using the Best Choice wipes, I’d have no problem buying them for baby in the future. They proved both soft and gentle in addition to being less expensive.-Jess

WEEK 145: BEST CHOICE® BABY POWDER

One of my favorite things about new babies is that wonderful new baby smell. While I’ve never used baby powder on my kiddos, I still associate the smell of it with babies. When comparing Johnson’s baby powder to Best Choice baby powder this week, the smell was the first thing I noticed. I found the scent of Best Choice to be more like what I remembered of that new baby smell and actually preferred its scent to Johnson’s! Both powders went on easy and seemed silky soft. Johnson’s baby powder retails for $3.17 while Best Choice baby powder retails for $1.74. I am more than happy to take the savings and buy Best Choice in the future. Though my baby is almost too old to need baby powder now, I love to keep it around for trips to the beach and after sandbox play. I like to sprinkle it on sandy legs and feet—the baby powder soaks up the moisture and makes it easy to brush the sand away. Using the baby powder also leaves my kiddos’ limbs feeling silky smooth after playing in the sand. It’s great to keep around for kids of all ages! -Jess

WEEK 144: BEST CHOICE® PEDIATRIC ELECTROLYTE DRINK

I have been lucky as a mom to never need a pediatric electrolyte drink for my kids (knock on wood). While my daughter had frequent ear infections during her first year, neither of my kids has ever come downwith the flu. However, I imagine if they had, the doctor would have steered me toward an electrolyte drink.

Best Choice makes a pediatric electrolyte drink similar to Pedialyte. As soon as it arrived, my healthy two-year-old was begging to try it. We sat down to taste test both Pedialyte and the Best Choice version in the grape flavor together. The Pedialyte had a cap specially designed to help open the drink, though I did not find the Best Choice drink with its run of the mill cap difficult to open. I was not a fan of the grape flavor of either drink—they reminded me of toned down versions of the cough syrup I used to hate as a child. However, both drinks tasted exactly the same to me. The kiddo, not yet familiar with grape-flavored cough syrup, seemed to like the flavor of both.

The active ingredients in the Best Choice pediatric electrolyte drink are exactly the same and present in the same amounts as Pedialyte, suggesting both drinks would have the same effects on a sick kiddo. The flavor (the only thing I can think of that might differentiate the two drinks) is spot-on. Pedialyte retails for $4.84 while Best Choice retails for $2.55. At over $2.00 in savings, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy Best Choice should the need for pediatric electrolyte drink arise. -Jess

WEEK 143: BEST CHOICE® PASTA SAUCE

We go through a lot of pasta sauce at my house. My daughter loves spaghetti dinners. I use if for the base when we make pizza, or other casserole dishes. For this taste test, we decided to use the two different sauces as a dipping sauce for toasted ravioli.

Sauce number one is the Best Choice Pasta Sauce, for $1.48. The second sauce is Ragu Pasta Sauce, which you will find on store shelves for $1.67. Not a big difference in price. When you open the two jars though, you smell a huge difference right away. Both sauces were a tomato, onion and garlic flavor. You could immediately smell the onion and garlic from the Best Choice brand! My husband and I both were standing in the kitchen when I opened them and both thought the same thing. The Best Choice looked thick and chunky as well.

We each took a spoonful of both, and agreed we liked the Best Choice better. It was very flavorful. My daughter tried both but she went for the Ragu. When we asked her why, she said she liked the Ragu better because it was thin and runny. So what was the big positive for us, was a negative for her. She’s only six, and I guess has a preference for runny sauce.

We put a small bowl together of both sauces to dip our toasted ravioli in for a snack. My husband and I stood by our initial vote towards the Best Choice brand. It was far superior tasting to the Ragu. We talked about it, and he was really surprised to find that there was such a huge difference between the two. You could not only see and smell the difference, but the taste was amazing. The winner here is the Best Choice Pasta Sauce! -KC

WEEK 142: BEST CHOICE® TOASTER PASTRIES

There are some things that I always buy name brand. Pop Tarts is a huge one for us. We buy these whenever they are on sale. They are not just for breakfast in my house. They are a great and easy snack after school. My husband eats them during his break at work. We got through a lot. There are always at least 3 boxes in the pantry at all times.

I’ve always bought Pop Tarts because we tried a store brand that my family didn’t like. So when tasked with comparing Kellogg’s Pop Tarts against Best Choice Toaster Pastries, I was sure I knew the results beforehand.

My first taste test was on my six year old daughter. I opened a packet of each and there was an immediate difference in appearance. The Best Choice brand just looked tastier.( But I knew it wouldn’t be, I mean we go through a LOT of Pop Tarts!) Rhiannon tried one of each and immediately told me one had more chocolate taste then the other. In fact she didn’t even want to finish the other one. To my surprise, she had chosen the Best Choice Toaster Pastry. I was shocked, but chalked it up to her being six and not really in the know as to what is best.

Then I moved on to my husband, a huge Pop Tart fan. I gave him one of each as well, and he told me right away which one was his preference. He also chose the Best Choice Toaster Pastry. I asked him what exactly made it better, and he said it had more chocolate taste. Then I told him he did NOT chose the Pop Tarts. He didn’t believe me. I’m not kidding! He was so convinced I was pulling one over on him, that he went to the boxes and opened a new packet from each box. Now he was the one shocked!

 

So as the main shopper in my house, I moved to price. Kellogg’s Pop Tarts are $1.98 a box, and Best Choice Toaster Pastries are $1.48. If my family would have preferred the Pop Tarts, I would have continued buying them no matter the price difference. But they didn’t. They both went with the more cost effective brand. Who am I to argue? -KC

WEEK 93: BEST CHOICE® NO BAKE CHEESECAKE

I have had a special place in my heart for no-bake cheesecake ever since fifth grade when a friend brought personal-size cheesecakes to school as a birthday treat. She made them in a muffin pan and even went to the trouble of putting little spoonfuls of cherry topping on each one. They were not only cute, but delicious as well. When I found out I’d be reviewing no-bake cheesecake this week, I knew right away that I wanted to make mini cheesecakes.

Both the Jello and Best Choice no-bake cheesecake mixes had the same preparation instructions. The Best Choice no-bake cheesecake specified that 2% milk should be used in the cheesecake portion of the mix and called for the crust to be made with 1/3 TBS more butter and 1 TBS more sugar. I mixed up the crusts first and dished the mixture into 24 lined muffin tins. Thankfully, I had a cup on hand that fit into the tins perfectly, so I used that to push the graham cracker crust firmly into each tin. It was much easier than trying to get an even, solid crust using a spoon or my fingers. For the cheesecake portion, I simply beat the filling mix packet with milk for 3 minutes, then added a dollop to each tin. The Jello mix seemed to get firmer faster and was slightly more difficult to spread in the small tins. I put all of my mini cheesecakes in the refrigerator to firm up overnight (though the instructions say you only need to allow an hour for the cheesecake to set).

The next morning, I pulled out a Jello cheesecake and a Best Choice cheesecake for myself. Then I sent the rest to work with my husband. I can’t be trusted around sweets—especially when I’m pregnant! I noticed the Jello cheesecakes were more white in color while the Best Choice cheesecakes were slightly yellow. The Jello cheesecake also seemed firmer, yet had an airy, creamy feel to it when I ate it. The Best Choice cheesecake was slightly less creamy. After lunch, the report came back from my husband that his co-workers also seemed to have a preference for the cheesecakes in the pink wrappers (I used pink on the Jello brand cheesecakes). I personally was not sure the taste and texture difference was great enough to be noticeable, but my findings were confirmed in this report. At the end of the day, though, there weren’t any mini cheesecakes left—nobody disliked the Best Choice cheesecakes. There simply was a slight preference for the Jello brand cheesecakes.

The Best Choice no-bake cheesecake was $2.79 per box, while the Jell-O no-bake cheesecake was $2.89 per box. For the dime, I’d go with the Jello no-bake cheesecake. The texture was slightly better and the color was slightly more appetizing.– Jess

WEEK 92: BEST CHOICE® CREAMY WHEELS

I’m a huge fan of Oreo cookies. I grew up with them. There is usually a pack of Oreos hidden somewhere in my house at all times. I still sing the Oreo jingle when we munch on them! So it was really a no brainer for the family to sit down and compare my Nabisco Oreos, with the Best Choice Creamy Wheels. In my mind, I thought it would be a landslide for my Oreos. Nobody messes with Oreo!

We all sat at the table with 2 Oreos, and 2 Creamy Wheels. They were the same size and shape, with the same amount of filling inside. The only distinction is that famous Oreo imprint on the Oreo cookies. The packaging was something I noticed right away. Oreos have a package that you can easily reseal. Not the case with the Best Choice brand. My husband laughed when I brought this up, as he pointed out that cookies never last long enough in our house to worry about resealing a package! Good point.

Now the taste test. My husband and daughter are dunkers—they like to dunk cookies in milk. But for this taste test, I want just straight cookie tasting with no dunking! We tried the cookies and my husband immediately said ‘they taste exactly the same!’ And he was right! I thought I would know the difference between the two, but I couldn’t tell, without looking for the Oreo imprint on the cookie. My six year old just kept shoveling them in her mouth, excited at the unique homework assignment I gave her.

If I can’t taste the difference, why am I paying for the difference? Best Choice Creamy Wheels are only $2.79! I’ve been paying $3.49 for the Nabisco Oreo Cookies! Is a resealed package worth a difference of $.70 cents? Not for me!– KC

WEEK 91: BEST CHOICE® INSTANT STRAWBERRIESAND CREAM OATMEAL

My kids aren’t into instant oatmeal yet, or any cereal which requires a spoon for that matter, so this taste test landed on my husband and me. We were comparing the Best Choice Instant Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal to the Quaker Instant Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal. We were excited to have a warm, quick, and healthy breakfast option during the snow storm that was happening outside.

Before I even opened the boxes, I noticed that Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal is almost one dollar more than Best Choice’s Instant Oatmeal. That’s a big deal in my eyes, as a dollar can buy two containers of yogurt, two pounds of bananas, or several other items on my weekly grocery list. I also considered the ingredients listed on the package. The Best Choice ingredients matched that of Quaker’s to a “t”. The preparation directions on the package were incredibly similar, as well.

Once the packages were emptied out, I knew which was which, but my husband did not. I immediately noticed the size of the fruit pieces in the Best Choice option were larger and more plentiful. We like to mix our instant oatmeal with milk, instead of water and both options mixed well. Both were ready to eat in one to two minutes and the consistency was very comparable. We both tasted each option and felt that each had similar flavor, as well.

The flavor, consistency, ingredients, and prep time all mirrored that of the Quaker brand, yet the Best Choice option is almost one dollar cheaper. In the end, I determined that the Best Choice Instant Oatmeal would be yet another Best Choice product that would end up in my pantry! – Allison