A Healthy Food Guide to Costco
Anyone who says eating healthy and eating economically can’t go hand in hand hasn’t been to Costco lately. Although I haven’t historically been a big warehouse shopper, a recent spin through the Costco aisles left me pleasantly surprised with the abundance of wholesome offerings. While plenty of naysayers will argue about the politics of their produce or the downside of eschewing the small retailer, the fact is that Costco makes a lot of good food accessible and affordable to a lot of folks.
Indeed, the big box retailer is shaping up to be the number one seller of organic food in the country. Plus, they have a reputation for paying and treating their employees far better than the competition. As for the challenge of bulk buying, when you’re short on pantry space (hello me), find a likeminded friend and split your spoils in half.Overwhelmed at Costco? Here are 15 registered dietitian-approved (and delicious) options! Click To Tweet
With all that in mind, here are 15 ideas for filling your shopping cart at Costco. I’d love to hear your “best picks” as well, so please share in the comments section below.
HEALTHY FOOD GUIDE TO SHOPPING AT COSTCO
1. Nuts and Dried Fruits
A wide selection of everything from pistachios to medjool dates at affordable prices and much of it organic.
2. Pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax seeds
Seeds of every stripe, all at a significant discount over mainstream markets.
TIP: Store them in the freezer (nuts too) to extend the shelf life, particularly since the volumes are large.
3. Healthier Snack Foods
Quite a few tasty items that pass my sniff test for better snacking.
4. Fresh Produce
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, much of it organic. Large avocados go for about $5 a bag, which is hard to beat. While not organic, avocados are at the top of the Clean 15 list, which means minimal pesticide residues.
5. Frozen Fruit
A freezer section with much in the way of fruit, particularly organic fruit, a household staple for making smoothies and other frozen treats. The prices are significantly lower than Whole Foods and other markets.
Check out the frozen fruit section at Costco -- there are some great options! Plus, more tips. Click To Tweet
6. Quality Bread
Dave’s Killer Bread, a top choice for whole grain sliced bread, along with a section devoted to local loaves, in my case, Acme bread.
7. Whole Grains
The selection wasn’t huge, but Bob’s Red Mill and True Roots are two quality brands.
8. Nut Butters
No shortage of options for nut butters, including Brad’s Organic Almond Butter, which has a bit of a cult following as I understand it.
9. Specialty Beverages
Both Forager nut milks and Harmless Harvest coconut water are household favorites that I rarely buy because of the hefty price tag. Costco sells them at a deep discount.
10. Canned Fish
Canned wild sardines and wild salmon are two of the most convenient and affordable sources of healthful Omega-3 rich fish available. Wild Planet is a quality product.
11. Olive Oil
Many brands of olive oil have come under fire for false advertising, labeling their products “extra-virgin” when indeed they are not. The Costco organic olive oil, however, was found to be the genuine article according to testing done at UC Davis.
12. Dairy Aisle Favorites
Name brand yogurts, including Fage, Noosa, and Chobani were among the offerings, as well as Bellweather Farm’s DELICIOUS creme fraiche.
13. Good Cheese
Over the holidays, I noticed Epoisses on the shelves at Costco, a delicious, stinky, and expensive French cheese. During this recent visit, I discovered a number of everyday favorites in stock including Point Reyes Blue, Kerrygold, Cabot, and Tillamook.
14. Meat and Fish
Organic beef and chicken and wild salmon, were among the offerings in the butcher section of the store.
15. Pure Maple Syrup
Organic maple syrup with a more reasonable price tag than the norm and also one of the better ways to sweeten things up on the home front.
What?!!!With a shopping cart of healthy, whole foods, perhaps there’s some wiggle room for something along these lines, no?
If you like this post, you might appreciate this one about my Best Picks at Trader Joe’s. Or check out my tips on top healthy convenience foods.