Dietitian-Approved Grocery Items You Should Be Buying at Costco
Costco is a great place to find organic and healthy foods for your family on a budget.
Photo: Getty Images/ SOPA Images
While Costco may be famous for 27-lb buckets of macaroni and cheese and super deals on food court pizza, it can also be a fantastic place to find healthy and organic options at a great price.
Our resident dietitian at EatingWell, Lisa Valente, R.D., says there are some pretty amazing deals on healthy food and beverages out there for Costco shoppers-you just need to be strategic about what you buy.
"Sometimes it doesn't make sense to buy in bulk-like getting a three-pound bag of broccoli if you're just one person," Valente said. "Depending on how many people you're feeding and how much space you have to store pantry goods, you can score all kinds of healthy foods at Costco."
With that in mind, we've found some of the best healthy non-perishable, fresh and frozen items to feed yourself or your whole family Here are some of Valente's top picks:
1. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
Kirkland Signature, Costco's private label, offers some fantastic deals on our favorite healthy foods and drinks, and this unsweetened almond milk is one of them. It costs just five cents an ounce, and is fortified with Vitamin D, E, and B vitamins for a nutrition boost. This is an especially great option for vegans, as one servings packs half the daily recommendation for B12.
2. Organic Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has been a sneaky contributor of trans fat for years, masquerading as partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list. Thankfully, more natural options have made their way to the market over the years, and we are loving this option from Costco's private label. This peanut butter is simply made with peanuts and a little sea salt for a healthy addition to meals or snack time.
3. Organic Dried Apricots
Dried fruit often gets a bad rap since many brands add sugar. Fortunately, Costco carries some great fruit-only options, like these dried apricots by Made in Nature. Not only is are they added sugar-free, but they are also a great source of potassium and a sneaky plant-based source of iron.
4. Old Fashioned Oatmeal
There's a reason why so many people choose oatmeal for breakfast-it's a great source of fiber, protein, and other important micronutrients, like magnesium. Thanks to Costco you can always have oats at your fingertips! They sell giant silos of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats for just six cents per ounce.
5. Organic Salad Greens
Costco sells a wide variety of organic produce, and we are loving their salad greens. Whether you prefer spinach, kale, or romaine, you can find an organic yet well-priced version of your favorite for salads, smoothies, and more. Now there's no excuse for leaving these highly-nutritious foods off the grocery list!
Now that fats are on America's good side again, we are all about consuming heart-healthy ones, like the monounsaturated fats found in nuts. The protein, fat, and fiber content of nuts make them the perfect healthy snack to keep in your desk at work or to boost the nutrient profile of your favorite baked goods. Costco carries roasted and raw varieties. Check the sodium if you're buying salted nuts. And store large packages in your freezer if you don't go through them quickly, to keep them fresher for longer.
7. Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is a great way to drink more water or finally kick that soda habit, but it can be pretty pricey. Costco sells some great all-natural, no-sugar-added options, such as this line from Perrier.
8. Natural Almond Butter
We love almond butter, but it can be pretty pricey, costing around $10 or more for a 16-ounce jar. This one-ingredient almond butter from Costco costs less and you get almost double the amount. Consider this a huge win for wallet and your tastebuds.
9. Avocado Oil
Not all cooking oils are created equal, and avocado is a relatively new addition to the market that boasts some pretty great health benefits. Besides being made from one of our favorite foods, it contains mostly mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which are good for our hearts. However, it can be pretty expensive, unless you buy it from a big-box store like Costco.
Related: What Is the Best Oil for Cooking?
10. Frozen Fruit
Frozen fruit is an amazing way to enjoy your favorite fruits in peak season year-round. You can enjoy delicious, juicy peaches in the middle of December thanks to most frozen fruits being picked at their peak and then flash-frozen to maintain flavor and freshness. Buying frozen produce is also almost always cheaper too! This Triple Berry Blend from Kirkland Signature is sure to be one of your new favorite smoothie additions.
The price of avocados are climbing-but not at Costco! You can still find Haas avocados at a reasonable price. We are big fans of this plant-based fat, as it is also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it more than just a deliciously creamy addition to a dish.
Hummus is an extremely versatile ingredient-a protein and fiber-packed spread for sandwiches, a creamy dairy substitute in pasta sauces, and is great on its own with some fresh veggies and whole wheat pita. Find hummus at Costco in big tubs or in pre-portioned snack packs for convenient and healthy noshing when that mid-day slump hits.
13. Olive Oil
Cooking with olive oil can be a worthwhile financial burden, as it's linked to longevity and improved heart health, but it doesn't have to be a burden at Costco. Their Kirkland Signature brand sells two-liter bottles of cold-pressed EVOO for just $16.99.
How to Shop at Costco Without a Membership