10 Healthy Foods to Stock Up on at Costco
If you want to eat better, Costco can be a great place to shop. Here are some of our favorite healthy food finds to scoop up on your next run.
I love shopping at Costco (although I know it can give some people anxiety, my husband included). They have great deals on lots of foods I buy regularly, and even though there’s four people in my household—I’ve found there’s plenty of options for smaller families and bigger groups too. And while yes, you can buy giant boxes of chocolate and pies bigger than your head at Costco there are so many amazing healthy options too. It was actually really hard to narrow down this list to just 10. They have great deals on meat, cheese, seafood, frozen vegetables, whole-grain bread, fruits, vegetables—I could go on. But, if you’re feeling ready to start the new year with some healthy food stocked at home, these are my items to get at Costco.
1. Mini peppers
Mini bell peppers are great for snacking (with hummus or guacamole) and their mini size helps win over kids or anyone who’s slightly veggie-adverse in your household. They can be a little bit more expensive than regular peppers, but Cotsco carries a large bag for an affordable price. Peppers also last longer than other more delicate produce, but if you can’t make it through your bag by snacking or adding to chili, fajitas and stir-fries, chop them up and freeze them. Bell peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, a key nutrient for your immune system.
All fruits are a great deal at Costco, so you really can’t go wrong getting fresh fruit the next time you go. They have great deals on berries, mangos, grapes and avocados (which is technically a fruit). But the reason I love their clementines is because everyone in my house is a fan. They’re perfect for lunchboxes, on-the-go snacks or on the side of your morning eggs and toast. Clementines are also rich in vitamin C, so they’re great for your immune system, and last a long time in your fridge.
3. Peanut butter
Nut butters, like peanut butter and almond butter, are a great way to add protein to your breakfast or snack. You can top toast, add a scoop to overnight oatmeal, spoon some into your smoothie or make your own energy balls or granola bars at home. I choose peanut butter with just peanuts and salt as the ingredient for the rich, peanutty taste—but also because they don’t have added sugars or saturated fats. Costco carries natural peanut butter and almond butter and their prices can’t be beat.
4. Greek yogurt
For another protein-rich option, choose Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt, and protein helps fill you up (it’s also key for your muscles, hormones and immune system). Depending on where you live, you might see different varieties of Greek yogurt at your Costco but most carry a few options. Choose plain yogurt to avoid added sugars, and add your own flavor with fruit (fresh or frozen) and a little bit of sweetener if you want to balance out the tartness.
5. Frozen berries
Make room in your freezer for a giant bag of frozen berries. Berries are out of season in winter, so it’s a great time to buy frozen. You’ll save money and won’t let any giant cartons of berries go to waste. Besides smoothies, I love frozen berries in yogurt bowls and oatmeal. They’re great for some baking recipes and pancakes too. Berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber and they are a delicious way to make sure you’re eating fruit every day.
This chickpea based dip is a steal at Costco—you can buy a giant tub for a smidge more than the price of a regular container at your grocery store. Hummus is made with chickpeas, so it does have some plant-based protein and fiber. The dip is a great way to add flavor and creaminess to sandwiches and wraps and is a prime partner for snacks, like whole-grain crackers or veggies.
Another Costco snack I can’t get enough of is almonds—although their pistachios, peanuts and cashews are all great options too. Nuts are a healthy snack because they give you a satisfying trifecta of healthy fats, protein and fiber. They help keep you full and they’re good for your heart. In addition to snacking on them by the handful, I love adding these to homemade granola or on top of oatmeal or salads for crunch. The one downside? They can be expensive, but the Costco bags are a great value. If you don’t eat a lot of nuts, store them in your freezer so they stay fresh longer and the oils don’t go rancid.
Costco sells a 5-lb bag of Quaker oats and we have no problem going through it in my house. Oatmeal delivers heart-healthy fiber and it’s very versatile. Between homemade granola, flourless muffins and hearty bowls of oatmeal for breakfast we can’t get enough of this whole grain.
Beans are a heart-healthy, plant-based protein option. We always have a variety of beans in the pantry for quick meals. Use them in salads, tacos, homemade veggie burgers, grain bowls—the list goes on and on. While beans are pretty cheap at the regular grocery store, Costco sells six-can packs of chickpeas and black beans for crazy low prices. If you have room in your pantry, I highly recommend grabbing some.
Leafy greens are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They’re packed with vitamins A, C and K and are a good source of fiber. Dark leafy greens, like spinach, are also good for your brain health, heart health and can help reduce your risk of cancer. Needless to say, we could probably all be getting more greens in our diet. Costco sells massive containers of organic spinach, for just over what you’d pay at the grocery store for a regular-sized container. If you’re wondering if you can eat it all before it goes bad, you can (with a little motivation). I like to use baby spinach for salads, but also add it to eggs, smoothies and soups. You can also freeze spinach, but I find that it cooks down so much, I have no trouble using up my Costco-sized container.
Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.