10 Best Weight-Loss Foods to Buy at Costco, According to a Dietitian
Buying in bulk and losing weight may seem contradictory but it's quite the contrary at Costco, where they don't only have bulk containers of chocolate peanut butter cups and giant bags of potato chips but also berries by the pound and vegetables galore. Aside from the produce section, though, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the packaged goods to find the best foods for weight loss. (Just want to eat a little better? See our top 10 healthy Costco food finds.)
That's why we've done it for you. These ten weight-loss foods will make it easier to put together nutrient rich meals that will help you lose weight without feeling like you're trying, and isn't that the whole point?
1. Chicken Mediterranean-Style Skewers
The answer to your lunch problems is here. These chicken skewers are convenient, healthy and delicious. They come pre-grilled, seasoned and refrigerated and you can heat them up in the microwave, grill or oven. Two skewers have 150 calories and pack 24 grams of protein. The body burns more calories digesting protein, compared to carbs and fat, plus protein helps keep you full for hours. Add two skewers to a salad, cut them up and put inside a quesadilla, or eat plain off the stick if that's your thing. The options are endless and the best part is you don't have to touch raw chicken.
2. Dave's Killer Bread
This is a favorite bread—for myself and for clients—because it's packed with protein and fiber, two of the most important nutrients for weight loss (that you won't find a lot of in white bread). Plus, it tastes good. Dave's 21 Whole Grain Bread has 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per slice, but you can also opt for the thin-sliced version which is only 80 calories but still has 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Have one or two slices in the morning toasted with avocado and eggs or spread with nut butter & top with fruit to start your day with fiber, protein and healthy fat.
3. Bagged Salad Kits
One of my clients lost 10 pounds in three months, basically living off of these bagged salad kits. When I told him to make half his plate vegetables at lunch and dinner, he wasn't sure how he was going to swing that. Enter these salad kits, which contain a mix of greens, like kale and cabbage, some toppings, like nuts and seeds, and a dressing. You get a lot of vegetables in one bag. They're an easy way to make half your plate vegetables, the recommendation for a balanced plate and sustainable weight loss. Add your own protein (like the chicken skewers above) and some healthy fat like nuts or avocado and you've got a well-balanced lunch or dinner. Optional: you can also add more veggies like cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumber or peppers for a fiber boost.
Walnuts make a simple snack or a delicious addition to salads or oatmeal. "Data published in the British Medical Journal in 2019 suggests that increasing daily intake of nuts (like walnuts) is associated with less weight gain," says Lauren Manaker M.S., RDN, LD, registered dietitian and author of Fueling Male Fertility. "I like to stock up on walnut halves and Siggi's yogurt (learn more about why we love Siggi's in our 10 Best Weight-Loss Snacks to Buy at Costco). Walnuts contain healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and fiber—three factors that help keep people fuller longer," Manaker says. (Learn more about the health benefits of walnuts.)
Don't leave Costco without adding tuna to your cart. Albacore tuna is a great protein source to stock up on because it's shelf-stable and can last longer than refrigerated meats. Costco sells a few different types that are sustainable and they also carry Safe Catch Tuna. "The Safe Catch Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and high-quality protein," says Manaker. "This brand tests every batch of their tuna for heavy metals so I don't have to worry about mercury," she says. You can also add it to the bagged salad kits mentioned above for a weight-loss lunch that takes less than five minutes to throw together. (Try your tuna in these healthy tuna recipes.)
6. Earthly Choice Cauliflower Rice
Don't get me wrong, you can eat white or brown rice and still lose weight, but they both have about 100 calories per ½ cup cooked, while cauliflower rice has only 25 calories per half cup. Swap rice for cauliflower rice to eat the same volume of the food you love, but with fewer calories and carbs, plus a bonus vegetable serving. Or do half rice, half cauliflower rice if you want to bulk it up. These microwavable pouches make it super easy, and they're low in sodium, which is a concern with many other microwavable grains. Add some colorful veggies for more nutrients and fiber, plus some protein to make it a meal. (Get inspired with these healthy cauliflower rice recipes.)
7. Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend
Frozen veggies are just as nutritious, if not more nutrient-dense, than fresh vegetables because they are picked at peak ripeness. Costco's Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend is a must-have freezer staple for those nights when you need a veggie at dinner but you're too tired to chop and roast. Add this blend to any one-pot dish, a pasta sauce, omelette, frittata or spice up your chicken fajitas, ground beef or tofu. I love making a peanut sauce and tossing with these veggies and tofu to feel like I'm eating take-out but with more fiber and nutrients to help me keep on track with weight-loss goals.
8. Kirkland Atlantic Salmon Frozen Fillets
"Not much is easier than thawing a piece of salmon and baking it for a healthy dinner that supports weight loss," says Manaker. Plus, "Each piece of fish is individually packaged for easy portioning." Salmon has more calories than white fish or chicken but that's because it has omega-3 fatty acids, the "good" type of fats that lower inflammation and keep cholesterol levels healthy. They also keep you full longer by suppressing ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Salmon is delicious with dill and anything creamy, so add a Greek-yogurt-based dip with some lemon, serve salmon with portobello mushrooms, or my favorite—whisk maple syrup and mustard to make Maple Mustard Salmon—the perfect sweet, salty combo. Just remember to add vegetables on the side!
9. Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
Swap your pre-sweetened instant oatmeal packets for a big ole' container of plain, old-fashioned oats. They've got one ingredient: oats. You can sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit (hello, get your berries from Costco too!) and up the protein and healthy fat by adding nuts or nut butter and seeds like chia or flax. If it isn't sweet enough for you, drizzle a little honey or maple syrup. "Eating oatmeal is an amazing way to start the day. Packed with fiber, enjoying a bowl of oats gives the body some staying power to feel satisfied throughout the morning. Plus, it contains B-vitamins that support weight loss as well," says Manaker.
Research shows there's an association between consuming yogurt and less weight gain, less body fat and a smaller waist circumference, while maintaining muscle mass, which is typically lost when people diet. I like to buy a big tub of plain Fage or Chobani 2-5% fat yogurt, which is incredibly creamy and can be used for either sweet or savory recipes. The higher fat option will not only taste better but will also keep you satisfied longer. Add fruit, a drizzle of honey and a little peanut butter to pack more nutrients, like fiber. You can have it as a post-workout snack when the next meal is still a couple of hours away, or as a quick and easy breakfast when craving something sweet but filling to start the day. (Get more healthy yogurt recipes and ideas.)