Fill your Costco cart with healthy foods in bulk.
Costco is truly one of a kind. Where else can you buy fresh groceries, bulk toilet paper, a new TV and a set of tires for your car at the same time? Amid the giant muffins, 3-pound tubs of chocolate-covered raisins and $1.50 hot dog-and-soda combo, you can find some healthy food gems that you can buy in bulk.
I try to make a monthly visit to my local Costco because it has some better deals on healthy food and snack items than my local supermarket. Plus, my Costco haul tends to last me longer and I don't have to replenish my food supply as frequently. In a time of rising prices and supply chain issues, that's crucial.
If you want to start your new year with some healthy options at Costco but don't know where to start, I've gathered some of my favorite healthy food suggestions below. Add these healthy selections to your shopping list the next time you stop by your local Costco. Please keep in mind, some items may vary based upon your location and availability.
If you're lactose intolerant or have dairy sensitivities, Costco offers plenty of dairy-free options that are shelf-stable. I pick up a six-pack of Costco's unsweetened almond milk every other month, and like using it as a base for my daily protein shake or smoothie. The neutral vanilla taste blends well with most bases without being overpowering.
If you're allergic to nut-based milk, another great dairy-free option is Costco's six-pack of oat milk. The flavoring is a little on the sweeter side, and if you're watching your sugar intake, it's important to read the nutritional label because this version does contain sugar -- and there isn't an unsweetened variety available yet. Also, I noticed that after a few uses the spout on the box seems to fall off due to the moisture, which is something to consider when buying a box.
One of my favorite things to buy from Costco is its almond butter. For a 27-ounce jar at $9, it lasts me for months and is fairly priced, especially compared with the smaller jars at local grocery stores that are often sold for much more.
Buying your favorite healthy grains in bulk is a good way to stay well stocked if you eat them on a regular basis. Costco sells white, brown, jasmine and basmati rice in various bags and sizes. Depending on your location, I've found that the larger rice bags can last me a few months or so depending on how often I'm cooking it.
If you've been trying to up your protein intake or are trying to meet your daily quota, it's helpful to have proteins readily available at home. Costco sells various animal proteins such as chicken breast, ground meat and various meat cuts, which are great options to buy and freeze for later. Prices will vary per pound. I buy a large pack of chicken breasts and divide it into separate zip-close bags, which I freeze and defrost each week when I do meal prep.
The store also sells cartons of two dozen eggs in its refrigerated aisle, which are a good option as long as your family eats or cooks with eggs regularly. Eggs are a good source of protein that are filled with B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc and other nutrients necessary for your health.
Costco also offers a pack of liquid egg whites that come in six 16-ounce cartons. The egg whites are a good buy if you like using them for omelettes, smoothies or want an easy way to sneak protein into your diet. The only downside to the egg whites is that the cartons take up a fair amount of space, so you have to consider whether your fridge is big enough to hold all of them.
Certain cooking oils have qualities that can provide health benefits to you and your family. For example, studies have found that olive oil is known to be high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Costco carries various types of oils in liter or quart bottles. I usually buy its 2-liter EVOO bottle, which can easily last me several months at a time.
Buying frozen fruit in bulk is a good way to keep costs down, enjoy produce that's out of season and still get your daily servings in. In fact, frozen produce is high in nutritional content because the items are frozen at their peak. Costco sells various frozen fruits in 4- or 5.5-pound bags, as well as açai smoothie packs. I pick up a bag of its frozen pineapple or mango when the fruits are out of season, and they even add a better texture to my smoothies.
Costco's frozen aisle offers frozen vegetables that you can buy in bulk, including asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other vegetable medleys. There are also stir-fry mixes if you want a shortcut for your weekday dinners.
If you like getting your B vitamins through nuts, Costco sells various store-brand nuts (salted and unsalted) in 2.5-pound bags and variety packs. You've probably noticed how a small container of nuts can be pricey in local supermarkets -- but not at Costco. The store also carries common brands such as Planters and Wonderful Pistachios.
Costco sells a variety of fresh produce in large enough quantities to keep you well-stocked. There are selections of everything from berries, grapes and oranges to broccoli, salad kits, onions and potatoes. It's the ideal place to purchase produce in bulk if you're trying to feed a family of four or are trying to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. I try to keep bags of mixed greens or spinach on hand because I find it's an easy way to add greens to my diet without a lot of prep work. Since I buy these items often, I find they're worth getting from Costco because their packaging has more servings and they can last me well over two weeks without spoiling.