For years, I always heard people talking about this magical, yet mysterious place to me, called Costco. I lived 30 years of my life without stepping foot into one, and never felt that my quality of life was reduced for not having been there. Little did I know, I was in fact missing out (on both delicious free samples AND excellent deals). I was exactly 30.5 years old when I went to Costco for the first time. My first time was probably quite different from yours, however. It was the end of August last year and we ended up getting stuck inside the warehouse for over an hour due to a Tornado Warning. It was honestly quite scary because a tornado had actually touched down nearby and we were there with our then 11-month old baby. Some may say that Costco is a great place to be during a natural disaster due to all of the available foods and beverages, but all I could think about were the pallets coming down on us. As you can probably see, we survived, and I still love Costco and am never looking back. Here are some of my favorite products, in order of my love for them:
1. Organic Frozen Broccoli
You get 4 pounds for $5.99, need I say more? You know how at a typical grocery store you buy a bag of broccoli for $2 or so and you get home and it’s mostly broccoli stalks? Totally not the case here. These bags are loaded with florets that taste fabulous and in my opinion are a steal at this price.. Broccoli is my favorite frozen vegetable and I love having it in the freezer to heat up for an easy side dish or to throw into an omelette or stir fry. Frozen vegetables are loaded with nutrients too because they are frozen at their peak freshness.
2. Kerrygold Irish Butter
Margarine is so 2002. I’m pretty much obsessed with this grass-fed butter and have no plans to ever deny being a butter-loving dietitian. In my opinion the best place for adding in foods rich in saturated fat is in the context of nutrient dense foods like colorful vegetables or even potatoes to keep the glycemic load down.
3. Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
Once you try these you will know why they are number 3 on my list. They are seriously delicious and the main base is almonds, flax, and sunflower seeds! Mind = blown because you would never guess that. They are an excellent value at Costco at only $8.99 for two large bags (it would be about $4.99 for a small box at a standard grocery store). If you are eating gluten-free they fit the bill for that as well.
4.Sabatasso's Gluten-Free Frozen Pizza
You might not expect to see frozen pizza on a health blog, but there’s no shame in my frozen pizza game. While I do make most of my food from scratch, I don’t strive to eat perfectly 100% of the time and things like this definitely can fit into a balanced meal plan. I want to throw in a disclaimer that I don’t personally eat 100% gluten-free either, but I love this product. Many people I work with do have to eat gluten-free so I try to stay on top of products so that I can make recommendations that I know actually taste good.
5. Canned Wild-caught Salmon
Canned fish is great for keeping in the cupboard for easy back-up meals. Mix in some egg, seasonings, and bread crumbs or almond flour and fry up some salmon cakes for a tasty dinner.
Step over yogurt because fermented foods like Wildbrine sauerkraut and cabbage slaws are full of gut-friendly probiotics and are hot on the market right now. Start by trying to eat one forkful per day and work your way up to two. You may be alarmed by the strong taste at first and it helps to mix it in with other foods (like potatoes or on top of your meat) until you get used to the taste. I actually didn't buy this last time I went to Costco because I already have a jar of their red beet slaw in my fridge at home, but I still think it's a great buy there.
7.Tolerant Foods Lentil Pasta
This pasta is high in protein and fiber and is super filling! I’m not going to lie lentil pasta doesn’t smell all that great when it is cooking, but top it with your favorite sauce and you wouldn’t even know you weren’t eating regular pasta!
8. Blue Diamond Almond Flour
I can’t remember the price, but I feel like it was only like $8.99 for this huge bag! There’s all sorts of things you can do with almond flour, including replacing your flour with it in baked goods or pancakes to make them GF, higher in protein, and lower in carb.
9. Bare Apple Chips
I personally don’t eat a ton of these but my husband and daughter like them a lot and I sometimes like to throw them onto salads with some chicken, feta, and red onion, to make an imitation Panera Bread-like salad.
10. Organic Frozen Fruit
I live in Michigan, where berries are out of season 8 months of the year, so it makes a lot of economical and nutritional sense to eat frozen berries for a large portion of the year. Berries are frozen at their peak of freshness and I would be willing to wager probably have equal to or even more nutrients than fresh berries for much of the year (unless you are growing yourself or buying fresh from your local farmer). These can be used in smoothies, cooked into oatmeal for natural sweetness, or cooked down to make a chia jam or compote, among other things.
Organic Canned Pumpkin, Harvest Snaps Pea Snacks, Wholly Guacamole Cups
Well, that's it folks! I'm sure there are many more fabulous products that I missed, including some meat and seafood options. I'd love to hear below what some of your favorite Costco products are!