My Fave Healthy Costco Picks + Bonus Time and Money Saving Hacks
For the longest time I was super resistant about going to Costco. It just seemed too big and the whole process majorly time-consuming and overwhelming. But then last year my parents bought me a Costco membership for Christmas and the MLH (meat-lovin’ hubby) forced me to go with him one afternoon — and let’s just say I haven’t looked back since.
Whether you’re a Costco Fanatic or not — I truly believe it’s a fabulous way to stock up on healthy food items at super affordable prices, which I’m all about. Read on below for my favorite healthy and tasty picks, plus the best Costco hacks to ensure you’re saving time and money on your trip.
PS – This post is totally not sponsored… I’m just kind of obsessed 😉
I always grab a bag of these — or three — every.single.time I make the trek to Costco. Sweet Potatoes are so delicious, versatile and rich in antioxidants and vital minerals your bod needs like magnesium. Plus you can’t beat the price — which equates to 79 cents per sweet potato — umm yes please! I bake a huge batch on Sundays and stuff them with coconut yogurt, granola and almond butter in the morning or kale, sriracha and a fried egg for dinner. They’re also amazing in soups or as sweet potato fries to accompany your burger. You just really can’t go wrong with them.
Okay you guys — this is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s so delicious and creamy and tastes super similar to peanut butter (but easier to digest and less likely to contain mold toxins that most peanuts do). Plus there’s nothing weird added to it, it’s just organic raw cashews. I love to use it to make sauces and dressings (especially this one) or to thicken and add flavor to soups. Or just spread a spoonful on some banana slices with cinnamon and flaky sea salt. OMYUM.
This smoked salmon is super delicious and versatile. Great as a snack or appetizer with some calvestrano olives and marcona almonds or tossed on salads, in scrambles or pasta/zucchini noodles. No cooking or prep = bonus points.
I swear a lemon a day keeps the doctor away. I always start my day with a glass of warm water with lemon (super alkalizing and detoxifying on your system) and use it in salad dressings, marinades, sauces and to season or flavor veggies and grilled chicken or fish. They’ll last for awhile if you keep them in the fridge too, plus look cute in a bowl on your kitchen table or counter (baby wanted 12 lemons!)
Whenever I go to Costco I stock up on packs of organic ground turkey as they hold up well in the freezer and we go through about one pack a week (meat-lovin’ hubby loves his meat). Our favorite way to eat them? Mix with an egg, minced garlic, sea salt and pepper for a quick burger in a lettuce wrap (top with fresh tomato and guac for good measure). Also great in stir fries, to flavor sauces (like marinara) or homemade meatballs.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know about my full blown obsession with avocados. They’re one of the best sources of naturally occurring healthy fats out there – contributing to gorgeous skin, hair and nails, high-performing brains — your brain is 60% fat and NEEDS healthy fat to function optimally — not to mention fat is incredibly satiating and eating a diet high in healthy fats helps you get more efficient at burning fat, instead of gaining it! Grab a bag or two of these (avocados can cost up to $2 for one avocado – so this bag of 6 at $9.99 is a pretty good deal) and use them to make guac, top salads, wraps, tacos, scrambles, bowls, sandwiches or make #avocadotoast .
Since I’m on that avocado train, let’s talk avocado oil. This is my favorite oil to cook with (besides coconut oil) as it stays stable when heated to high temperatures, so it doesn’t oxidize and cause oxidative stress to the body when consumed (olive oil is NOT stable in high heat and while I highly recommend for drizzling cold on salads, I don’t recommend cooking with it).
Speaking of coconut oil, do yourself a favor and grab a tub of this baby on your next Costco trip. I have two at home, one for cooking and one for all things beauty (I use it as body lotion as it’s completely toxin-free and makes my skin look and smell amazing, plus way cheaper than buying actual body lotion). Cooking-wise, this is another naturally occurring healthy fat that can really help you burn fat more efficiently if used correctly. I love to use it in my bulletproof coffee, drizzle it over baked sweet potatoes, use it in baked goods or oatmeal, or add to stir-fries, curries and asian dishes.
Organic, pre-washed spinach is one of my favorite veggies out there and a weekly staple in this household. It’s super easy to use because it doesn’t require any sort of washing or chopping. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but has a very mild flavor so you can add it to smoothies, scrambles, soups, etc. without affecting the taste. I use it as a base for salads and in my favorite green smoothie.
Blueberries are hands-down my favorite fruit out there. They’re one of the richest sources of antioxidants and polyphenols, which is important because these are needed to combat free radicals — aka the bad guys that cause disease and inflammation — in your bod. They’re also relatively low in sugar compared to other fruit. I freeze these to toss in my morning smoothies, use them in my morning bowl with coconut yogurt, bee pollen and granola and add them in spinach salads. I basically eat them every day and I’m not mad about it.
Again, I’m all about easy and efficient and these organic chicken + apple sausages most def fall into that category. I buy a bunch to store in the freezer, then unthaw one pack every Sunday when I do my meal prep. I just chop and pan-fry for a few minutes, then pack em in tupperware with sweet potatoes and hard-boiled eggs for an easy morning-meal on the go. Also delish in scrambles or with a side of sauerkraut and perfect for picky kiddos.
Wild- Caught Fish —
Costco has a pretty impressive selection of both meat and seafood (at especially affordable prices). I always make sure to check out their cases and see what organic, grass-fed, hormone-free and wild-caught options they have. With fish your best bet is to look for wild-caught in either Alaskan or Norwegian waters (as these are the least likely to be contaminated with toxins). As it’s halibut season I was able to score a pack of wild-caught Alaskan Halibut at an awesome price. I popped it in the freezer and will be using it this week for some fish tacos. Bomb.com.
To be totally honest I haven’t always been the biggest kombucha fan. Shocking I know, but despite the health benefits due to the probiotics most strains contain too much sugar and caffeine for me, leaving me feeling jittery and messing with my energy and glucose levels. Enter in GT’s Organic Raw Gingerade Kombucha — which only contains live probiotic cultures and fresh ginger juice. No caffeine, no sugar, just pure refreshing deliciousness. I love it as an afternoon refreshment when I want something fizzy or tasty that’s not water, but not quite alcohol. Disclaimer — due to the live cultures this will give you a bit of a buzz, but in a really good way.
Bonus: Time + Money-Saving Costco Hacks —
Now that you’ve got a good start on your Costco shopping list, here are some key things to know before you go:
Go Prepared With A List —
Costco can be a great way to save money — but it can also become a blackhole where you get sucked into perusing every aisle and walk out spending $400, with new patio furniture or a flat-screen tv to boot ;). Prepare a list of the things you need (use my faves above as a starter) that make sense to buy in bulk at Costco. Look for freezer-friendly items, produce that you’ll freeze or use quickly and pantry staples that last a long time.
Avoid Peak Hours —
Have any of you ever gone to Costco on a Saturday afternoon? It’s absolute madness, hard to find a parking spot, people are banging their carts into you and the lines are insane. Try and go first thing in the morning if you can, or on afternoons or evenings during the week if possible. You can easily shave up to 30 minutes off your visit.
When In Doubt, Read The Ingredient Label —
Some Costco items seem too good to be true — and they most likely are. Don’t forget that just because something is marketed as healthy doesn’t mean it actually is. Food companies can put whatever they want on the front of the label to trick you into buying their products, however they are legally required to list all ingredients on the nutrition label. If there are weird ingredients on the nutritional label you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are, your body probably won’t either and it will most likely end up causing more harm than good. Look for the following words: organic, hormone-free, pasture-raised, wild-caught, free-range, etc. and avoid labels that say refined, all-natural, or seem marketed to you to “be healthy.”
Okay lovelies — I hope this was helpful! Now I would love to know what your fave healthy Costco or grocery store picks are? Feel free to comment below or post your pics on instagram using the hashtag #sofreshnsogreen