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Let's be honest: navigating Costco is overwhelming enough, and even more so when you're focused on finding healthy items for your family.
But your dream of eating better while also saving money is not far-fetched. In this case, you can have your cake and eat it, too (now that I'm finally understanding what that idiom means).
I hear moms complain all the time how they wish healthy food wasn't so expensive.
They also want nutritious products that their kids will actually eat. Any parents of picky eaters out there?
In recent years, Costco has done a tremendous job adding alternative options to their inventory.
While there is no shortage of processed junk foods on their shelves, they do have a variety of organic, keto, paleo, gluten free, and less-processed items available.
Now, we probably should lay some disclaimers out there about what is considered healthy. For instance, just because something is labeled gluten free absolutely does not deem it a binge-worthy food.
The wise saying, “all things in moderation” still applies.
That being said, I have narrowed down the healthiest items at Costco in hopes that your next visit to the warehouse is a tad quicker, a bit cheaper, and eases your conscience!
Pro tip: you can order most anything, including frozen items, online with Costco. Avoid the crowds, and avoid delivery fees by spending a minimum.
Dry Grocery Aisles
I tend to make a loop from left to right in my Costco store.
I start in the pharmacy and dry goods area then work my way to the fresh and cold stuff, and hit the tempting snacks on the way to the registers. Thus, I've laid out these healthy items at Costco accordingly.
We try to drink water by the gallon out here in the desert. Unfortunately, Phoenix water doesn’t taste stupendous, even with a filter.
In order to ensure you and the fam stay hydrated, adding some flavorful electrolytes to water can help increase your intake.
This brand has succeeded in creating a sugarless but tasty electrolyte powder in several different flavors.
The pack is currently available with Costco online and in-store near the pharmacy section. Costco carries either lemon-ginger, tangerine, or strawberry (we’ve enjoyed this one!).
Vita Coco Coconut Water
Along the same lines, coconut water is still a healthy trend I don’t see going away any time soon. There are few brands which don’t add extra flavors and junk, but Vita Coco has remained pretty true.
Tip: if your kids don’t love coconut water on its own, add some citrus juice to boost the taste. You can also make your own popsicles out of it or add it to a healthy summer smoothie.
Costco carries an 18-count of 11 oz. cartons for about $23, but you can keep a lookout for coupons.
Canyon Bakehouse Bread
Another gluten free option for anyone with allergies, Costco carries this brand’s multigrain option in a two-loaf pack.
I always freeze one and leave the other in the fridge to stay fresh. While these slices don’t have the same squishy consistency as regular bread for PB&J’s, they are great for grilled sandwiches and French toast!
But if you really want to stock up, you can grab this 6-pack from Amazon.
I mentioned this one in my healthy road trip snacks blog. Technically it is a snack item but since it is located in the bread aisle, I’m including it here.
These little gluten free, granola-type bites are so tasty but most of all filling! A couple of them in the morning is enough to hold me over until lunch, and that says a lot for a girl with a big appetite.
Made from konjac flour, a starchy herb, these ready-to-eat spaghetti-style noodles come in 2-serving pouches. Costco, of course, sells a box of 6 pouches.
Simply drain and rinse the clear-ish noodles in a colander, gently warm and then add with any sauce or broth of choice. Talk about a quick meal.
Note, while konjac is a super low-carb, plant-based, and gluten free source, it is also high in fiber. Those with digestion issues may want to go easy with these as they are more filling than regular noodles.
Bertolli Organic Pasta Sauce
See, this is the great thing about Costco. This 4-pack organic pasta sauce cost $6 with the promotional coupon. Even the $9 price was reasonable, but $6 is a steal!
Whether you need quick spaghetti sauce (like, say, for those Miracle Noodles) or it’s Friday pizza night, you always need a jar of garlicky tomato sauce on hand.
Organic Chicken Stock
Are you a crockpot connoisseur? Does your family live off soups and stews in the cooler months?
Whether you're in charge of the Thanksgiving turkey or you just need a cup here and there, it's always best to have chicken stock in...stock.
Prices tend to vary a lot in regular stores for organic broth, especially around the holidays. This is one healthy item I just prefer to store up from Costco every few months.
How many healthy items can you “just add water” to and still know it’s really nutritious?
We all know nut butters can be a great protein source. But most diet programs tell you to eat it sparingly due to the acidity and oils that tend to up the calories in each spoonful.
PB Fit has about 70 calories per serving as opposed to almost 200, and because it is a powder the extra oils are reduced.
My husband and I use it in protein smoothies often. But it’s a great way to ensure your peanut butter stays fresh!
NuttZo Keto Nut Butter
If peanuts are off-limits for you, but you still want a sticky, nutty spread, I always recommend NuttZo. The story behind its creation is heart-warming and I 100% support the real ingredients used to make it.
Like anything, there’s no guarantee Costco will always carry this brand. But I sure hope they do because a large container of this keto-friendly flavor is so much cheaper than retail!
At this point, it's a well-known fact that to feel satiated, the body needs a balance of good fats and proteins, and a perfect food is one that has the right levels on its own.
Hemp seeds are a great way to hold your appetite over a little longer and stave off negative cravings. Try these healthy, nutty seeds on salads, yogurts, or in a smoothie.
This is just an example below. A 32 oz. bag is only $13 at Costco and it will last you a while!
Don’t knock it before you try it!
These skinless, boneless sardines are rich in omega fats and taste great with crackers. Currently, a 6-count pack is $3 off at Costco.
Find these healthy items at Costco online or in-store down the refrigeration and deli aisles.
Folios Cheese Wraps
Don't lie, you like to play with your food as much as your kid does. Things just taste better all rolled up, right?
If you are lactose intolerant but just can't say no to cheese (I feel you), try these keto-friendly, thin cheese slices intended to wrap up your favorite protein and veggie combos.
Proof that low-carb isn't as boring as you'd expect!
I've only found the parmesan flavor at Costco so far, but it looks like there are other types of cheeses available on Amazon.
Isn't it amazing what they can transform cauliflower into these days?
If you crave a good crepe every once in a while but rarely have the time to make yourself breakfast, pick up this healthy item at Costco next time you're there.
Made from mainly cauliflower and eggs, Crepini wraps are grain and dairy free and perfect for anyone with a nut allergy. And, each wrap only has about 8 calories.
Gently warm them for a savory roll-up or spread on some nut butter and jam for a light snack.
When I have the time to meal prep, I like to pre-cook a bunch of egg bites for the week.
However, in a pinch, these nitrate-free, all-natural egg bites work just as well. While they are gluten free, they do contain milk and eggs.
In general, Columbus is one of my favorite brands for natural, antibiotic-free meat. If the price is right, I will also pick up their turkey breast for those tasty roll-ups I mentioned already.
But if you're looking for a healthier alternative to greasy bacon, you can find this 2.5 lb. pack of uncured (AKA nitrate free) turkey bacon at Costco both online and in-store.
If you're wondering, that's a lot of turkey bacon. I usually store the rest in the freezer, so this $15 typically lasts us a few months.
Free of flour and other fillers, these basil and black pepper chicken sausages are my husband's favorite lunch option.
Since they're already pre-cooked, all he has to do is heat them up. In fact, I rarely get to eat any before they're completely gone.
The Perfect Bar
Due to how real and fresh the ingredients are, Perfect Bars are stored in the fridge.
But while they are thought of as a snack, they pack enough protein to count as a meal replacement if necessary.
Costco currently has their variety 12-pack marked $6 off. Unlike Amazon’s option below, Costco's pack comes with three flavors: Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, & Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter.
Of course, fresh is always better than frozen. But you always need healthy items on hand for nights when dinner is up to dad!
I actually think the bag at Costco labels these "zucchini nests" to act as patties.
Nonetheless, zucchini noodles (lovingly known as zoodles) in all forms are a great low-carb option. They're also a great way to trick your kids into eating vegetables.
Cauliflower fried rice mix
Don't have time to steam rice? Trying to avoid grains and the starches that come with them?
Costco's frozen cauliflower "fried" rice just comes as a medley of stir fry veggies.
Toss it all in a pan with some oil, add an egg and some cooked teriyaki chicken and you've got yourself a 10-minute meal!
As usual, Costco's inventory varies. But they always have some sort of organic, grass-fed beef available in the frozen section.
The link above is for burger patties. They oftentimes have ground beef in frozen tubes as well which are great to store in your freezer for chili and taco nights.
Triple berry mix
Despite what we tell ourselves, smoothies in and of themselves aren't inherently healthy. Even natural fruit sugar in large quantities can be overload to our bodies.
However, they're still a better treat than ice cream sundaes!
Throw in a handful of frozen berries with some almond milk, PB Fit powder, and hemp seeds and you will satisfy a sweet tooth while also curbing your hunger.
Oh, Costco, you know what you're doing with those items strategically located just before checkout.
Kirkland Organic Roasted seaweed snacks
Like the sardines, roasted seaweed takes some getting used to if you didn't grow up with it like I did.
But the benefits from these salty, crispy snacks far outweigh any so-called healthy chips out there.
Each package contains only 20 calories, not to mention many good-for-you minerals.
Costco always has the individual 10-count packages available for about $10, which is much cheaper than most retail costs.
Not too sweet, and not too nutty, these little squares are a healthy snack while on-the-go or in-between meals.
Nuts are excellent sources of fats and protein, in moderate doses.
Duke's Shorty Sausages
I've raved about this brand before, as well. These real, sustainably-raised pork jerky sticks always meet my sodium cravings without any guilt.
Healthy Dog Treats
Last but not least, there are healthy items at Costco for dogs as well!
Samson isn't a picky pup. But there are definitely treats he likes more than others, and these chicken jerky sticks from Farmland Traditions are in that category.
Plus, these usually last a couple months, and that's with a fairly liberal treat regimen.
A Healthy Lifestyle and a Healthy Wallet Can Co-Exist
You might notice I didn't mention any fresh produce items above.
For one, everyone's Costco options vary depending on your location and season.
But, also, most of us already know fruits and veggies are good for us. At least, I hope we do!
For the record, I do love Costco's large kale salad mix for big parties. And I'm not holding myself back from the bushel of Oregon-grown, organic blueberries I picked up last week, either. #NotSharing.
If you are a household of two as we are, though, you know that fresh produce just doesn't last as long. Wasting anything is a big pet peeve for me, so we tend to get our produce at local markets instead.
Anyway, now you know you really can find healthy items at Costco while still saving on your monthly grocery bill.