I love Costco! Let’s just get that out of the way, but it can be intimidating shopping at Costco and knowing what to buy and better yet what to avoid. I am going to share with you my list of favorite food items to buy at Costco for healthy eating and cooking and some items that looks like they might be healthy, but you need to stay away from.
The Best Things To Buy At Costco
A lot of people stay away from buying in bulk because they think the food will go bad before they eat it, but the truth is there are many healthy food items at Costco that have a long shelf life. Here is my list of healthy food items that have a long shelf life and I highly recommend buying from Costco.
Butter: We love using grass-fed Irish butter while cooking, and the best price I have ever seen is for Kerrygold Irish butter at Costco. It has a higher butterfat percentage than American butter and taste much richer. The American butter has higher amounts of water, and who wants to pay for that!? Use that butter to schmear all over Dessi’s keto bagels, or use to make my keto biscuits.
Coconut Milk: The price of organic coconut milk milk at Costco is just about the same price as Trader Joe’s, but the consistency of the coconut milk is smooth and creamy. The coconut milk at Costco does have guar gum, which helps makes the texture smooth and prevents the coconut cream from separating from the milk like the one from Trader Joe’s does. If you don’t mind the guar gum, go for Costco, but if you buy the one from TJ’s, you may need to warm the milk up and whisk well to emulsify the milk and cream.
Cooking Oil: There are so many cooking oils at Costco it can be a bit confusing. Some are healthy and a great deal, and some you need to stay away from! Buy virgin coconut oil, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, and virgin avocado oil from Costco. The prices are amazing and these are heart healthy (yes, even the coconut oil despite what people say) and are great for cooking at high temperatures (yes, even the olive oil..that is a myth!) Use olive oil to make my ultimate Italian meatballs, use avocado oil to sear chicken thighs for my keto chicken and cauliflower fried rice, and use coconut oil to make Dessi’s gluten free pumpkin bread.
Stay away from canola oil, vegetable oil, and corn oil from Costco. These types of oils are highly processed and they use chemical solvents to help extract the oil from the pants. Yuck!
Almond Flour: Costco has the best price I have ever seen for blanched almond flour – only $4 per pound! Trader Joe’s almond flour cost $7.50 per pound. Use almond flour to make Dessi’s low carb pita bread, Dessi’s keto crackers, and my keto sausage McMuffin sandwich.
Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts: These superfoods are the real deal, they are loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Use chia seeds to make my keto coconut chia seed pudding and sprinkle hemp hearts on yogurt or cook with some quinoa for a breakfast bowl like I do during the weekdays.
Almond Butter & Peanut Butter: The price is right for these pantry staples. Just make sure to store them in the fridge once opened. Use either of these for my low carb peanut noodles with homemade lettuce wraps.
Do Not Buy These Food Items From Costco:
Rotisserie Chicken: I cringe when I see how many people buy the rotisserie chicken from Costco. It is a low quality chicken that is pumped full of sugar, preservatives, MSG, and chemicals. You are much better off roasting chicken thighs at home or a whole chicken. You can easily roast chicken thighs and make my chicken salad recipe that is the bomb.
Organic Eggs: Not all organic eggs are created equal, and Costco brad eggs are very low quality. Organic does not mean jack! A chicken can be organic, but still be confined to a cage, eat organic corn instead of worms and bugs, and not see the daylight. Buy pasture raised chicken eggs I like a brand called vital farms from Whole Foods. They are twice the price but the quality is much better. You can check the quantity of eggs from this website here. Even the 365 brand from Whole Foods are garbage!
Pine Nuts: Have you ever heard of pine nut syndrome? It’s when you have this bitter, metallic taste in your mouth that can last for weeks! It has been know to be caused by pine nuts from China, which are not a real breed of pine nuts, but an off-shoot, and guess where the pine nuts from Costco come from? China! I am not saying it will happen to you, but it is not worth the risk and they are not real deal pine nuts anyway. Plus they are expensive! Try using toasted walnuts to make my easy pesto recipe that I toss with pasta or low carb shirataki noodles.
Spices: It’s not that the quality of spices is not good at Costco. It’s that ground spices start to lose their flavor within 3-6 months, and there is no way you can use all of that cumin in that time! You are better of buying FRESH spices from the bulk section of Whole Foods or better yet, from a spice shop in your town.
Green Juices & Kombucha: I am so tried of this trend for paying top dollar for “cold pressed” juices and smoothies. Green juices from Costco are nothing but pasteurized sugar water and kombucha makes me gassy as can be! Read the ingredients. They sneak in sugar and other nasty ingredients plus all of the nutrients of the green juices are killed when they are heated for pasteurization!
Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed my grocery haul for my favorite healthy food items at Costco and what to avoid. Please let me know if you want to see hauls from other stores!? Check out some of my favorite healthy meal prep recipes: