14 Foods Nutritionists Always Buy at Costco
Looking for healthy food shopping inspiration at Costco? Get the inside scoop on what nutritionists put in their grocery carts at the food warehouse.
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Registered dietitians share their favorite Costco finds
Costco is well-known for its warehouse prices and tasty free samples. (Although those might be going away due to Covid-19—here are 6 things you won’t see at Costco any more.) However, the chain is still great for finding plenty of healthy and delicious foods, including the all sorts of great vegan products. Here’s what registered dietitians say they always put in their own Costco grocery carts that you should add to yours, too. (All items may not be available in every store.)
For registered dietitian Sharon Zarabi, program director of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, one of the best Costco finds is organic mixed nuts. “Nuts are packed with nutrients ranging from heart-healthy fats to fiber, which aids in digestion, and even more so proteins, which help you keep your hunger at bay,” she says. She also loves portion-controlled nuts from Costco because with nuts, “once you pop, you can’t stop.”
Kirkland Signature shelled pistachios
$18.49, 3 pounds
Another nutty favorite with dietitians is pistachios. Registered dietitian Lauren Manaker and her family love Costco’s Kirkland brand. Manaker says pistachios are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like manganese and vitamin B6—but they are typically tedious to de-shell. That’s what makes this Costco option so great. “These pistachios come pre-shelled, so adding it to anything is as simple as opening the bag,” she says.
Wild Alaskan canned salmon
Zarabi likes this canned fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. But what’s really good about this Costco option is that it’s wild, she points out. “Most fish canned in the U.S. is farm raised,” Zarabi says. “Wild salmon is higher in omega-3s than their counterparts and [they] also eat a more natural diet as they are free to roam the sea.” Plus, fish is an excellent source of protein, which helps keep you full.
Single hummus packs
Costco sells single pack servings of non-GMO, organic hummus. Zarabi says that means they are made with the highest quality chickpeas. Really fresh hummus can go bad quickly once opened due to oxidation, so these single-servings can save money, too. Zarabi suggests swapping mayo for hummus or using it as a dip for fresh raw veggies.
Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend
This frozen bag is a blend of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Zarabi loves this Costco item because it’s convenient and full of vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants. “They are the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurts, or even my personal favorite, as a frozen treat for the summer,” she says.
The specific brand at your Costco location may vary, but any of the low-carb shakes could be a good addition to your haul. And no, they aren’t just for people who want to build muscle. It’s actually a perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast for anyone who has a busy schedule. “This is an easy way to add to your regimen, as protein keeps you full and the low sugar content prevents that sugar addiction first thing in the morning,” Zarabi says. “[The] best part is they don’t need to be refrigerated until they are opened.” Plus, they have a relatively long shelf life.
Organic Wholly Guacamole minis
Portion-controlled guacamole packs are a popular pick for Costco grocery hauls, too. Registered dietitian Chelsey Amer, a virtual dietitian based in New York City, says that Organic Wholly Guacamole minis are a good choice. “These individual packs of guacamole are a great on-the-go snack with whole-grain crackers or sliced veggies,” Amer says. “The slowly digested healthy fat from avocado will keep you full for hours.”
Manuka honey is different from your average sweetener. Registered dietitian nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth, author of Eating in Color, says this Costco pick has the three key markers that signify manuka honey: leptosperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal. Not to mention, this honey also may help improve sleep, fight acne, and aid digestion. “I take a spoonful of manuka daily and add an extra dose when I’m sick or dealing with allergies,” Largeman-Roth says.
KIND protein bars
These protein bars are a staple snack for registered dietitian Amy Gorin. “I love that Costco sells them in a 16-pack of the Crunchy Peanut Butter bars and White Chocolate Cinnamon Almond bars,” she says. As a vegetarian, Gorin is always looking for great sources of plant-based protein, and up to two-thirds of each bar’s 12 grams of protein come from nuts. These bars also get bonus points for coming in a variety of flavors and not using artificial ingredients, sweeteners, or sugar alcohols.
Kirkland Organic extra virgin olive oil
$15.99, 2 L
Finding a high-quality olive oil for a decent price isn’t as tough as you might think. Registered dietitian nutritionist Kaleigh McMordie of Lively Table says the Kirkland brand tastes wonderful and, at about $16.99 for a two-liter bottle, it’s a really good deal. “It’s my favorite cooking oil because it provides healthy monounsaturated fat,” McMordie says. “I go through tons in my house!”
McMordie also goes through garlic quickly. That’s why she likes buying whole heads in bulk at Costco. “Fresh garlic is the ultimate flavor booster for cooking and contains the antioxidant allicin, which could help prevent damage from free radicals,” McMordie says.
“I was so excited when Costco began carrying my favorite kombucha brand,” McMordie says. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink, is popular for its gut-health benefits and probiotics, but many brands often come with lots of sugar. McMordie likes this Costco find because she loves that taste and the sugar content is reasonable.
Registered dietitian Shelley A. Rale says she and her family never tire of these tiny tomatoes. They are the one thing that is always on her Costco list. “They are part of my husband’s lunch, a quick snack for any time of day, easily added to a salad when we have one, or added to a cooked dish for dinner,” she says. Not only are they filling, but Rale says they are a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and lycopene. Next, check out the best keto-approved foods at Costco.
- Sharon Zarabi, RD, program director of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital
- Lauren Manaker, RD
- Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, a virtual dietitian based in New York City
- Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, and author of Eating in Color
- Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
- Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, of Lively Table
- Shelley A. Rale, MS, RDN