The Ten Best Healthy Foods to Buy at Costco

I’m not sure why I fought against the idea of becoming a wholesale shopper for so long. Maybe it was due to the residual sting from being denied at checkout when I was sixteen, or maybe it was because it seems like such an #adulting move, or, most likely, it was because a good deal for an annual membership popped up on GroupOn.

And, wow, my first day of membership was a doozy. They should really prepare you for the transition from everyday human to Costco Gold Member/Super Consumer, or at the very least not allow you to buy anything within the first 24 hours of membership so you can get a chance to CALM. DOWN. I swear, as soon as you get that little plastic card with your name and face on it, your adrenaline shoots to record highs and you feel an intense compulsion to buy industrial-grade boxes full of fruit snacks. A gallon of shampoo for $10? A hot dog and soda for $1.50? Come at me, bro!


Needless to say, it took me a couple of weeks to figure out how to strategize and survive a Costco trip without spending an entire month’s paycheck. And it turns out that it’s not all hot dogs and fruit snacks – did you know that Costco is the largest organic grocer? Healthy food choices often come at a higher price point, so the opportunity to combine healthy options with a lower price tag is worth the ($60/year) price of admission. After some trial and error, I’m listing my top healthy picks to stock up on at Costco.

Now, a disclaimer: these picks are my top suggestions for buying in bulk. I have heard great things about the produce, meat, and even juice cleanses(!) available at Costco, but the focus of this article is on items that will last at least a few weeks (or months) at a time.

1. Avocados

“But you just said that you were only talking about things that last weeks at a time!” you might say. Trust me, I was shocked to find out that these avocados last longer than a few days. I don’t know what magic witchcraft keeps these avocados fresh for so long, but a 5-pack of avocados from Costco magically lasts around 2-3 weeks, and are sold at a much friendlier price point than your local grocer. If you’re an avocado-loving millennial who enjoys the occasional avocado toast or fresh guac (or any of these recipes), this is a must-buy.

2. Ezekiel bread

Ezekiel bread is so hot right now, mainly because it is one of the few breads on the market that doesn’t contain added sugar. The sprouted grains in Ezekiel bread increase the nutrients available. Costco sells the bread in a pack of two, but you can always put a loaf in your freezer for later.

 3. Trail mix / Almonds / Nuts

If you’re looking for a healthier snack option, Costco has them by the buckets. You can buy a large variety of types of nuts – from individually-wrapped trail mixes to 3 pounds of whole almonds. You can also find nut butters for a good price if you don’t make your own at home.

4. Almond milk

Speaking of almonds … you can get a 6-pack of Vanilla Almond Milk for less than $10. That’s less than $2 for each 32 oz container of Almond Milk, and you can store it at room temperature. As someone who personally hates lugging gallons of almond milk from the grocery store once every few weeks, this bulk purchase was a no-brainer.

5. Protein

There’s no shortage of ways to get your protein fix for a good price at Costco. Two of my personal favorites are PB2 (aka powdered peanut butter) for smoothies and Kirkland’s signature protein bars for on-the-go snacking. If you aren’t a big peanut butter or protein bar fan, there’s a big selection of other protein-packed powders, shakes and snacks (including very reasonably-priced greek yogurt).

6. Healthy cooking oils

You can get 2 liters of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for less than $20, and it will last you for a long, long time. You can also snag 84 ounces of Organic Coconut Oil for around $20 (bonus: you can use it for cooking AND in your DIY natural deodorant).

7. Quinoa

Ah, quinoa. The queen of the supergrains. You can snag a year’s worth of this stuff for less than the cost of the last uber you took.

8. Chia seeds

If you’re as into chia pudding as I am lately, it’s very cost-efficient to stock up on this stuff and make it at home. (Pssst, it’s super easy to make)

9. Canned foods

Canned foods are a go-to item for bulk purchasing since they last so long, and they usually come in handy at some point or another. Costco sells organic diced tomatoes, chicken stock, black beans, and garbanzo beans – all of which can be used in (or to supplement) a multitude of recipes.

10. Frozen foods

Similar to canned foods, frozen foods are a good bulk buy because of their prolonged expiration dates. Costco sells almost any frozen fish or meat you can think of – many of them with “organic,” “grass fed” and “antibiotic free” on the label.

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments so I have an excuse to go to Costco soon.

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About Cass Gunderson

Cass hails from the southwest suburbs as a proud White Sox fan and a graduate of University of Illinois. By day, Cass is a full-time student at the University of Chicago's Booth Graduate Business School. Before deciding to throw away all her money to go back to school, Cass worked for a private equity firm that buys technology companies. Raised as the youngest in a family of older brothers, Cass grew up a tomboy and remains active in sports. To her mother’s satisfaction, Cass learned how to embrace her feminine side in college and has developed an interest for fitness activities that require spandex as opposed to knee-length basketball shorts. In her spare time, she runs a lot because it is cheaper than paying for real therapy. Cass has completed four marathons and one ultramarathon (she claims she'll never do this to herself again, but that's TBD). She can still be found on the basketball courts in Lincoln Park wearing knee-length basketball shorts.

5 thoughts on “The Ten Best Healthy Foods to Buy at Costco

  1. Yessss! I buy all of the above there! I also get almond butter, kodiak cake mix, Orgain protein, Safe Catch tuna (I think it’s like 6 for 15 when it’s 4.99/can at Jewel), and granola. Soo much good stuff there.

  2. I love CostCo! I stock up on frozen fruits and giant bags of greens/spinach for smoothies. I just toss them in the freezer and I’m stocked with smoothie ingredients for at least a month.

    1. So smart to keep everything in the freezer – I usually buy spinach from the grocery store for smoothies but it never lasts long enough. Will have to try doing this instead!

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