Costco is daunting. I know it. It’s big and busy and you end up with 50 things you never planned on getting but someone now needs to have. My suggestion is to go when they just open (before 10 am), park far away near the exit so you don’t get stuck in the parking lot gridlock, and make sure you are well fed before going. Also, note that they stock the earliest to expiry in the FRONT, so dig to the back if you want fresher food. Watch the dates here.
Here are some of my are my best buys at the big box store.
Whole grain bread: We love local brand Silver Hills. With 4-5grams of fibre a slice and sprouted whole grains these are the best buy for bread. Make sure when you compare breads you look at the serving sizes. Is it 1 slice or 2 slices? Compare equivalent portions when you look at alternatives but this bread can’t be beat.
Party platters of veggies: No party, no problem. Make your life easier with a party platter of veggies. I like to put these out before dinner and tell my kids to help themselves if the whining gets too much. I add these to everyone's lunches as well. I love that the dip is now made with Greek yogurt yum! Also, pre-chopped veggies like cauliflower and broccoli can be roasted for an easy dinner veg option. Fruit platters are also a hit but we have no trouble getting in enough fruit at our house so I skip this.
Organic meats: When people hear organic they think $$$ dollar signs. I feel you here. It costs more. Is it better for us? Not necessarily. Organic meats are free of growth or reproductive hormones, no antibiotics or preservatives, and the animals are all free-range and have adequate space indoors and outdoors to roam. In addition, they are fed organic feed. A significant portion of their diet is also grass which means less commercial farming of grains to feed them. Organic meat at Costco is the best I’ve found price-wise. I could (and probably should!) do a whole post on this alone but I will leave it here and encourage you to consider buying here for a great price and freezing in individual portions. Just don’t forget about it and let it freezer burn. Date foods when you can.
Nuts and nut butters: unsalted, creamy and dreamy. Great options here for nuts and nut butters. We like the unsalted almonds and the natural almond butter. Great additions for homemade protein balls, granola bars, overnight oats, etc.
Oils: I am always impressed by the prices and varieties of oils. My delicious (and most used) organic extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil (which can cook to a super high smoke point) are both from Costco. More on oils to come.
Frozen fruits: frozen fruits are picked at prime seasonal ripeness and are nutritionally equivalent with regards to their fresh counterparts. But no peeling, chopping, prepping means that my yogurt bowl or smoothie just got way easier. Again organic options are available.
High fibre granola bars: There are some great options for granola bars like MadeGood (peanut free!), Kashi, and Kind bars. These are a healthy snack option when you are on the go, I always have a stash in my glove box in case I hit a traffic jam to prevent that hangry feeling.
Pesto, capers, hummus: Now I have tried many of these. The pesto here is second to none, we use it as a pizza base for my littles “Green pizza” and for their pasta. Freeze pesto in smaller jars and take them our when you need them to prevent them from going bad. Hummus is also a super easy protein choice to pack in your lunch with some carrots/crackers and is a kid fav. Capers, if you haven’t had them, are little salty treasures that transform your normal red sauce into something special. Best prices for sure.
Cheese: if you haven’t tried goat feta you need to, it’s the tastiest addition to my “Super Easy Salad” and we use it all the time. Parm cheese blocks (vs the flakes) will last forever and stay good. They also encourage a more moderate portion than the huge flakes. Pre-portioned cheeses are always a great snack option.
Skyre yogurt: relatively new to Costco this very high protein yogurt is delicious and filling (but thick!), we love the variety pack of flavours.
Soda water: we love soda water and they have a great price on soda water here with flavoured varieties without the sugar
Hard passes: There are a lot. My kids tend to get tired of things fairly quickly so I avoid:
String cheese (which by the way never actually molds? I found a piece in my couch and it was rubbery and preserved?)
Baking and fresh bread: unless we are having a party the portions of these monstrous pies, cookie boxes, breads, etc. are just way too much and encourage us to over-consume just to get rid of them.
Chips: again the bags are monstrous, we like chips just fine but a regular-sized bag is good.
What am I missing? Let me know if there is something you love that I don’t have here.