The words healthy Costco eating weren’t always part of my vocabulary.
When I was in my twenties, the weekend trip to Costco was a great excuse to stock up on more than just a family sized case of toilet paper. We went there for the goodies! And there were such bargains to be found!
When we went to Costco we usually spent way too much on these “deals”, and came home with a treasure trove of processed junk food we really didn’t even want or need. Still, there were great bargains, so sure enough, I would bring them home, then call up a friend to see who wanted to split that over-sized bag of tortilla chips, croissants, or my favorite, those huge chocolate muffins. Let me guess, you’ve been there, done that, too, right?
Ah, I remember those days when I didn’t have a care in the world as to what I was eating – those brownies, the industrial-sized bag of M&Ms, the $1.50 hot dog & soda deal, the freshly made pies, the list goes on and on.
Today, as a 40-something-year-old mom who has been through a health transformation of sorts, good sense and the wisdom that comes with life experience dictates that I am much more careful to watch what I eat, and I’m careful of what I feed my family, too. Oh, I still shop for those bargains at Costco. It’s just that now I find myself walking up and down different aisles, and avoiding those tempting sample tables (at least most of the time).
Is every single thing I eat always 100% healthy? Not 100%, that’s for sure, but I do try to always balance out some good with the not-so-good, and I’m trying to teach my kids by example, offering a healthy swap for one of their unhealthy requests. Usually, I’m pretty successful, and it’s helped me a lot with my meal prepping. Obviously, we can all name a lot more than ten healthy Costco foods, but my list includes just some of my favorites.
So here is my top ten shopping list for healthy Costco eating:
1) Boneless skinless chicken breasts.
These are great for roasting, stir frying, baking, even adding to pasta or salads. They freeze individually, so you can just thaw as much as you need.
2) Fresh Ground Turkey.
This is what I use when making spaghetti, chili, or tacos. When I first transitioned from ground beef to turkey, I used about a half beef/half turkey mix, and now we’re so used to it, no one, including my teenage son, knows the difference.
This is one of my favorites, and it’s full of those super healthy Omega 3s! True to Costco form, it comes in a large quantity, which helps brings down the price, but I have to make sure we’re all home before I cook this much. Of course, freezing the excess works, too, to bring out for another meal in the future.
I was never a huge fan of oatmeal, but I’ll let you in on something – I went around for all my years thinking I didn’t like it when I hadn’t even tried it! Is that lame or what? Anyway, everything I was reading about the healthy benefits of the pasty stuff led me to finally try it. And guess what? I eat it now for breakfast almost every day. Who knew?!
I eat these on my oatmeal to sweeten it up. Costco’s price on blueberries is much cheaper than my regular supermarket. My kids like to snack on them in front of the TV (if I wash them and stick a bowl in front of them, the chances of that go way up!). I also like them on yogurt or mixed in with Sunday-morning-after-church-pancakes.
I think bananas are nature’s perfect food. They are a little on the high side as far as carbs go, but they are an awesome source of potassium, and make a nice mid-morning snack. Plus, buying in bulk at Costco brings the price way down.
This Superfood is rich in potassium, fiber, and folate, which all help with anti-aging and reducing inflammation, and even with cutting the risk of heart disease, cancer and birth defects. At only 40 calories per cup, what’s not to like? Saute in a little olive oil, and you’re good to go!
It took me awhile to get used to eating raw almonds, but now that I have, I need to actually watch myself to make sure I don’t eat too much – they are healthy, but also high in calories. Almonds are full of monounsaturated fat (the healthy fat), potassium, Vitamin E and magnesium. They make a great snack, but make sure you use portion control.
Another healthy fat is the avocado. I don’t really love the texture so much, so I add slices of them to my salads and mix it in, or put a thin slice into a sandwich. Nutritionally, avocados are a good source of fiber, have lower sugar and higher protein levels than other fruits, and are rich in Vitamins K, B, C and E. They can be expensive in the supermarket, so if you don’t have your own tree, getting them at Costco is the next best thing.
I wanted to put some kind of snack food on the list, so here was my choice for this particular shopping trip. Because it’s a packaged/processed food, I made sure I checked the nutrition label. The only ingredients were white rice, natural cane juice, rice syrup, and agar.
Caveat: “Rollers” really don’t have much nutrition – protein (1g), fiber (0 g), vitamins (0%), but there is 0 fat and 45 calories per roll, so while it’s not super healthy for you, as far as snacks go, you could do a lot worse.
Healthy Costco Eating really can be a thing
So the next time you’re in Costco picking up a box of processed pizza or a 64-box of Eggo waffles, try dropping one or more of my healthy Costco eating items into your cart. Who knows, you just may start to change your family’s eating habits. It’s true, you actually can do healthy eating on a budget. Costco helps me with great bargains in that department, for sure!