As the #1 buyer of organic goods in the WORLD, Costco has an incredible selection of healthy foods at GREAT prices.
For all of my Costco hacks (including how to shop at Costco without a membership), read this article!
What I Buy
First, a few things to keep in mind:
- Costco has TONS of healthy food items– what I have listed here is what I buy at Costco and what is cheapest at Costco (for the quality) compared to other places.
- Things I don’t buy at Costco are items I have found cheaper elsewhere– like Thrive Market, Amazon, or a local store.
- NOTE: Many things are available on Costco.com and prices listed here may vary based on store location.
I have researched every ingredient I buy to find the cheapest version at the best health + quality. For a convenient list with links to where I buy ALL of my ingredients, download a copy of my Clean Foods Kitchen Inventory. (I mostly grocery shop online!)
Here are the things I buy from Costco and ideas on how to use them:
Canned & Bottled
- Balsamic Vinegar – great in salad dressing, or over mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil in the summer.
- White vinegar – I use this for homemade marinades, dressings, and even some for household cleaning.
- Honey (raw) – smoothies, baked goods, natural sweetener alternative to sugar
- Strawberry fruit spread– Simple ingredients, no-sugar-added and DELISH– the kids love this on PB&J
- Maple Syrup – over oatmeal, or gluten-free pancakes/waffles, or in baked goods as a natural sweetener.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – I love these in pastas, or my favorite breakfast casserole. These are packaged in olive oil (instead of canola oil)… a huge win!
- Canned tomatoes: Since tomatoes are on the dirty dozen list, I like to buy organic when possible. Varieties like tomato puree for Homemade BBQ sauce, or organic San Marzano tomatoes for Homemade Marinara sauce. I also stock diced tomatoes for chili, soups, etc.
- Pesto: I love that Kirkland pesto is made with 100% olive oil (instead of canola oil). We use a lot on homemade pizzas or tossed into a pasta for a quick dinner. Whatever you don’t use right away can be frozen!
Fats & Oils
- Ghee– great for dairy-free butter alternative in cooking or baking–a GREAT price for, and half the price of most other brands.
- Coconut oil – I use as high-temp cooking/baking oil (when I don’t mind a coconut flavor) and skin moisturizer. I divide the oil into small jars for the bathrooms and keep the big tub in the kitchen.
- Olive Oil – use in salad dressings, medium-temp cooking, or drizzle over finished food for extra healthy fats.
- Grass-fed butter – Costco has the best price I’ve found on Kerrygold butter– which we use as our primary
The primary cooking oil we use is avocado oil, since it is stable at higher temperatures and flavorless (I don’t want everything to taste like coconut). The best quality & price I have found is here.
Nuts & Seeds
To avoid consuming ‘bad’ oils, it’s important to use RAW nuts & seeds and Costco has a great selection of most things.
- Almonds – for homemade almond milk, in smoothies, or a simple snack.
- Cashews – for a snack, in trail mix, homemade cashew milk, in smoothies, super simple cashew cream for dairy-free homemade pasta sauces (this one is my favorite).
- Pine Nuts– since these are an expensive nut, I don’t generally buy, but they are great for homemade pesto, or to top salads or pastas.
- Pistachios – so yummy on salads, or with a handful of chocolate chips for a quick treat 🙂
- Pumpkin seeds – mostly use these in smoothies, on top of salads, or a crunchy topping to roasted veggies!
- Almond butter – we use in fruit for dipping, spreading on sandwiches, in smoothies, or for baking!
- Peanut butter – made with ONLY Valencia peanuts (the lowest mold variety), and no added sugar! We use for smoothies, sandwiches, on apple slices for a snack, or in health high-protein baked goods!
For other nuts like pecans, brazil nuts, ground flax, macadamias, and chia seeds, I have found better quality and prices elsewhere.
Grains, Flours, Baking
- Almond flour– My favorite gluten-free flour, I use a lot for baked goods, or my favorite chicken tenders from this meal plan.
- Coconut flour– I use mostly for gluten-free baking– here is a great resource for coconut flour breads (banana, pumpkin, etc)
- Gluten-free crackers: I love Simple Mills almond flour crackers with things like chicken salad, egg salad, etc. This brand is a GREAT price from Costco.
- Organic Tortilla chips– Since corn is a big GMO crop, I like buying these organic when possible. A great complement to Mexican night!
- Monkfruit sweetener (classic)– A great, natural 1:1 substitute for added sugar. I use this a ton in baked goods to replace refined refined sugar.
- Brown rice– a great price for a staple ingredient. I also love these packets for a quick weeknight meal.
- Quinoa– use this like rice for a higher-protein option
Beans & Legumes
- Canned black beans– at about $1/15 oz can, you may find a cheaper non-organic variety at your local store. But, these are good price for canned organic. To save even more money, buy dry beans!
- Dry beans & legumes (when available)- dry beans are about 1/4 of the price of canned beans-when Costco has them they are usually in larger quantities, so store in a large air-tight bin, or divide with a friend!
Herbs & Spices
- Sea salt– An amazing value for a huge container of high-quality, high-mineral Himalayan pink sea salt. You can also buy in the grinder version.
Costco does have a large selection of other herbs & spices at a good price. But, they are not organic or non-irradiated, which is preferred to optimize their amazing health properties.
The best price I have found for organic, non-irradiated spices is here.
- Ground Bison– We love this for anything we would use ground beef for; homemade meat sauce, hamburgers, meatloaf, etc.
- Chicken – Kirkland Organic Chicken is a good brand at a great price. I use the whole chicken, chicken breasts, and chicken thighs the most. After I make the whole chicken, I use the bones to make homemade bone broth.
- Aidelles Chicken Apple Sausage: a great price for things like my favorite breakfast casserole or sausage and peppers for a quick weeknight dinner. The packages are easy to freeze for what you don’t use right away!
- Ground Turkey: Great for turkey burgers, meat-sauce– I use this as a leaner substitute for ground beef or bison.
- Turkey Breast: Kirkland Whole Turkey breast has no additives, and is similar to a Boars head brand from the grocery store but is $3.99/lb compared to $10.99/lb.
- Tuna (canned): I used to buy WildPlanet tuna from Costco, but have recently found a similar quality brand for cheaper here.
- Smoked gouda– this is SO yummy sprinkled on top of a BBQ chicken pizza, or BBQ chicken quesedilla
- Feta cheese & goat cheese: Great on top of salads or stuffed inside chicken breast!
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese: great for homemade pizza night
- Fresh mozzarella: cue summertime meals with fresh tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Also great sliced and baked on a pizza.
- Frozen fruit: Costco has many frozen organic items that are on the Dirty Dozen list. I prefer their individual fruits (instead of the blends. Organic strawberries, organic blueberries, pineapple, and occasionally cherries are great. If you are buying blends just double check for no added sugars!
- Frozen veggies: We love their green beans, edamame, zucchini spirals, and stir-fry blends. They also have things like broccoli (although I prefer fresh roasted broccoli).
- Frozen fish: I love their Kirkland brand frozen (and all wild-caught) Mahi Mahi, Cod, and Sockeye Salmon. Each filet is individually vacuum sealed so you can cook only what you need.
- Other: Frozen muffins, mini egg frittatas, and the BEST gluten-free frozen cheese pizzas you can find.
Costco always has a great selection of fresh produce, which varies by season. Most things on the Dirty Dozen list, they have in organic. I save money by buying Clean 15 items in non-organic form (download your list here).
- Organic produce– Organic apples, avocados, bell peppers, and fresh organic berries in season.
- Salad kits– I love this option for a quick and easy salad option. I usually add my own salad dressing–since most of these come with dressings containing canola or soybean oil.
Kids Lunches & Snacks
- Fruit cups & applesauce: Mandarin orange cups, canned peaches, and unsweetened applesauce packets are a few of our favs–great for kids lunches & snacks.
- Dry fruit: pitted dates for sweetening homemade almond milk, smoothies, etc. dried figs, cherries, mangos, blueberries that I often use in place of fruit snacks for the kids.
- Snack bars: good selection of Rx bars, and lara bars at a good price!
- Individual Guacamole packets– these are so yummy and perfect for packed lunches. They’re a bit more expensive than DIY guacamole, but what you save in bad avocados is worth it! 🙂
- Freezer & Storage bags: I buy both storage AND freezer versions in quart-size and gallon-size. Freezer versions are more expensive than storage, so only use these for freezing!
- Disposable plates & utensils: I always like being prepared for a party 🙂
- Paper products: I have found their paper towels & toilet paper to be the best price for the quality— and they’ll ship it from Costco.com for FREE!
- Diapers & wipes: Made by the same company as Huggies or Pampers– great quality at the best price I’ve found on diapers (without having to subscribe to Amazon auto ship).
If you are considering a Costco membership– you can get up to a $20 gift card here!
Have you found any similar quality items at a better price? What do you LOVE buying from Costco? I’d love to hear…comment below!
This list is great! You answer, why get the “special” kind and if not a Costco, where. Just what I need.
This content is GOLD. THANK YOU!
I am so glad you found it helpful, Anne!