What’s not to love about Costco?
(Well, besides the long lines, the unexpected $400 receipt, and no longer having food samples… ha!)
Despite Costco shopping trips costing us dearly in two of our precious resources (time and money), we still somehow make room in our schedules and budgets for this amazing creation of American consumerism.
Costco is here to stay, and it’s clear that we all love it – so why not learn to take advantage of it to help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals?
In this first edition of a Costco grocery haul, I’ll show you 10 of my favorite items that I use and recommend to all of my 1:1 online coaching clients.
Before we get into this month’s list, let’s do a quick recap of what makes Costco (and stores like it, such as Sam’s Club, Winco, Aldi, etc.) so great to help parents like you meal prep for your family:
- You buy in bulk, so it’s cheaper per serving
- You buy in bulk, so you have to shop less often
- You have fewer choices per product, so you have less decision fatigue
- Costco/club-brand products are generally name-brand quality (just repackaged)
Here are this month’s top 10 Costco picks for you, including some brief notes to help you out!
1. Greek Yogurt
[$5.89; 8 servings; 100 CAL, 18P/7C/0F per serving]
Could this list have begun with any other product?? If you’ve been around Blue Shoes Fitness for any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard me talk about how wonderful this yogurt is. I don’t care that it’s organic, I don’t care that it’s nonfat, I don’t even care that it’s “Greek yogurt.” What I do care about is how versatile this yogurt is, how inexpensive it is, how delicious it is, and how impossible it is to beat the macros by nearly any other food out there. Is that enough reasons? Shall I go on? Haha this yogurt is a stapl in our fridge, and I use it to thicken my protein shakes (and add even more protein!), as a snack topped with berries and oats, and as a heavy cream substitute for making creamy pasta sauces. It’s the best $5.89 you’ll spend at Costco for sure.
2. Dave’s Killer Bread
[$7.79; 34 servings; 110 CAL, 5P/22C/1.5F per serving]
I went a little crazy blabbing on and on about the yogurt above, so I’ll keep the rest of these short and sweet for you haha. Dave’s Killer Bread is a staple in fitness circles – sure it’s hip and trendy, but it also tastes really really good and can give you an extra 10 grams of protein if you use it on a sandwich! Additionally, Costco sells this two loaf pack which keeps the price per loaf very similar to ordinary “non-Killer” bread.
3. Daily Multi Vitamin
[$13.49; 500 servings; – CAL, -P/-C/-F per serving]
I call this my “daily safety net.” In case my diet on any given day or over any length of time is deficient in any important vitamins and micronutrients, a daily multi vitamin like this one can help you to cover your bases. There’s nothing fancy about it, and it won’t make you magically feel better by taking it or anything like that, but I can safely recommend this to most of my clients for most of their goals. If you buy this bottle for yourself, it will last you almost a year and a half; if you and your spouse each take it, you shouldn’t need another one for about 8 months.
4. Bibigo Sticky White Rice Bowls
[$4.99 on sale; 8 servings; 310 CAL, 6P/71C/1F per serving]
This is another product/concept that I’ve talked at length about on social media posts, podcast episodes, etc. For any of my fellow parents out there, having the ability to “whip up” a meal in less than 2 minutes is invaluable. Whether it’s for your hangry kiddos, or maybe your hangry spouse, or maybe even your hangry self, having go-to microwaveable meals that will keep you full and on track with your goals is the best. Besides frozen chicken nuggets and vegetable steamer bags, 90 second rice bowls like these are a gamechanger for your whole family. We eat a few of these a week, usually when we get home from running errands later than expected, or not having time to cook a full-blown family dinner. Plus, sticky rice is way better than regular rice, right?
5. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
[$13.29; 54 servings; 360 CAL, 10P/49C/12F per serving]
Speaking of quick, easy to whip up meals, here’s another staple in our house. Classic blue box mac and cheese. As a parent, you quickly learn the value of cooking a single meal that you AND your kids AND your spouse can all enjoy – rather than cooking three separate meals. Mac and cheese is not particularly low calorie or high protein, but I also don’t see a huge need to make it low calorie or high protein either. If you throw a few microwaveable chicken nuggets on the side of some mac, you could easily have a filling meal with less than 600 calories and more than 30 grams of protein!
6. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray
[$10.99; 1,532 servings; 0 CAL, 0P/0C/0F per serving]
My wife and I aren’t fancy people by any means, but this is one thing that might be worth joining the craze. First of all, spray oil of any kind can be a huge upgrade to pouring liquid oils into pans for sauteeing, browning, or roasting. They usually get the job done jsut as well as any other oil, but will literally hundreds of fewer calories. On top of that, avocado oil specifically is known for having a high smoke point, which translates as being harder to burn for most of us. Even on medium heat, canola and vegetable oils can burn, so avocado oil spray is a great way to cover your bases no matter what you’re cooking.
7. La Croix Sparkling Water
[$6.99; 24 servings; 0 CAL, 0P/0C/0F per serving]
Did I mention that we aren’t fancy people? Haha we don’t typically buy sparkling water, but this can be an excellent tool for keeping your daily calories lower if you tend to drink many of your calories via sodas and juices. Flavored sparkling water is just water that’s been carbonated and had flavoring added to it, so it’s light and crisp and almost always calorie free. The carbonation can also be a great way to stay full while dieting in a calorie deficit!
8. 88/12 Ground Beef
[$2.89/lb; – servings; 210 CAL, 22P/0C/13F per serving]
Ground beef usually presents an interesting dilemma: the protein content is inversely related to the price of the ground beef at any given percentage of leanness. 73/27 beef tends to be wayyyyy cheaper than 93/7 beef. This isn’t inherently a problem, but it can make reaching your protein, calorie, and financial goals feel like they’re at way with one another. Costco provides a great workaround, which we use all the time. Costco ground beef is 88/12, meaning that it’s fairly lean which keeps the protein high, but not so lean that you lose flavor. It’s also always under $3.00/lb, which is often the price you’ll see for much fattier beef at other stores. The catch is, of course, that you buy five or six pounds at a time, but it’s easy to freeze and thaw back out later on. This is another game changing product!
9. Olde Thompson Everything Bagel Seasoning
[$4.49; 408 servings; 5 CAL, 0P/1C/0F per serving]
If you love avocado toast and you haven’t ever topped it with everything bagel seasoning, you’re missing out! Go to Costco right now and get some of this. As a bonus, this savory topping is sugar free, which keeps the calories super low. In fact, the entire ingredient list is sesame seeds, salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Yum!
10. Maas River Frozen Green Beans
[$9.59; 27 servings; 35 CAL, 2P/4C/0F per serving]
Remember how we talked about having “carbs on demand” by way of rice bowls? Frozen vegetables work in exactly the same way, and provide quick and easy micronutrients to keep your body going strong. These green beans are also a tasty and low calorie way to boost your satiety from your meals. Again, the main perk of buying in bulk is that your price per serving drops dramatically, which puts these vegetables on par with their raw, fresh counterparts.
That’s it for this edition of Costco favorites! Did you enjoy this article? Was it helpful and inspiring for your next grocery trip?
What products or types of products would you like to see in the next edition of a Costco haul? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to consider your requests for our next trip!