If you love a bargain and you love healthy eating (or you need some inspiration), this list is for you! Registered dietitians — who happen to be regular Costco shoppers — weighed in with their favorite Costco finds. Along with rotisserie chicken (a weeknight staple for many), value-priced nuts, affordable fresh produce and milk, here are 16 nutritionist-approved picks our experts swear by. You’re going to want to add these finds to your next Costco haul.
1. Wild Frozen Blueberries
Wild blueberries are filled with polyphenols and antioxidants, but setting aside the health properties, they also taste sweet, juicy and delicious, so it’s no surprise dietitians stock up. “I like to keep a big bag in the freezer so I’ll always have them on hand for oatmeal, smoothies and pancakes, even in the middle of winter,” says Karen Ansel, RD, author of “Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging”.
2. Organic Sweet Dark Cherries
Can you see a theme here? “Frozen fruits (and veggies) are just as nutritious as fresh,” says Chelsey Amer, RD, New York City-based nutritionist and author of “Thrive in 5“. Integrative and culinary dietitian, Marisa Moore goes for a big bag of these dark cherries at a can’t-beat price. Though it’s an obvious winter pick (when cherries are out of season), she buys them in the summer, too, because, “the cherries are pitted and ready to use!”
3. Frozen Cauliflower Rice
If you’re on the fence about cauliflower rice, this might just get you across the line. “Microwavable cauliflower rice takes the prep work and mess out of the meal time equation,” explains Jamie Lee McIntyre, RD. Cauliflower rice increases the volume of food on your plate for fewer calories and carbs, she says, which helps you increase your serving size and boost your veggie intake for a fraction of the calories. To try this strategy, McIntyre suggests adding “cauliflower rice to a bowl of mashed potatoes or cup of rice.”
4. Frozen Organic Broccoli
Kelsey Stricklen, RD, at Root Functional Medicine in Grand Rapids, MI, is a fan of the frozen veggies at Costco, but her top pick is the broccoli. “I’m convinced Costco has THE best frozen broccoli,” she says. Liz Shaw, Nutrition Expert and Author at Shaw Simple Swaps, is another raving fan! “Convenience is king in my house and these frozen broccoli florets constantly deliver a delicious, high-quality product without sacrificing any nutrition.” What makes this bag of broccoli a top pick is that it’s mostly florets, not stalks.
Stricklen says that keeping a stash of frozen veggies means that no matter what else is going on, you can always ensure you have a balanced plate. At my house, these staples come in handy, not only when I’m throwing together dinner, but when we order takeout or delivery, which is often light in produce. Because frozen veggies are already prepped, our veggies are ready to eat before we set the table.
5. Eat Smart Sweet Kale Gourmet Salad
Amy Gorin, RDN, a plant-forward registered dietitian nutritionist in the New York City area keeps this salad stocked in her fridge for easy meals. Plus, it’s tasty and colorful enough to use when entertaining. “A friend actually asked me for the recipe once, and she was so shocked that it’s a bagged salad! I love crunch in my salads, so the combo of cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts is the perfect compliment to the roasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. You get a lot of filling fiber in this salad! If I’m eating it for a meal, I’ll often add in a couple of hardboiled eggs and pair with a piece of whole-grain toast or a small handful of whole-grain crackers for an easy lunch or dinner.”
6. The Kirkland Signature Oven Browned Turkey Breast
Whether serving guests or keeping weekdays simple, Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club recommends this Costco find. “This whole turkey breast is delicious and costs less than half the price of supermarket deli turkey. It stays moist because you only slice it as you need it and you can choose to cut thicker or thinner pieces depending on how you wish to use it.”
7. Kirkland Signature Cage Free Liquid Egg Whites
“This product is a super easy way to get 100 percent pure egg whites without having to waste any yolks,” says Harris-Pincus. Though it’s considered unsafe to eat raw egg whites, this carton is pasteurized so you can incorporate them safely into smoothies, raw cookie dough or any other uncooked recipe, she explains.
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8. Kirkland Signature Nonfat Plain Organic Greek Yogurt
Harris-Pincus describes this staple as “a blank canvas to take almost any dish from savory to sweet.” Need some ideas? She suggests using the yogurt to replace fat when baking, adding it to smoothies to boost protein, or to replace sour cream in entrees.
9. Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
“Hardly any of us eat the two weekly servings of fish that are recommended for heart health,” says Ansel, who offers this solution: “Canned salmon is such an easy way to squeeze in a serving, plus it’s packed with good-for-you omega-3 fats so it’s a great alternative to tuna.”
10. Trident Seafoods Frozen Alaskan Salmon Burgers
“The frozen salmon burgers are a lifesaver around my house!” says Rochelle Davies, RD, of Love Nurture Nourish. They go from the freezer to skillet (or grill pan) to plate in about 10 minutes flat. “The short cook time helps us on sports nights when we’re short on time or nights when ravenous kids are quickly headed to the ‘hangry’ stage,” she says.
11. Wholly Guacamole Classic Guacamole Mini Cup
This lunchbox-sized pick is an ideal choice because, not only do they taste great, but the individually-portioned packs are perfectly portable. Plus, Melissa Nieves, RD, founder of Fad Free Nutrition Blog adds that because they’re individually sealed, they don’t spoil as easily as a bigger tub of guacamole. Amer likes that they’re full of healthy fats and make delicious and nutritious snacking easy.
If you don’t envision your family getting through these minis before the expiration date, you can always stash them in the freezer. They’ll thaw beautifully in a lunch box or under warm, running water.
12. Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter
“I adore almond butter but it’s so expensive!” says, Nieves. “This one from Costco is 27 oz and costs around $9, which is what a smaller tub costs at a regular supermarket.” Sports dietitian and creator of the Fit Fueling course for active women, Kelly Jones, RD, also recommends this pick. “I find this one to be creamy from the top to the bottom of the jar, while also being more economical.”
13. Kirkland Brown Rice & Quinoa Pouches with Amaranth and Garlic
Here’s a meal prep short cut you can feel really good about. “Each cup has 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, which is a significant bump from plain rice,” says Jones, who explains that the nutrients in this whole grain dish can help improve feelings of fullness.
14. Dave’s Killer Bread
Taylor Sutton, RD, stocks up on these healthy loaves at Costco. “We try to change up our weekly sandwich routine so freezing it in half loaves is a great option when you buy this bread in bulk,” she says. Freezing bread is like pushing the pause button so it won’t get moldy or stale.
15. Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
Bargain hunters will appreciate the excellent value when buying these crackers at Costco (only $8.99 for a huge box with 2 bags inside), according to Stricklen. “I love these crackers because they are made with nutrient dense ingredients, are lower in carbohydrates than many other crackers, and are great for people with gluten-sensitivity since they are gluten-free. You can dip them in nut butter, hummus or guacamole for a snack or add some healthy carbs with your lunch by dipping them in tuna salad,” she says.
16. Kirkland Organic Pure Maple Syrup
Everyone loves a deal, and everyone loves maple syrup, so this topped the list for many RDs. “It’s true that sugar is sugar, whether it’s maple syrup or cane sugar, but I find a little bit goes a long way with pure maple syrup (so I end up using less sweetener),” explains Stricklen.