I’m a Nutritionist Who Shops at Costco for 2 — the Things I Always Buy

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  • As a nutritionist, I buy certain folds in bulk to have around for easy, wholesome meals. 
  • Nuts and paleo bars are great snacks I always like to have on hand. 
  • I often buy sources of protein like canned beans, chicken, and eggs.
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When I got my Costco membership four years ago, it seemed a little silly — I live in a city condo for two with no extra closet to store 36 rolls of

toilet paper
or basement freezer to stock with ice-cream bars. 

But as I earned my masters of science in nutrition and learned the importance of each micronutrient, I started to appreciate having staples that I could rely on for some of our regular meals since I’m always looking for ways to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Here are some foods I eat frequently and buy in bulk from Costco:

Eggs are a versatile breakfast staple in my home

costco omega 3 eggs

I like to buy the omega-3, free-range eggs.


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Eggs are so versatile, and we eat a ton in my house since we’re huge fans of breakfast burritos. I’ll scramble them with onions and peppers, chunks of potato, or even sauerkraut when I want to mix things up.

The ingredient is a good source of vitamin B12 and also contains all nine essential amino acids, which means it’s considered a complete protein.

I don’t eat a lot of fish, so I like that these are omega-3 eggs, meaning the chickens who laid them had a diet of flax seeds or other sources of the fatty acid. These eggs contain more heart-healthy fat than the traditional option.

Mandarins are a great source of vitamin C that don’t go bad too quickly

mandarins

They last a while in the fridge.


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I don’t buy a lot of produce at Costco because it tends to go bad before we can eat it all, but I make an exception for easy-peel mandarins since they last for several weeks in the fridge.

Each morning, I take a handful out to place in the fruit bowl on the counter.

I usually eat one right before taking my iron supplement because the vitamin C has been shown to helps increase the absorption of iron.

Costco’s mixed-nut butter is wholesome and simple

costco nut butter

This nut butter is a great source of healthy fats.


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Kirkland’s mixed-nut butter is my all-time favorite Costco discovery — I recommend it to my nutrition clients and use it almost daily.

The product’s mix of almonds and cashews with pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds makes for a spreadable and delicious staple, even without any salt or added sugar.

Fats are an essential part of any diet, so much so that up to 30% of your calories should come from wholesome sources like nuts.

Essential and particularly good for heart health, omega-3 fatty acids are often tied to oily fish, but nuts and seeds are good sources as well. Eating a handful of nuts several times per week has been shown to reduce the risk of

diabetes
and

heart disease
.

Apples make a great midmorning snack

costco gala apples

I love the size of these gala apples.


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Similar to the oranges, apples last in the fridge, and I find the ones with Disney characters on them to be a perfect size.

Pulling a couple out each day reminds me to eat them as an easy midmorning snack, and although I’m not one to skip a sweet treat, I find that fruit often hits my craving. 

I prefer cooking with olive oil

costco olive oil

Olive oil is believed to be a heart-healthy staple.


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I do most of my cooking in olive oil, so I keep it near the stove for easy access.

Olive oil is heart-healthy and rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood.

Cauliflower rice is the perfect way to sneak extra veggies into my diet

costco cauliflower rice

I sometimes add this cauliflower rice into my smoothies.


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I don’t usually advise sneaking vegetables in loved ones’ food, but I do put it in my own, and cauliflower rice is an easy way to get in an extra serving.

I like to mix an even ratio of rice and the cauliflower alternative to get a serving of whole grains and achieve that familiar texture.

I’ll also blend cauliflower rice into fruit smoothies since I don’t taste it but still get a serving of veggies.

In any form, cauliflower is nutrient-dense and full of satiating fiber with a healthy dose of vitamins C and K, so regular consumption has been shown to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Frozen fruits, especially blueberries, are convenient and rich in nutrients

costco blueberries

I put blueberries in my oatmeal, smoothies, and pancakes.


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Costco offers a nice variety of frozen fruit, and blueberries are my favorite since they thaw fast and I like to stir them into oatmeal several days a week, add them to smoothies, or pop them into pancake batter.

Blueberries are among nature’s best sources of antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce cell and DNA damage, and, in turn, keep you looking and feeling young. The fruit also been linked to a reduced risk of

high blood pressure
.

I love using Dave’s Killer Bread for sandwiches and toast

dave's killer bread

I like to pair this bread with nut butter.


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As far as sandwich bread goes, this one is my favorite. Packed with nuts and seeds, it has 5 grams of filling fiber and protein.

I like to toast it then spread the Kirkland nut butter on top and add sliced bananas.

However, each slice has 170 mg of sodium, and although the recommended daily limit is 2,300 mg (or about a teaspoon), I like to follow the American Heart Association’s guideline of 1,500 mg or less.

Nuts are an easy and filling snack to keep around

cashews from costco

I also pack these nuts as a snack to keep in my bag.


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I like to buy canisters of unsalted, unsweetened nuts in bulk and often mix dried fruit with options like almonds and cashews.

They’re great to have on the counter for a ready-to-go afternoon snack, and I also like to keep a serving in my bag to ward off “hanger” when I’m away from home or traveling.

Nuts are associated with lower LDL — often referred to as “bad” — cholesterol and a lessened risk of heart disease.

They’re a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and heart-healthy

vitamin E
.

Canned beans are convenient, and I can rinse out a lot of the added sodium

costco beans

I specifically love chickpeas.


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We eat a lot of beans in my house, and my favorite is chickpeas, which I’ll even bake into chocolate chip cookies.

I also like to keep the ingredient on hand to add protein to a salad, swirl into hummus, and mix into a soup or chili.

Although I like to buy bags of dried beans, I also keep the canned alternative in the cupboard for the sake of getting dinner made quickly.

Beans are often canned with a hefty amount of sodium, so buy the low-sodium option when available. Also, about 40% of that can be washed away — just drain the liquid and then give the ingredient a good rinse in a colander for at least 10 seconds.

In addition to being a sustainable source of protein, beans are high in fiber and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

These paleo bars are the perfect on-the-go snack

Screen Shot 2021 06 04 at 11.27.34 AM

Each bar contains 6 grams of protein.


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I don’t follow a paleo diet, but I do love these bars made with almonds, honey, and coconut.

They deliver 4 of the daily recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

Sometimes, I just need a snack I can throw in my bag.  

Kodiak Cakes’ pancake mix is customizable

Kodiak cake pancake mix

This pancake mix is full of protein.


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Created with 100% whole grains, I love that this mix is customizable since you can make it with mashed banana, yogurt, or milk to adjust the protein levels.

You can also use it to make pancakes, waffles, cookies, and muffins. I like to bake muffins with this mix and some dried cranberries, then freeze the leftovers for when I have a craving.

Tilapia is an affordable and mild-flavored fish

tilapia costco

Tilapia is a more affordable seafood option.


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Tilapia is a protein-rich, sustainable white fish with a low carbon footprint, as well as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you like to lift heavy at the gym, tilapia can be a healthy source of muscle-repairing protein without many added calories from carbs and fat.

One of the lower-priced fish, tilapia has a mild taste that will absorb flavors and pair well with mango or pineapple salsa, so I like to keep it on hand for tacos. 

I freeze chicken breasts for easy dinners

organic chicken

Chicken is a lean protein.


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Chicken breasts are great to have in the freezer to get dinner made quickly.

Taco salad is a regular meal of mine, so I’ll sprinkle some seasoning on a breast, then grill and shred it, topping it all with lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, Cotija cheese, and avocado. 

It’s a crowd-pleaser because everyone can add what they like, and my household of two usually has enough leftover for lunch the following day.

Chicken is a lean protein that’s rich in iron and vitamins B6 and B12.

Beecher’s macaroni and cheese pairs great with broccoli

beecher's mac and cheese costco

I make sure to enjoy foods like macaroni and cheese.


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I don’t eat a lot of dairy, but when I do, I prefer it in cheese form.

People are often surprised that as a nutritionist, I eat pizza, mac and cheese, and cookies, but I don’t believe in denying yourself. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and for me, that means eating cheese.

I like to roast broccoli alongside it because the best way to eat the veggie is also covered in cheese.

Click to keep reading Costco diaries like this one.

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