15 Healthy Foods to Buy at Costco, According to a Dietitian

<p>Kilito Chan / Getty Images</p>

Kilito Chan / Getty Images

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Barnes, RDN

Stocking your kitchen with the ingredients you need to prepare healthy meals is one of the most important ways to take care of your body, manage your weight, and ensure you and your family are properly fueled. Many people prefer to purchase food in bulk when grocery shopping to save money and cut back on the need for grocery runs.

Costco is a popular membership-only grocery store that offers its members heavy discounts on a variety of items, including fresh and frozen foods and bulk items. Because of its size, shopping at Costco can feel a bit overwhelming, but, as long as you know what to look for, you can find a variety of nutritious hidden gems on the grocery shelves.

As a dietitian, here are my approved picks from Costco to help you build a healthy and affordable shopping list.

Wyman’s of Maine Frozen Wild Blueberries

Blueberries are amongst the healthiest fruits you can eat. They’re high in plant pigments called anthocyanins, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body. Studies show that daily consumption of a one-third cup serving of blueberries can reduce the risk of several health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Wild blueberries are a more concentrated source of antioxidants than conventionally-grown berries and have a sweeter, more intense taste. Wild blueberry products can be pricey, so buying frozen wild blueberries in bulk from Costco can save you money.

Ruta Maya Organic Whole Bean Coffee

Coffee intake has been linked to a variety of health benefits, which is why it’s a part of my daily diet. Coffee is a major source of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, kahweol, and cafestol, and studies have linked regular coffee consumption with a decreased risk of liver disease, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Coffee can be a healthy addition to your diet as long as you don’t go overboard on sugary or calorie-laden additives like flavored creamers. Organic coffee is more expensive than conventionally-grown coffee, but you can find it at a discounted price at Costco.

Go Raw Sprouted Organic Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt

Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, fiber, and plant-based protein. Sprouting is a process that may help reduce the presence of antinutrient compounds found in foods like legumes, seeds, and grains that interfere with the bioavailability and absorption of minerals like iron.

Choosing sprouted products, like sprouted pumpkin seeds, may help improve the bioavailability of these nutrients. Try sprinkling sprouted pumpkin seeds on salads or pairing them with fresh or dried fruit for a filling snack. Unless you’re planning on using them up quickly, it’s best to store bulk seeds and nuts in your refrigerator or freezer to prevent them from spoiling.

Kirkland Signature Organic Dried Mangoes

Dried fruit is a nutritious and shelf-stable ingredient that can be used to prepare quick and healthy snacks for kids and adults alike. Dried mango is a good source of several important nutrients, such as vitamin C and folate, and can be paired with high-protein foods like nuts to make a filling snack.

When shopping for dried fruit, it’s best to choose unsweetened products. Dried mango is sweet enough on its own and sweetened dried fruit products can contain as much sugar as products like candy and cookies.

Kirkland Signature Organic Dried Mangoes are unsweetened and can be purchased in bulk at Costco.

Related: The Healthiest Canned and Dried Fruits

Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are a smart ingredient to have on hand in your kitchen. They can be added to dishes like chili, soups, and even baked goods to boost nutritional value and flavor.

Tomatoes are high in protective plant compounds like lycopene, a carotenoid plant pigment that has cardioprotective properties. Research shows that eating lycopene-rich tomatoes can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

A 2019 review that included 28 studies found that high tomato consumption and high blood levels of lycopene were associated with a 14% lower risk of heart disease, a 26% lower risk of stroke, and a 36% reduced risk of death.

Canned products, like diced tomatoes, are shelf-stable, so buying them in bulk at Costco is a budget-friendly option.

Goya Black Beans

Black beans are one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein. They provide 15.2 grams of protein per cooked cup as well as a whopping 15 grams of fiber, which covers over half of your daily fiber needs. They’re also high in magnesium, a mineral that plays important roles in blood sugar and blood pressure regulation that’s lacking in many people’s diets.

Keeping canned beans in your kitchen can help you make protein-rich meals in no time. For example, a can of black beans can be paired with precooked brown rice, sautéed frozen vegetables, and shredded cheese for a quick, yet nutritious plant-based meal. Canned beans can last for years when kept under the right conditions, so it’s safe and economical to stock up at Costco.

Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can be used to make delicious recipes like chia pudding, smoothies, breads, jams, and muffins. Chia seeds are high in fiber and are a good source of omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Chia seeds intake has been linked to several health benefits, such as reducing blood lipid levels and preventing constipation. One of my favorite ways to use chia seeds is to incorporate them into sugar-free jams. To make a quick raspberry jam, simply combine 1.5 cups of thawed frozen raspberries with two tablespoons of chia seeds, mix thoroughly, and then let it thicken in the fridge.

Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious, gluten-free ancient grain that’s high in fiber, protein, folate, iron, B6, and zinc. Because it’s higher in fiber and protein, it’s a more filling option than refined grains like white rice.

Plus, quinoa is easy to cook and makes a healthy base for dishes like stir-fries and grain bowls. Costco sells Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa in bulk, which makes a smart choice for larger households as well as people who use grains like quinoa frequently in their cooking.

Wild Planet Wild Pacific Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you’re looking for a shelf-stable protein source that can be quickly added to meals or taken on-the-go for a protein-rich snack, consider stocking up on sardines at Costco.

Sardines are an excellent source of protein, plus they’re packed with the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as well as calcium, iron, and B12. Studies show that people who eat fatty fish like sardines regularly tend to have lower rates of heart disease and cognitive decline.

Try topping salads with sardines or enjoying them on crackers for a quick snack.

Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna

Like sardines, canned tuna is packed with protein and provides a variety of essential vitamins and minerals like B12, zinc, selenium, and iodine. Unlike many seafood products, canned tuna stays fresh for up to five years, so it’s a smart food to purchase in bulk.

Fortunately, Costco offers sustainably-caught tuna brands, like Wild Planet, at a lower cost to members. Wild Planet tuna was ranked #1 for sustainability by Greenpeace, so you can feel good about supporting an environmentally-conscious brand.

Kirkland Signature Organic Broccoli Florets

If you find that fresh vegetables often go bad before you can use them, consider trying out frozen vegetables instead. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce and can be kept in the freezer for long-term storage.

Frozen broccoli can be quickly prepared and added to dishes for a boost of nutrients like fiber, folate, and potassium. Keeping a large bag of frozen vegetables in your freezer means you’ll always have a healthy option on hand.

Related: The Best Foods High in Fiber

Green Mountain Creamery Plain 2% Organic Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt contains more than double the amount of protein than what’s found in regular yogurt, so it’s a much more filling option. I like keeping Greek yogurt in my fridge to make parfaits and homemade salad dressings and to add a creamy texture to soups and sauces.

Higher-fat Greek yogurts, such as full-fat or 2% yogurt, are creamier and more satisfying than fat-free products and contain higher amounts of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A. Costco offers several Greek yogurt products, but Green Mountain Creamery 2% Greek Yogurt is my top pick.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, Unflavored

Collagen is a popular nutritional supplement, but, unlike many health trends, there’s evidence to back its benefits. For example, research suggests that consuming collagen regularly may help improve bone density and enhance skin health.

Vital Proteins is one of my favorite collagen brands, and it can be purchased at a discount by Costco members. Try adding collagen peptides to hot or cold beverages like coffee, tea, and smoothies or incorporating it into oats and chia pudding.

Kirkland Signature Organic Creamy Almond Butter

Nut butters are a staple in many kitchens. They’re nutritious, easy to use, and relatively affordable.

Costco offers a variety of nut butters, including organic almond butter. Organic almond butter can be pricey, so purchasing it in a larger size at Costco can save you money. Unlike many nut butter products, Kirkland Signature Organic Creamy Almond Butter doesn’t contain any added sugars or oils. It’s made with just one ingredient: organic roasted almonds.

Keep this almond butter in the fridge after opening it and you’ll have a convenient source of healthy fats and protein on hand to add to sandwiches, overnight oats, smoothies, and baked goods.

Wildbrine Raw Organic Sauerkraut

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi offer a variety of health benefits. Fermented foods contain probiotic microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which may help improve digestive health. Studies suggest that following a diet high in fermented foods, like sauerkraut, may help encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, which could protect against digestive disorders and promote overall health.

Wildbrine Raw Organic Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage product that can be found at your local Costco. Sauerkraut has a tangy flavor that pairs well with savory meat and vegetable-based dishes and can also be enjoyed straight out of the jar for a probiotic-rich snack.

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Read the original article on Health.