30 Healthy Nutritionist Approved Items to Buy at Costco

Costco is DANGEROUS for me and I usually end up leaving with a cart full of items I never even knew I needed.  When we moved to a different town last year, it put some distance between the two of us. For me, Costco is not a place to simply swing by for JUST one thing (yes, I’m looking at you guy in the gym shorts who casually went to Costco for a lone rotisserie chicken), but it’s an event, especially if you do something totally outlandish like go without a list. Even though there are just two of us in my house and I buy most of my fresh produce elsewhere, there are plenty of great items and deals to be had in bulk at Costco that will work for a household of just one or two!

Below, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Costco picks for you guys!

1. Kirkland Organic Greek Yogurt

Costco Kirkland Organic Greek Yogurt
I love this stuff and I use it for so many things! I use it in place of both mayo and sour cream, I use it for a snack with berries and ground flax seed and I even use it in things like tomato soup to add creaminess.

2. Kirkland Cage Free Egg Whites

Costco Kirkland Egg Whites
These are SO convenient and I am not wasting yolks when I use this product. I use these for omelets that I will eat for any meal, for make-ahead breakfast cups and for the rare times I bake and the recipe calls for egg.

3. Kirkand Organic Hummus Single Serve Cups

Costco Kirkland Organic Hummus
These are convenient and delicious. These are a lunchtime and road trip staple in our house! I love these single serve containers because you don’t have to worry about figuring out a serving size and since they are individually packaged, they stay fresh longer!

4. Kirkland Organic Hard Boiled Eggs

Costco Kirkland Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
It does not get easier than this! Use these as a quick grab and go breakfast or addition to a lunch, an addition to a quinoa and greens bowl, an addition to a ramen bowl or to make egg salad.

5. Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

Costco Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
THESE. These crackers are everything. They are delicious, filling and made with great ingredients. These are gluten-free but they’re still a real crowd pleaser, everyone loves them! These big boxes are way cheaper than the smaller single boxes sold at grocery stores and they make for an amazing charcuterie or lunch box addition and go great with a cup of soup!

6. Suja Organic Cold-Pressed Uber Greens

Costco Suja Organic Uber Greens
I am almost always team smoothie over team juice because juice lacks the fiber smoothies have. This juice has a reasonable amount of sugar per serving (4 grams per 8 oz whereas there are 23 grams of sugar in 8 oz of orange juice). I like to have this juice as a pick-me-up and I also really love mixing it with the Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and a pinch of sea salt to make a natural electrolyte drink.

7. Harmless Harvest Harmless Coconut Water

Costco Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
I rarely consume drinks with even natural sugars and that includes coconut water. When I do consume coconut water, this is my favorite coconut water. The taste is amazing and it is a great component to a natural electrolyte drink. While it contains 14 grams of added sugar per 8 oz serving, it also contains 15% daily value of potassium. The price of a pack of this water at Costco can’t be beat!

8. Tasty Bite Vegetable Tikka Masala/Madras Lentils

Costco Organic Tasty Bite Madras Lentils
These super flavorful vegetarian options are also gluten free and are made up of real, natural ingredients. Pair with brown rice or cauliflower rice (sometimes I mix the two!) and bulk it up with fresh or frozen veggies for the easiest lunch and dinner ever!

9. The Good Bean Organic Sea Salt Chickpea Snacks

Costco The Good Bean Organic Chickpeas Sea Salt
Use these on a salad, on top of soup or eat them plain as a great snack option for on the go. Add these in to a homemade trail mix for a satisfying salty crunch that is good for you! One serving contains 20% daily value of fiber, 12% daily value of protein and 8% daily value of iron!

10. Volupta Organic Dried Goji Berries

Costco Volupta Organic Goji Berries
Y’all know I love the facts and it is a fact that goji berries are packed with antioxidants. Add goji berries to salads, on yogurt and in oatmeal. This brand is organic and contains no added sugars.

11. Banza Chickpea Rotini

Costco Banza Rotini Chickpea
This option is great for those who may be obtaining protein from plant based sources as it contains protein rich chick peas as well as pea protein. Use this in place of tradiational pasta and you will have a hearty, filling meal. One serving of this pasta contains 14 grams of protein and 30% daily value of fiber.

12. Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti

Costco Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti
Packed with even more nutrients than the Banza Rotini and made with just ONE ingredient, the Black Bean Spaghetti is an amazing choice. This spaghetti has a whopping 25 grams of protein per serving (which is 50% of the daily value!!) and also contains 48% of the daily value of calcium, 36% of the daily vale of potassium, 32% of the daily value of iron and 15% of the daily value of calcium. Use this hot with tomato sauce as you would regular spaghetti, toss it with some olive oil and cheese and broccoli or use it as a base for pasta salad or pad thai! If you want your meal to go farther, use half black bean spaghetti and half zucchini noodles!

13. Organic Deglet Noor Pitted Dates

Costco Deglet Noor Organic Dried Dates
These are an awesome snack that are full of tons of natural sugar. Eat one or two of these with a smear of nut butter, a sprinkle of chia seed and a pinch of unsweetened coconut as a sweet treat or use these in the base of a recipe such as my Cacao Bites. Add one to a smoothie for sweetness!

14. Whisps Parmesean Cheese Crisps

Costco Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps
These are ridiculously tasty. While you could toss them on a salad or soup, I just eat them plain. Cheese that doesn’t need to be refrigerated? Yes, please! These make a great road trip snack, boat snack or addition to a charcuterie board.

15. Skinny Pop Single Serving Bags

Costco Skinny Pop
A super simple snack with just popcorn, oil and salt these single size packs are great for on the go.

16. Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries

Costco Driscoll's Organic Raspberries
While I don’t usually buy produce at Costco unless I am feeding a crowd, I can singlehandedly take down one of their large containers of berries before they go bad! They tend to rotate deals on berries so I leave with either blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries depending on what they have a good deal on.

17. Whole Organic Chickens “Fryers”

Costco Fresh Organic Chickens
Roast one of these in the oven for dinner and use the leftover meat for shredded tacos or chicken salad (made with Greek yogurt, of course!). Boil the bones with celery, onion and carrots for super flavorful broth to use in soup or to cook your rice or quinoa in.

18. Good Foods Organic Avocado Mash 90 Calorie Packs/Good Foods Tableside Chunky Guacamole

Costco Good Foods Organic Avocado Mash Guacamole

Costco Good Foods Tableside Chunky Guacamole
This avocado mash is perfect for veggie dipping or toast smearing and this guacamole is my absolute favorite store bought brand and makes any burrito bowl or taco that much better with no effort!

19. Kirkland Signature Organic Blueberries

Costco Kirkland Signature Organic Blueberries
Defrost some of these to use in banana egg white pancakes, plain yogurt, in oatmeal or in smoothies.

20. Crepini Egg Thins

Costco Crepini Egg Thins
These are amazing to use in place of tortillas or other wraps. These are great filled with taco filling like beans and cheese, banana and peanut butter or other sandwich toppings!

21. Mini Babybel Cheese

Costco Mini Babybel Original Cheese
Single serving cheeses that are already portioned out are great for busy lives and great for portion control.

22. Imperial Garden Organic Edamame

Costco Organic Imperial Garden Edamame
Frozen edamame is a great snack or appetizer. Remove some of the soy beans from their shells and use in soups, salads or add to a side dish.

23. Tropicland Organic Riced Cauliflower

Costco Tropicland Organic Riced Cauliflower
Frozen riced cauliflower is so convenient and so much easier than making your own. Use this in place of or mixed half and half with regular rice. Use it in rice and beans or fried rice, the possibilities are honestly endless.

24. Bibigo Organic Chicken Potstickers

Costco Bibigo Organic Potstickers
A super easy meal option that combines good ingredients mixed together inside of a little dough pocket. Even as a vegetarian I keep these on hand because people love them!

25. Navitas Organics Organic Cacao Powder

Costco Navitas Organic Cacao Powder
OHMYGOD. This stuff is DELISH. Cacao powder is the raw version of cocoa powder and it is packed with way more nutrients that cocoa powder. I use this cacao powder with dates in my Cacao Bites as mentioned in number 13. I also use it to make the creamiest hot coco and in any recipe place of regular coco powder. It is so much richer than regular coco powder and it is packed with may more nutrients!

26. Nature’s Intent Organic Chia Seeds

Nature's Intent Organic Chia Seeds
These tiny little guys are full of nutrients. They contain 11 grams of fiber and are packed with magnesium and phosphorus. Use chia seeds in whatever you are eating from chia pudding, chia jam or in baked goods.

27. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts

Costco Manitoba Organic Hemp Hearts
Hemp hearts are packed with protein, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Use these in smoothies, to top a bowl of yogurt and fruit, in scrambled eggs, on top of salads or mixed into your favorite pasta dish.

28. Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa

Costco Kirkland Organic Quinoa
This is a great pantry staple. Use it in side dishes, main dishes, and even sweeter breakfast dishes. Freeze cooled, cooked quinoa in ziplock bags for super quick meals!

29. Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock

Costco Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock
When you don’t have time to make your own, use this to make soups, risottos, and use in place of water to cook rice, savory oatmeal or quinoa.

30. Del Monte Fresh Fruit Bowl

Costco Del Monte Fruit Bowl
This is great for parties and group events but is also great to have already cut up fruit in the fridge and with the variety, it is likely there will be something everyone likes!

The Absolute Best Cowboy Caviar – A Healthy and Versatile Recipe!

A dip full of veggies has to be healthy, right?! This is NOT the case when you LOAD it up with sugar as is the case in some cowboy caviar recipes I have seen! This quick and easy recipe uses a little bit of agave and is loaded with flavor that is only enhanced the longer it is allowed to marinate for. 

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Cowboy Caviar 

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Rest Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:
1 Red Onion, Minced
1 Green Pepper, Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 15 Oz Can Chick Peas or Black Eyed Peas, Rinsed & Drained
1 15 Oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed & Drained
2 Stalks Celery, Diced
1 Lb Tomatoes, Diced 
1.5 Cups of Corn Kernals, Cooked
Optional: Bunch of Cilantro, Parsley or Scallions, Minced

Dressing:
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Sea Salt, More to Taste
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: Juice From 1/2 Lime

Instructions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients for the dressing and slowly whisk in the vinegar, agave and oil. Mix well and set aside while you prepare the salad. 
  2. Combine the red onion, green pepper, red pepper, chick peas or black eyed peas, black beans, celery, tomatoes and corn in a bowl. Add the option herbs if you are using them.
  3. Add the dressing and stir well. 
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight if possible, the longer this sits, the better it gets! 

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This cowboy caviar recipe is one of my favorites because it is so versatile. It works well served as a side dish (pair with grilled seafood or meat for a perfect summer meal!), a dip with crispy corn chips, as a topping on tacos, with eggs for breakfast and even on top of some crisp greens as a salad. Stir in some cooked quinoa to the cowboy caviar and you have a super easy weekday bring to work lunch. If you don’t like chick peas or black eyed peas, double up on black beans or add in pinto or kidney beans! 

Grilled Romaine – The Easiest Salad You’ve Ever Made

I am not sure if it’s because I live somewhere that is cold and cloudy for the majority of the year, but I genuinely find summer to be absolutely magical. From the time spent outdoors to the colorful and flavorful foods I feel so inspired to create meals with, I believe all aspects of glorious summer are meant to be shared. With meals that are lighter and more laid back, I have really been trying to embrace the less is more motto. Instead of creating a massive dinner salad using everything in my fridge, I tried my hand at grilling some romaine!

The first time I had grilled romaine was several years ago and I was recently reminded of it. This bare bones recipe below came to life when I was going to make a giant salad for dinner but was pressed for time. The fat from the oil, acidity from the lemon juice, salt from the cheese and sweetness of the tomatoes make this simple dish so tasty. Go ahead and give this grilled salad recipe a try – you’ll be surprised at how good it is!

Grilled Romaine – The Easiest Salad You’ve Ever Made

Makes 2 Servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Shredded Parmesean Cheese
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your grill.
  2. Halve the head of romaine lengthwise. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Brush, drizzle or spray olive oil on the cut sides of the lettuce and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place romaine cut side down on the grill. Grill for 5 minutes, until the lettuce is charred and slightly wilted.
  5. Remove from the grill and immediately squeeze lemon juice over the lettuce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Top with halved tomatoes and enjoy!

Want some variety? This recipe would also be amazing with fresh herbs sprinkled on top, balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice and blue cheese could be substituted for parmesean. When using cheeses on salads, I prefer to use strong, sharp cheese as I feel the strong flavor goes farther and you have to use less!

Current Obsessions – Late Spring Edition

As we slowly head into summer, I’ve been focusing on positive changes to my health and my environment! Wellness is NOT just about what you’re munching on and how many workouts you squeeze into a week, wellness is about

1. Skincare
Something I have been so excited about lately is skincare. I have been purchasing my own amber dropper bottles and filling them with blends of jojoba oil, tea tree oil, rose hip oil and sometimes lemon oil to use on my face. This, combined with finding a skincare routine that I can stick with, has helped me to become more comfortable in my own skin than I have felt in a long time. Two other things that have really helped my skin are: actually washing my face instead of just using makeup wipes (I am so sorry to all the estheticians who are rolling their eyes at this, I always just thought the makeup wipes alone were enough!) and getting rid of all of my makeup with talc in it as I realized it was causing a lot of skin issues for me!

Since I have been making my own face oil, I was looking at my husband’s bottle of beard oil and when I realized that it was just a blend of argan and jojoba oil, he got his own special beard blend too!

2. Organizing
We moved into our house in August and we have been so busy that I am still unpacking and organizing! Needless to say, I am really embracing spring cleaning right now. I am working on it a little bit at a time and while I unpack I have been able to organize our house, figure out what storage we need to build, buy or utilize and get rid of stuff we don’t need. We just finished building out our laundry room and my office and I am not going to lie, it actually makes things I “have” to do (like laundry) more enjoyable! Having a space that is organized is more aesthetically pleasing and I personally find it very calming. As an added bonus, the more organized I am the more time I save because I exactly where things are. I also end up saving money by not having to buy duplicates of stuff we can’t find (we have been SO SO guilty of this). My go-to’s for organizing have been not being afraid to throw out junk, donating stuff that I don’t need and lots of clear storage bins and cute baskets!

3. Taking Care of What I Do Have
According to the EPA, landfills received 10.5 million tons of textiles in 2015. That number is absolutely shocking to me! While organizing, I donated or sold about ¾ of my clothing, shoes and accessories. With fewer items, I am able to better care for the items I am left with. Taking care of what I do have has included finding better storage solutions, taking things that need to be altered or mended to the tailor and cleaning my jewelry and shoes. By taking care of what I do have, my items will also last longer which keeps my textile waste down!

4. At Home Workouts and Meditation
Guess what? I am human. Even as someone who is literally on the heels of being a full-blown nutrition professional, my food choices and exercise schedule are NOT always picture perfect and I packed on a few pounds over the winter. I have been taking advantage of YouTube’s plentiful selection of workout videos, yoga videos and guided meditation videos. I love this option because they can be done literally anywhere, by all fitness levels and with no equipment. As for meditation – WOW. This is something that I find to be both relaxing and revitalizing. Feeling parts of my body and the functions of my body that get lost in the day to day chaos literally never gets old for me!

Building A Better Bowl or Salad

One of my friends asked me for some meal ideas and after I responded, I realized that a lot of people freak out when they are thinking about making healthier changes to their diet because they picture themselves constantly hungry and chewing on a boring salad for every meal. Luckily, this is not the case and to prove it, I have compiled a long list with ideas of simple ingredients you can mix and match to create flavorful, healthy meals. Checkout the downloadable version of the list below! Print it out or pull it up on your phone when you are at the grocery store or poking around in your fridge to inspire you!

Downloadable + Printable Bowl, Salad & Soup Idea List

Some Ideas To Get You Started:

  • Southwest Salad:
    Romaine + Quinoa + Black Beans + Corn + Onion + Tomato + Avocado + Salsa
  • Greek Salad:
    Romaine + Garbanzo Beans + Green Peppers + Cucumber + Tomato + Artichokes + Hummus
  • Pad Thai:
    Zucchini Noodles + Edamame + Red Peppers + Carrots + Sugar Snap Peas + Tofu + Peanuts
  • Chicken Soup Bowl:
    Chicken Broth + Brown Rice + Grilled Chicken + Broccoli + Radishes + Parsley
  • Asian Noodle Soup Bowl:
    Vegetable Broth + Rice Noodles + Shrimp + Kale + Mung Bean Sprouts + Scallions + Sesame Seed Oil

This is a great way to use up leftover produce from the week or to throw together a quick lunch or dinner that can be easily tweaked for a variety of preferences in a family! For a fun spin on dinner or to feed a group, pick one or two items from the base list and put out a bunch of toppings, proteins and dressings to let everyone make their own!

Perfect Lower Fat Pesto

When I am working with someone and helping them make healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle, something I always try to do is focus on what they CAN eat, what they CAN do and what they ARE capable of. I believe focusing on the positive and what can remain the same provides comfort for clients and makes the changes less daunting. One of the ways I do this is by helping them swap out items for better choice alternatives. One of the ways this can be done in recipes is by tweaking things like fat, sugar and salt in classic recipes while keeping the main flavors the same.

This pesto recipe is full of bright herby and rich nutty flavors and goes well with sooo many things. While this healthier pesto contains so many of the amazing flavors of a traditional pesto, this recipe has half the calories and half the fat compared to a traditional pesto you might buy at the store or make at home! This recipe also omits parmesan cheese making it a completely vegan pesto recipe.

Perfect Lower Fat Pesto

Makes 6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Cups (3 Ounces) Fresh Basil
½ Cup Walnut Halves & Pieces
3 Medium Sized Cloves of Garlic
1 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Cup Water
½ Tsp Salt

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, blend walnuts and garlic for thirty seconds.

Healthier Pesto 3

2. Pluck off the basil leaves from the stems and discard stems. Add the leaves to the food processor along with the vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Blend in the food processor for a few seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary then add in the olive oil.

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3. Once everything is well incorporated, slowly add in the water until well combined. Feel free to add the water in 1 Tbsp at a time so that you get the consistency you’d like. The more water you add, the thinner the pesto will be!

4. Once you have reached your desired consistancy by adding the water, taste and add little more salt if you’d like!

Healthier Pesto 1

Use this pesto on pasta (my favorite is Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi!), in a potato salad, to cover roasted or grilled veggies or even as a spread on a sandwich. Mix with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and use as dip!