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!

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!

Goal Planning

I am, by nature, a planner. For example, when we travel I always make a plan. I seek out recommendations and reviews and I figure out what places we must visit. Within my plan, outside of our “musts”, I also list multiple options for whatever we are in the mood for when we are actually on the trip. I absolutely believe that while planning may take a bit of extra time, in the long run it leads to a more satisfactory outcome and less anxiety. As I have gotten older and possibly wiser (?), my short-term and long-term plans end up being framed a lot like the way I create travel agendas in that after analyzing what I hope to achieve and after completing any necessary research, I am be able to create a plan of execution that also allows some flexibility for the variables and unexpected in life.

Goals can oftentimes seem distant or vague. When setting goals, I like to break them down into smaller pieces and the more specific they are, the higher the chance there is for success. I like to not only think about what I am doing but why I am doing it, including what has or has not worked for me in the past. What makes this goal important to me and how will my life or future benefit from it? Lastly, and this has been huge for me to overcome, I have realized that I cannot achieve my goals alone.  Whether I need to rely on information in a manual published by someone with more experience, ask for help from my friends or my partner or say no to things I know I cannot commit to, looking outside of myself to accomplish my goals has been imperative.

Am I aware that there are many things we can’t plan for? Absolutely. But when it comes to things that I can plan for, I like having a plan or something to work towards or I feel lost. I am someone who absolutely needs the structure to help me make the most of my time and ultimately be able to enjoy myself  and even if you are the type of person who usually lives life on a whim, I would encourage you to try out the downloadable, printable, goal planning worksheet I have created below to see how it works for you! What are you working towards this year, this month or this week? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Printable Goal Planning Worksheet!

 

 

The Truth About Vitamin C and Colds

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In case you have been living under a rock…it’s THAT time of year, ya know the one where there are a bunch of holidays coming up and everyone is getting sick. This time of year, while super festive, can be extremely chaotic and stressful and also full of sniffles and coughs. It’s common for people to reach for vitamin C once they’re already sick (I know I always did!), but the latest studies and evidence show that ingesting Vitamin C post cold onset does not help in reducing the length or severity of the illness. While the aforementioned holds true regarding the general population and while further research may be conducted, some studies have shown that taking vitamin C daily could help reduce the likelihood of contracting a cold in those who are at risk for vitamin C deficiency, those who subject their body to extreme, rigorous exercise and those who, for whatever reason, have prolonged periods of exposure to cold temperatures.

Despite the lack of evidence for using vitamin C to reduce the duration and severity of colds, vitamin C is absolutely crucial to our health and the majority of us are able to get the amount our bodies need just from our diet alone, without supplementation. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, plays a role in helping with the regeneration of vitamin E (another antioxidant), helps to metabolize protein and is necessary for our bodies to produce collagen. In summary, vitamin C is important for our body to function, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect a recovery miracle from using it while you’re sick with a cold!

So what can you do when you have a cold? Aside from rest and drinking lots of fluids, the most recent studies and reviews show that Zinc is actually helpful in combating colds by reducing the severity and duration of symptoms when consumed within 24 hours of when your symptoms begin. Zinc can be found in dietary sources such as oysters, beef, pork, chicken, yogurt and cashews. Since the richest dietary sources of zinc are found in meat, vegetarians should consider supplementation, as should people with gastrointestinal issues (they could have decreased absorption capabilities) and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding (the fetus of a pregnant woman requires a lot of zinc and breastfeeding can cause zinc depletion).


References:
1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#h7
2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/