One of the questions I am asked most frequently is ‘
what do you buy at Costco?’
It’s no secret, I love Costco. The way that most women feel about Target is how I feel about Costco. Growing up the oldest of 7, buying in bulk was a necessity of life. I have amazing memories of shopping with my mom and six siblings at Costco while passer-bys remarked on what a big family we had and how well behaved we all were.
I knew it was a match made in heaven when a couple weeks after my husband and I started dating he asked me if I wanted to go grocery shopping and he took me to Costco.
“You have a membership?” I asked a little breathless.
“Of course,” he replied. “Costco is awesome.”
And the rest is history.
I don’t like to do much running around so we shop at Costco bi-weekly, grab a couple odds and ends at Trader Joes, Sprouts, or the Farmers Market, and buy everything else on Amazon or occasionally Vitacost.
grocery bill is $150-$200 every two weeks, we spend maybe $50 at other grocery stores throughout the month, and another $20-$40 on Amazon. Our grocery bill is always under $500 a month for a family of five. We don’t eat out and my husband takes his lunch to work. For as well as we eat, I feel like that’s a really reasonable budget.
Keep in mind that a lot of Costco’s products are seasonal, they come and go.
When I lived in Texas our Costco carried all kinds of wonderful grain-free flours but here in California we have no alternative flours, I have to get mine on
Amazon. Your Costco will probably have awesome stuff that mine doesn’t and vice versa. Here are my must have Costco essentials!
Fruits and Vegetables
Pitted Dates. I use these in my blender muffins and my granola bars. They’re a great natural sweetener.
Organic Apples. We love apples. We throw them in our muffins, make homemade apple sauce, they’re one of our favorite snacks!
Organic Strawberries. We like to eat them diced over coconut milk yogurt, in my strawberry breakfast cookies, or by themselves!
Frozen Organic Strawberries. I love to use these in my smoothies.
Frozen Organic Pineapple. I absolutely love pineapple. I eat it in my smoothies a lot.
Organic Grapes. My husband loved green, I love purple, so we alternate. I love to dice them up and put them in my shredded chicken salad. So yummy!
Organic Sweet Potatoes. I love roasted sweet potatoes with organic ketchup. It totally quenches my french fry cravings. I also use them in my stews. I wasn’t always a fan but now I crave them!
Organic Baby Carrots. I bought the regular organic carrots for awhile and I would chop them up for snacks and stews but I really like the convenience of baby so I pay a little more for them.
Celery. I do buy my celery at Costco to save myself a trip, even though it’s not organic. If at all possible you should by organic celery because it’s on the dirty dozen list.
Organic Romaine. Salads and lettuce wraps for days! I usually chop romaine and mix it with spinach for salad.
Organic Baby Spinach. We go through 1 of these every week. I put spinach in everything. Smoothies, muffins, soups, salads, the list goes on and on.
Riced Cauliflower. Costco usually sells this refrigerated and frozen. I use it in place of rice a lot to cut carbs and to add extra veggies in soups.
Organic Squash and Zucchini. Zooodles, veggie lasagna, zucchini fritters/tater tots, this is a BIG must have on my list.
Frozen Organic Corn. Love to throw this in taco soup, chicken tortilla soup, Spanish quinoa, corn chowder, and burrito bowls!
Frozen Organic Broccoli. We love to use this steamed and in stir-frys. I typically buy organic mixed vegetables at Costco too but they were sold out.
Organic Bananas. Every mom knows that bananas are a necessity. we go through them like monkeys!
Onions. I go through one of Costco’s giant bags of onions every month.
Meat and Dairy
Organic Grass-fed Ground Meat. I use this to make homemade hamburgers, tacos, spaghetti, chili, and meatloaf.
Stew Meat. I portion this and freeze it. I use it to make beef stew and beef gyros!
Organic Ground Turkey. We recently began transitioning from beef to turkey because beef causes my daughter a bit of gastrointestinal upset. I sub it in recipes that call for ground meat.
Organic Whole Chicken. I like buy whole chickens for two reasons. 1. Because when roasted the flavor just can’t be beat and we can get two meals out of 1 bird and 2. Bone broth.
Organic Bratwurst. I cut these out of their casing, crumble, and sauté. I use them in frittatas and frozen breakfast burritos that my husband takes to work.
Nitrate-Free Turkey Bacon. One of my favorite simple breakfasts is turkey bacon and eggs.
Organic Cage Free Pasture Raised Eggs. We used to have chickens when we lived in Texas but now we have to get our eggs at Costco.
Grass-Fed Butter. We use Kerry Gold butter. It’s a bit expensive so we use it seldomly and sparingly but it’s the only butter we’ll use. I didn’t eat butter at all while losing weight.
We love sour cream. This is a form of dairy that I have to make an exception for. We use it in my ranch dressing and a dollop on Taco salad. Don’t mess with the low-fat stuff, the other ingredients aren’t worth it. This brand has only one ingredient, cultured cream. Brilliant.
Kirkland Block Cheese. Colby Jack and Mild Cheddar are our favorites. I also buy Kirkland block parmesan cheese. I don’t eat much cheese anymore, it usually gives me a stomach ache. But we always have it on hand for my husband. Don’t buy the pre shredded kind. The preservative flavor is icky.
Canned Goods and Oils
Organic Tomato Sauce. I don’t buy many canned items anymore. But tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and paste are three things I’m still a bit too lazy to make myself. One of these days I’ll get there!
Wild Planet Tuna. This tuna is wild caught and contains no added oil or water.
Organic Coconut Oil. I use coconut oil in everything. Its a cure all. 🙂
Avocado Oil. A great healthy fat and a tasteless oil. Great for homemade mayo or baked goods that you don’t want to a have a coconut flavor.
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Odds and Ends
Organic Grade A Pure Maple Syrup. This isn’t like typical pancake syrup this can be used as a non-refined sweetener. We use it in place of brown sugar in oatmeal and as an alternative to pancakes syrups filled with high fructose corn syrup.
Raw Organic Honey. I buy Nature Nates if Costco has it or Kirkland brand if they don’t.
Avocado Oil Mayo. I make my own avocado oil mayo at home but if I’m ever in a slump and I don’t want to make it I’ll buy Chosen Foods brand.
Baking Soda. In this ridiculously huge bag. I bought this after we first got married and I still haven’t used it up!
Organic Peanut Butter. Buying organic almond butter is always better because Peanuts have a high mold content and if you’re worried about leaky gut or gut health at all you need to stay away from peanuts. I have a really hard time springing for the organic almond butter though so I’m making due with this until our grocery budget grows.
PBFit Powder. This is powdered peanut butter without the oil so it has a very low fat content with the same peanut buttery taste. I use this in my Reese Peanut Butter Meal Replacement Smoothies.
La Tortilla corn tortillas. Only three ingredients, stone ground corn, water, and lime!
Sea Salt. I buy a lot of my seasonings at Costco. I won’t bore you with photos of all of them! 🙂
Organic No High Fructose Corn Syrup Ketchup. I’ve made my own before but I don’t do it on a regular basis and it’s easier for me to buy it right now.
Grain Free Pastas. Costcos pasta section is ever changing. I keep my eyes peeled for grain free pastas that contain lentil flour, garbanzo flour, quinoa flour, etc. They usually always have at least one!
Vodka. We buy almost all of our alcohol at Costco. I love to use their vodka to make my homemade vanilla extract because it’s so cheap!
La Tortilla Brand Organic Flour Tortillas. My kids and I do NOT eat these. They only have 5 ingredients but they do have processed flour which I try to stay away from since I have the MTHFR mutation. My husband does not have the mutation and prefers these to corn.
Organic Brown Rice. When I first started trying to lose weight I would eat brown rice a couple times a week but the longer I eat healthy the less “filler food” I need. I eat brown rice maybe once a month now. My kids eat it more though, probably once a week.
Pinto Beans. I use dry pinto beans in soups and to make homemade refried beans in our Instant Pot!
Organic Quinoa. We don’t each much grain, because we have small children we like to use quinoa. It’s a great source of protein and it doesn’t bother my kids in the same way that most grain does.
Organic Hemp Seed.
Organic Chia Seeds.
Mixed nuts. I eat a handful of these with a handful of dairy free chocolate chips and it satisfies my sweet cravings. Raw nuts are better for you but I really like them salted. 🙂
Late July brand tortilla chips, if these aren’t on sale I buy Kirkland brand. When I was losing weight I could NOT keep these inside the house. I wouldn’t be able to control my portions and I ended up gaining or plateauing so be careful with these.
Rice rollers. My kids love these brown rice rollers. On mornings when I need a couple extra minutes of sleep I tell them to go snack on one of these until I get up to make breakfast. It buys me an extra 15 minutes, at least! lol
Organic Raisins. I don’t like raisins but they’re one of my kiddos favorite snacks!
Bare Apple Chips. All they are is dried apples. Totally delicious and a great snack to take with you on the go!
There are things that I purchase at Costco that I left off of this list because they are not food related. Toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, clothes, dishes, appliances etc.
To see some of the other ingredients that I keep stocked in my pantry,
Great info!!! Curious about why refined flours are not good for people with MTHFR? I have it as well. Thanks!
Five years ago the FDA passed a mandate that makes it mandatory to fortify and enrich flours with folic acid. They don’t have to list it in the ingredients either. 🙁
I go through a bag of baking soda a year or so. I put a scoop in my laundry when washing sheets, towels, or anything that might need an extra boost. I clean my drains with this and vinegar. I put it in my son’s shoes (shh! Don’t tell him!) It’s great to clean carpets with, too.
I need to get with the cleaning! Thank you for the tips! 🙂
Thank you for this!
It’s really cool how your Costco uses green paper on their price tags for Organic items. Ours only highlight the word “organic” on the tag and if I’m running around not paying attention I sometime miss them… that happens a lot when shopping with little ones 😊
I thought it was something they all did! You should totally request it next time you’re there. They have little request papers where you can leave suggestions. I do that periodically and sometimes they actually do what I request!
Thanks for sharing!! Now you’re going to need to show us how you store all your bulk foods 🙂 that’s my hardest part of buying so much at Costco!
Ah, great idea! I will try to put something like that together!
I was thinking the same thing. 😁
How do you make your Frozen Burritos for your Hubby?
I cook the tortillas, sauté sausage and scramble eggs with cheese, assemble and freeze. I also do bean and cheese which is as simple as it sounds. 🙂
I love this list! And I hate raisins too! I also stock up on black bean burgers, fish burgers and quinoa.
You had me at nitrate free turkey bacon! We had a Costco open in the last year. I’m need to get a membership now!
Oops. Should be I not I’m
Thanks for putting this together! After reading your post I’m realizing that we do not utilize our Costco membership very well. The main things we currently buy there for our family of 5 are diapers (2 are in them), Kirkland soy milk (oldest kid has a milk allergy), ground beef, toilet paper and diaper wipes. I’m trying to decrease our food budget from $600 to $500. You give me hope that it can be done!
Have you tried Greek yogurt in place of sour cream?
Yes, my husband hates it. lol
I read that you limit grains to twice a week. If I wanted, could I eat 1/2 cup of oatmeal made with water every day?
Sure! It’s whatever works best for you and your body. 🙂
Thank you! This post is really helpful
What part of the store do you find the La Tortilla corn tortillas?? I searched everywhere!
They’re in the refrigerated section. Some stores may not have them.
Ok, thank you. They did have the flour ones but I guess I’ll just keep looking. 🙂
This is such an amazing list you have put together. Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this, cannot wait for your next cookbook! We recently went to Costco for a big trip after we completely emptied out our pantry… it was scary to see how much junk we were putting into our bodies. Me and my husband are already down a combined 15 pounds since fully being on your recipes/30 day plan for this past week. Cannot thank thank you enough for your passion to heal your family through food, I am so looking forward to all of the positive changes in our lives with the guidance from you.
Thank you so much for your kind words, and a huge congratulations on your combined weight loss that is so incredible!! I wish y’all nothing but the absolute best throughout your families health journey.
Where do you find a 30 day plan? Is it in one of the books? I have cooked off of the blog but don’t have a cookbook yet!
You can find meals plans in both of my cookbooks.A great description of the similarities and differences between the two cookbooks can be found here:https://instantloss.com/the-difference-between-my-books/
This list is amazing! I just received both cookbooks and can’t wait to go to Costco. I need to heal my body. I also have MTHFR with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My thyroid antibodies attacked my brain a couple years ago and I’m just now starting to get closer to normal. I had to do keto, which my body hated, but needed it for my brain. I’m not able to workout right now but I can do some light walking. Is it possible to lose weight without being able to workout much?
Yes, did you happen to read my story in the Instant Loss Cookbook. I lost over 125 pounds with out exercise. Wishing you all the best Sarah on your wellness journey!
Do you have a printable PDF or list of this? I’d like to print it an bring it with me, rather than print all the pictures. Thanks!
Sorry I do not have one at this time.
In surprised chicken breast wasn’t on the list! Is it too expensive??
Thanks so much for reaching out! We actually purchase all of our meat through a meat subscription service called ButcherBox. We absolutely love them and have been using their services for over 3 years. Click here if you’d like to learn more about them: https://www.butcherbox.com/specialoffer/?t=1025e69db79e5458660db686e11ff5&a=3859&o=6&utm_source=affiliate&utm_medium=promo&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=Instant+Loss+3859&utm_content=&aff_sub5=