I haven’t written about Costco for a while, so I thought it was time for another post on what I like to buy at Costco. Although 95% of the food items at Costco are things that I would never buy, they do have a big enough selection of high-quality gems to make it worth my time and money to be a Costco member.
I am a big proponent of local food. I’ve love to buy most of our food locally, but that’s just not realistic or practical for us right now. Finding great deals on quality food at Costco allows me to put more money into those things that I really, really value, like raw milk, local grass-fed beef, local pastured chicken and pork, pastured eggs, and organic CSA produce (in the summer and early fall).
In terms of supporting big corporations, I also feel better about taking my business to Costco because, according to this article, they treat their employees well. This is not, of course, true of all large corporations (i.e. Walmart).
Awesome Real Food Items at Costco
I have found the following items at my local Costco in Superior, Colorado. Not all items are available at all times, and selection definitely does seem to vary from store to store. I’ve heard from other people that you can request that your local Costco start carrying a particular item–although I have not actually done this myself so am not sure how it works.
The following items are all excellent real foods that I’ve found for great prices at Costco:
- Virgin coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Grass-fed cheeses
- Organic sugar (for water kefir and kombucha)
- Organic fresh produce like strawberries, spinach, carrots, lettuce
- Organic frozen produce like green beans, corn, broccoli, berries, peas
- Frozen wild fish like hake and ono
- Canned wild fish like tuna, salmon and sardines
- Raw honey
- Organic virgin olive oil
- Organic dried fruit without added sugar or preservatives like apples, raisins, figs
- Organic white rice
Pretty Good Convenience Items at Costco
Costco can also be a good resource for those types of convenience foods that can make your life easier. I wouldn’t put these squarely in the category of “real foods,” since most of them have some sort of compromise factor associated with them (such as unsoaked grains/nuts, conventional produce/dairy, or non-pasture-raised meats), but I still think they can be part of a healthy diet. It’s up to you, of course, to decide how much or how little of these foods you’re comfortable buying–but if you are going to buy them, you might as well get them for a good price.
- Gluten-free pasta
- Preservative-free condiments like green chili sauce, ketchup, salsa
- Quality (though not organic) cheeses
- Organic chicken and ground beef
- Organic peanut butter (although I have not seen this for a while)
- Organic tortilla chips
- Organic lemon juice
Green Living Items at Costco
Costco is also a great place to stock up on those bulk items that you tend to go through a lot of in a green/natural living lifestyle. As long as you can find room to store everything, you’ll usually save a lot of money buying these things in bulk. I have bought the following items:
- Glass food storage containers (like these)
- Giant jugs of white vinegar
- Giant bags of baking soda
- Epsom salts
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Compostable food waste bags (like these)
- Eco-friendly dish soap
A Few Tips About Shopping at Costco
If you live in a less congested area, you may be able to significantly streamline your Costco shopping experience by figuring out when the store tends to be the least busy. Jesse and I like to shop on weekday nights, an hour or two before Costco closes, because our local Costco is pretty much deserted at that time so we can zip around the store really quickly. (If you live in a densely populated area, however, your Costco may be super busy at all times.)
Costco is constantly adding new items, so I recommend doing a detailed walk-through every few months to make sure you’re not missing out on any new great deals.
If you live in a small space, don’t assume that you can’t shop at Costco. We’ve bought in bulk for most of the time that we’ve lived in Colorado, even though we spent three years of that time living in a 600 square foot apartment. Check out my tips on food storage in small spaces if you need some ideas for how to store your bulk purchases.
Do you shop at Costco?
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