Costco is a great place to shop for a family who eats healthy; check out my healthy Costco shopping list. If you spend more than $5,500 a year there, it makes financial sense to pay $110 for executive membership and earn 2% cash back. So far, not only we have saved money on groceries, but cashback covers our membership and even makes us extra money. Win-win, if you ask me.
Here is my philosophy when it comes to snacks and how I choose Costco healthy snacks:
- If you are new to healthy eating, read my view on what is real food.
- Snacks do not replace meals. I strive to make each meal complete with protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats – for ideas, check out my 55 clean eating dinner recipes, 50 clean eating chicken recipes and 18 healthy one pot meals. My kids are not allowed to leave the table until their plates are empty – my 5 ways to make kids eat healthy.
- Fruit and vegetables make the best snacks, so I use them as a base and then add on healthier packaged snacks.
- I strive to buy organic and/or non-GMO snacks whenever possible, however even these labels can be attached to high in sodium and added sugar packaged (processed foods).
- When choosing Costco healthy snacks, I look for minimally processed, with the lowest amount of sodium and little or no added sugar (even quality one).
- I would rather cut an apple or give whole apple to kids that can chew, than pay extra and create more garbage by buying packaged apple slices, fruit sauce cups and pouches.
- Finally, balance and moderation in everything in life is key, I believe.
Let’s dig in.:)
Not all dried fruit is created equal. You want to buy organic dried fruit because it contains no sulphur dioxide (preservative) and many other additives, including added sugar. Sulfites make dried fruit bright in colour and “chubby”, where as organic dried fruit looks “skinny” and not as pretty – natural and normal. There is a huge difference in taste! Dried fruit contains naturally occurring sugar, fiber and all the nutrients fruit has to offer, not to be confused with high in added sugar snacks. This kind of sugar is good for you!
1. Dried Fruit Mix
2. Dried Apricots
3. Dried Pineapple
4. Dried Mango
When it comes to nuts, healthy nuts are considered nuts that are unroasted (raw), unsalted and no sugar coated. However, many nuts taste better when roasted, and sometimes a bit of salt won’t hurt. I always say, if I ate homemade meals, fruit and vegetables all day, a bit of salted nuts won’t take me over recommended 2,000 mg of sodium per day limit. Common sense, moderation and balance. Healthy eating ain’t all or nothing game, then it’s a diet.
6. Raw Unsalted Cashews
7. Roasted and Salted Pistachios
8. Unsalted and Roasted Mixed Nuts
9. Raw Almonds, Pecans and Walnuts
10. Trail Mix
Crackers and Bites
Whole grains and healthy bites can be tricky to find. I chose the most wholesome and lowest in sugars. Moderation is key.
11. Whole Grain Triscuits
12. Sweet Potato Crackers
13. Aussie Bites
15. Brown Rice Crackers
16. Kale Chips
17. Brown Rice Crackers
When it comes to bars, no sugar added, pulsed and pressed nuts, seeds and dried fruit bars are the best. We alternate between plant-based protein bars, granola bars, fruit and nut bars because you get tired of eating same bars all the time. Bottom line – bars are handy for on-the-go and we choose the best that are available, there is literally no perfect bar, however chocolate covered nut bars are not on my healthy bars list.
18. Kind Bars
19. Protein Bars
20. Granola Bars and Larabars
21. Roasted Seaweed – Delicious crunchy replacement for crackers, and not that high in sodium.
22. Wild Salmon Jerky – Full of protein, however enjoy in moderation due to sodium.
23. Hummus – You can buy pre-packaged or portion your own (cheaper), eat with vegetables.
24. String Cheese – Kids love, I control their moderate consumption of cheese.
25. Edamame – These come in pouches that you can quickly microwave in the office or “cook” with boiling hot water in 3 minutes. Fresh vegetables!
I’m not going to argue that protein powder is real food, it’s not. BUT I drink it because if I don’t, I will eat a muffin or something else with added sugar. I can’t be possibly eating only fruits and vegetables for snacks. Organic plant-based protein powder helps me maintain weight and I often use it as a snack, simply mixed with water. Our absolute favourite (Alex loves it!) is Orgain chocolate fudge. On all other reasons why I use protein powder and 4 of my favourites, read my post on clean protein powders.