Alia Goes to Costco: Part 2
For those of you on the edges of your seat, waiting to hear how my return trip to Costco went, TODAY IS THE DAY. My first trip to Costco was fun but also epic in terms of length, which led my Dad and I to leave before I even saw categories like dairy, meat, or fresh foods.
So I’m back today with a follow-up post on these categories to share what I found, what I bought and what I might get in the future. Like before, these are all picks I found at my local Costco on a particular day—your store may have different options.
My favorite healthy food items at Costco:
2 8-ounce packages for $19.99
Smoked salmon is one of my favorite treats so I was sure to pick it up when I found it. It claims to be Wild Alaskan salmon, but now that I know more about the fish trade from Sitka Salmon Shares, I know it’s not going to be the same quality that I expect from that collective of family fishermen and it’s likely not all processed in Alaska. But while I wait for my Sitka Salmon Shares to start up again, I thought I’d try this out. I like that it comes in 2 packages so I don’t have to eat it all right away. Tastewise, it’s what you might expect: decent but not mind-blowing. I often add a few slices to a breakfast board or have with avocado toast.
50-ounce jar for $7.99
It took me years to get on board with my mom’s claim that sauerkraut is delicious. It just always looks so lifeless and, you know, cabbagey. But now I’m all about living fermented foods including sauerkraut! I get a jar of sauerkraut every month or two to add to my breakfast, top bowl meals, or make a quicky vinaigrette for salads just just adding olive oil. If you are looking for living sauerkraut (versus pasteurized) be sure to shop in the refrigerated section and not the aisles (those varieties are just packed in vinegar). I’ve tried a few of Wildbrine’s flavors and have liked them—my only complaint is that the large jars are hard for me to open with my small hands.
5 lb bag for $6.49
As you can see, we found the produce section on this trip to Costco! These easy peel clementines have become one of my go-to snacks this winter when not much else produce is in season. They travel well to work because I can just throw them in my bag—the peel is its own package! They are also a late night snack when I want something sweet and don’t have chocolate around. All lot of the fruits came in too large quantities for my household of 2, but these clementines will last a couple of weeks if we need them to and they don’t take up too much space.
5 lb bag for $7.49
This quantity of lemons is insane for 99% of the population, but I LOVE lemon so I could totally see myself picking this up one day. Lemons add brightness and dimension to recipes without needing to add more salt so they are great way to give an everyday recipe a little more punch. You could store most of these in the fridge and leave a handful out in a bowl for decoration. Typically I buy lemons for about $.79-.99 each so this bag is a pretty good deal.
2 lb bag for $4.99
Now on to veggies! All in all, the vegetable section of Costco is teeny tiny, but still packs in a variety different produce, much of it pre-cut or heavily packaged. I did snag this 2 lb bag of organic Brussels sprouts for $4.99 which is about half of what I pay at Whole Foods. 2 lbs is the exact amount I like to cook at once (so we have leftovers) so this made it’s way into an easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts side dish.
2lbs for $5.99
Like the Brussels sprouts, these organic haricots verts (skinny green beans) are about half the price and similar packaging to what I buy at Whole Foods. These are nice to have on hand for my Green Bean Fries.
1 lb box for $4.99
There were a few options for spinach and baby greens, including these big boxes of organic baby spinach. For freshness and nutrition, greens and lettuces are one of my favorite things to buy local, but in the winter or if I need a giant batch (or honestly if I’m pressed for time) I definitely will go for the prewashed bags. This organic baby spinach seems comparable to the other big California brands at other grocery stores. I typically pay about $3.99 for 5 ounces.
2 lbs for $10.99
Send two Pakistanis into Costco and they are bound to come out with dates. We found organic medjool dates in the produce section in 2 lbs boxes. Of the major varieties of dates in the U.S., these are the sweetest and juiciest and the ones I always recommend for recipes like my Cookie Dough Energy Bites or my Raw Brownie Bites with Hemp. Sometimes when you buy them they are dried out, which is disappointing (but you can always soak them in hot water to rehydrate to use for a recipe). I’m happy to report these were still juicy.
Meat, Dairy, and Eggs
I did finally get to see this section of Costco, but I actually wasn’t interested in buying anything once I saw it. This is one area where the quantities are just too large for my small household (that hasn’t typically eaten much meat or animal products anyway). Also, although I can’t afford to always shop local and small for everything that I eat, I personally want to try to choose small and local when it comes to animal products as much as I can, whether that means going with a CSA or shopping at a butcher like Local Foods.
Although many of the Costco products are labeled things like organic or free-range, they are still clearly factory farmed (and just fed an organic feed). It’s clearly a very different practice than what you get from a farmer at the farmer’s market (but likely similar to other “organic” options at large grocery stores). No judgment on anyone else’s choices—just sharing what I’m doing right now and my thought process.
So that wraps up my second trip to Costco! If you didn’t see my initial picks, you can check them out here.