Healthy Shopping at Costco!


Let’s Go Shopping!!

I am so excited to take you with me on my weekly shopping trip to one of my favourite places….Costco!

(To view this video in “high definition”, select the “gear” to the left of the “YouTube” icon and select 720pHD from the “Quality” drop down menu).

Watch this video to join me on my trip to Costco!

It’s funny, many people have asked what I possibly need a Costco membership for, considering I live in a household of only two!  Truth is, even when I was single, I shopped at Costco, and here’s why:

  • Great quality & innovative products brought in regularly
  • Excellent value for money
  • Buying in bulk means I can stock up
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store
  • I can portion and freeze meats to always have on hand
  • Large bags of frozen berries for baking and smoothies
  • Several “Clean 15” produce items, like avocados and pineapples, can be found at much better prices than the grocery stores (and the pineapples are always the biggest and the best!) NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have attached the Environmental Working Group’s List of produce with corresponding levels of pesticides. The lower the number, the higher the pesticide residue
  • Organic greens can be found (not always, but depends on your location and availability)
  • No-hassle return policy (you don’t even need your receipt!)
  • Speedy checkout (I promise, even though it is always a zoo in there, you will be whisked through the checkout faster than at the express line at your grocery store!)
  • Excellent Optical department
  • Best price and service on propane
  • Costco Online: Order online and pick up at your nearest Costco location!
  • Really cool stuff like 24/7 technical support on electronics; extended warranties; and the best prices on car rentals!
  • Awesome seasonal stuff like bikes, ski stuff, etc…
  • Exceptional spa packages, ski trips, restaurant vouchers, movie passes, etc… (find these on the end caps near the clothing/books)
  • Great clothing and shoes (and the best part is, they are always getting new arrivals, so you can always find a quality brand at a great price—but once they’re gone, they’re gone!).
  • Great prices on books/audio/cd’s you already want to buy.
  • Lovely furniture/quality furnishings/towels/linens/rugs etc…
  • Fabulous, quality gift ideas
  • The most amazing greeting card sets and beautiful, inexpensive Christmas cards

So now you know a few (ok, a lot!) of the reasons that I love Costco. But I also know how dangerous it can be to shop there.

Down almost every aisle, you’ll find someone sampling yummy looking treats. You’ll smell delicious smelling food and it would be CRAZY not to just reach over and grab those chocolate covered almonds or that cheese-filled ravioli!

Here’s the truth: You WILL be tempted for sure. I’m tempted every time I am there. But with a little planning and a decision to never, ever sample anything that’s being offered (seriously, never, ever, even if they are saying it is healthy for you), then you will be able to avoid one of the biggest pitfalls inside Costco’s incredible walls.

Here’s the other pitfall.  You are at Costco.

Every single fibre in your being is screaming at you to grab that massive bag of potato chips for $3 or the biggest bag of M&M’s you’ve ever seen for $13.99. Every. Single. Item. seems like a better deal than the last! It’s all too good to be true!! It’s the whole point of this place!!!! And it can be more than we can take.

You’ll rationalize your decision to buy that jumbo pack of sugary, saltiness by telling yourself that you’ll have snacks for months! You’ll promise yourself that you’ll portion it out into itty-bitty baggies so it lasts. You’ll plan to invite guests over just to share these amazing treats!

But here’s the hard truth:

You won’t.

I don’t.

Every single time that I’ve caved at Costco and bought the massive bag of whatever it is, I have eaten it all within days, not weeks. Seriously. And the problem is that it is pure junk and my body knows it. I feel crappy and I feel guilty and I feel fat. And I hate feeling that way. Don’t get me wrong, I have “cheat” days. In fact, I have a cheat day (or, “treat” day, if you prefer) once a week and sometimes more, but I never, ever need to have massive bags of anything in my home. I just don’t. So I just don’t do it.  Not at Costco. It is just too dangerous.

But wait! What about those “organic” chips or that “Skinny” popcorn? It says “organic” and “Skinny” on the bag, so it HAS to be healthy, right?!

Wrong .

It’s not a good choice and I know it.  If it’s a cheat day and I am choosing chips, I’ll hit up the grocery store and grab a smaller bag. Not the one from Costco. That bag is just waaaay too big.

Ok, so now that we’ve made the decision to never, ever sample anything and to never, ever buy junk foods at Costco, here are my favourite strategies for success before heading out the door:

  • Make a list and stick to it. Being mentally prepared is half the battle. I have attached my favourite Costco products as a pdf in order to help you. I’m sure this list will grow as they bring out new items, but the point is, you want all options to be items that serve you and your healthy journey.
  • Never, ever go to Costco hungry. Eat a meal before heading out. This is a serious life saver.
  • Take a bottle of water with you. Staying hydrated and drinking something that serves your body will be a reminder of your decision to make this a healthy trip.
  • Have a snack in your pocket or bag in case of emergency. I like to have homemade trail mix; a Larabar; a banana…
  • Avoid cheese. I know that a massive brick for $7 looks like a great deal, but you will end up eating that whole brick this week! You will find ways to use it, I know you will! Cheese has some protein, but it is your least beneficial source, and it is very high in sodium and saturated fat. Plus, they don’t carry organic dairy at Costco, and you really want to stick with organic when it comes to dairy. If you love cheese, buy a smaller piece of organic cheese from the grocery store and use it sparingly.
  • Feel Proud. Take note of all the healthy items in your cart and feel proud of your choices.
  • Last Chance. Notice other people’s carts and remember why you are so proud of yourself. Before heading to the cash, look in your cart one last time, and if there is anything you don’t feel great about, remove it.

Here’s What I do Once Home:

Turn on my oven.

Portion meat and fish into Ziploc bags. Freeze some. Prepare one piece of meat or fish and cook it up for dinner. I always do this with salmon as I love eating it fresh.

Wash any non-organic fruits and veggies in a vinegar and water solution in my sink and prepare some veggies for dinner (I roast asparagus or zucchini on the same baking sheet as the salmon for tonight’s dinner). Place the rest in Ziploc bags.

And then I enjoy my meal!
So that’s how I do a successful Costco trip! I hope you’ve gotten something out of this post and video. I really enjoyed sharing with you.

Remember this: We are NOT talking about “dieting”. We are talking about creating permanent lifestyle changes that will free us from ever having to “go on” or “go off” a diet ever again!

The notion of “going on” a diet to provide a temporary fix (some weight loss, or fitting into an outfit, or looking good for an event) means that we only want temporary health. But, we aren’t looking for temporary health! We want permanent, lasting health and wellness. So, if that’s true, then we have to make some permanent lifestyle changes.

Shopping this way sets us up for success. Because what we buy and what we bring into our environment determines 80% of the choices we will make regarding our food. Let’s make it easier on ourselves to choose wisely. 🙂

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Do YOU shop at Costco? What is your favourite Costco find? Please share in the comments below as I will be doing a follow up Costco trip with some items I couldn’t get to this time! 🙂 Plus, Check out another trip to Costco here!

P.P.S Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. 🙂

P.P.S.S. Scroll down for recipes and the Dirty Dozen List.


Recipes and Resources




On the shopping trip, I buy avocados and talk about how I freeze them to add to smoothies. 

Frozen avocados pic!!

Here is the Environmental Working Group's List:



  • Anna

    Reply Reply June 9, 2015

    Hi Sarah,

    My shopping cart is very similar to yours when I go to Costco, but I don’t buy organic which I will definitely make a conscious effort to do so. I love fish!!! Also I pick up the hemp and chia and all those seeds and use them at the start and then I forget about them. Not sure why because they are great on salads as well. I would like to start making smoothies as I love my vegetables and fruit. That way I can add all those seeds I buy. I am calorie concious and I am happy with my exercise routine. One food group I don’t eat enought of are from the bean family. Like them I just neglect to add them to my diet?? I will also try the coconut oil and almond butter and will have to get adventurous with new recipe.

    Lots I can learn from you!!!:) could you share a few smoothie recipies? I have a blender, but should I invest in the magic bullet?


    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply June 9, 2015

      Hi Anna!
      So glad you are a fellow Costco lover 🙂 Yes, I am planning a smoothie post soon! Stay tuned 🙂 Hummus is a great way to get legumes into your diet, so I highly recommend that recipe. Yes, use your seeds in your smoothies (a few tablespoons each) and I agree, hemp hearts are amazing on salads! I also love chia pudding 🙂 Let me know if you try it. Thanks so much fr sharing this trio with me, and I look forward to more opportunities to connect! Sarah

  • Janis Weaver

    Reply Reply June 9, 2015

    Hey Sarah – really enjoyed following along on your Costco shopping trip. Never thought of freezing avocados before – thanks for that tip. And I’ve already printed off a couple of your recipes that I want to try out.

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply June 10, 2015

      I’m so glad this served you, Janis! Let me know what you think of the recipes 🙂 Also, if using your nutribullet, you may want to freeze avocados in quarters. 🙂

  • Mo

    Reply Reply July 14, 2015

    Thanks for all this Sarah. Excellent tips and food choices.
    Did a Costco run today with my daughter for my birthday!
    Picked up many of your suggestions. Now I need a bigger fridge!
    She also gave me an UP2 (like a FitBit) so going to be able to track my steps and sleep and food. I am in for the ride! You rock!

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