20 Organic Foods You Should Buy at Costco

20 Organic Foods to Buy at Costco

Sometimes, when it’s been a long day, I’ll wait for my husband to come home and take off for Costco. There’s something therapeutic about walking the aisles alone, and although the samples are a far cry from what they once were, a churro and a soda always make for good aisle-wandering companions.

One of the things I love about Costco, besides their seasonal “clearance” and 8 Great Finds, is their vast selection of organic foods. Although options and brands vary, there always seem to be a lot of great choices at great prices.

Here are my 20 Favorite Organic Foods to purchase at Costco.

What are your favorite Costco buys? Comment below!

1. Salsa
Organic SalsaWe go through salsa like water. Seriously. My husband’s snack/meal/appetizer/breakfast of choice is usually chips and salsa. Not only does this stuff taste good, but it’s much less expensive per ounce than comparable organic salsas. (With price per ounce, you would need to find a 16 oz jar for $1.60…not going to happen!)

 

 

 

 


2. Macaroni and Cheese

009This is a great item to keep in your pantry for quick lunches and even emergencies. Often, they will be on sale, bringing the price down to $0.81 each. Even not on sale, the price is about $1 each, much less than the $2.29 you would pay at Sprouts.

 

 

 

3. Canned Beans
011I use canned black beans when I don’t have time to make up a batch of my favorite Slow Cooker Black Beans. Whether I put them in Chili or as a quick side dish, they are a go to ingredient. At $0.85 a can, this is one of my pantry staples.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pasta Sauce
012When I have time to make homemade spaghetti sauce, I try to make a huge batch so I can freeze some. But, when I don’t have any frozen or want to throw some sauce over Meatballs in my crock pot for a simple prep dinner, I like to use whatever brand organic pasta sauce Costco carries. It is often on sale, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Kid’s Snacks
003 006 004
Dried fruit, GoGo squeeZ, and cheese sticks (which my kids don’t like, but they do have organic string cheese), are always healthy snack options for kids. Costco has a lot of healthy snacks (they also have Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks, ClifKidz Fruit Ropes, and organic granola bars, not pictures), so this is my go-to for filling the snack cabinet.
6. Strawberry Jelly
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Barring an allergy, who doesn’t love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich? While I’m not a fan of the Costco organic peanut butter (it doesn’t incorporate well, and is always separated despite my best attempts at stirring), the Strawberry Jam is something I always have on hand. Using Costco’s price per ounce, you would need to pay $2.65 for a 16 oz jar elsewhere. At our local health food store, organic jelly is about $5 per jar.

 

 

 

7. Pasta and Olive Oil
008 007018

I’m Italian. We eat a lot of pasta and olive oil. Enough said.

8. Canned Tomato Products
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Canned tomatoes are so versatile, and you really can’t beat the price for these organic beauts.
Tomato Paste: $0.56/ea
Diced Tomatoes: $0.52/ea
Tomato Sauce: $0.67/ea

I use them for Chili, Tortellini Soup, Lentil Soup, and Minestrone Soup
9. Tortilla Chips
020At just $0.11 an ounce (that’s $1.76 for a 16-oz bag), these Tortilla chips are our favorite for chips and salsa, side dishes for tacos, and NACHOS!!!

 

 

 

 

 

10. Frozen Fruit
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My kids LOVE smoothies. Junior pulls out the blender every morning in hopes that I’ll make his favorite Fruit Smoothies.

So, we always have a bunch of frozen fruit on hand, and I love the organic selection Costco boasts. They also have organic mango chunks and a berry blend.

 

 

 

11. Tortillas
023$6.99 for 36 tortillas…these are one of my favorite tortillas. EVER. You cook them yourself, so they always taste fresh. I can’t even buy grocery store tortillas anymore. I guess I’m a tortilla snob. Thanks Costco.

 

 
12. Chicken
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When it comes to meat, I try to buy organic chicken whenever possible to avoid hormones and all those other nasty things chicken is known for. Costco has the best price on organic whole chickens, breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, though they do seem to switch suppliers every so often.
13. Chicken Stock
010I know, I know, I should make my own stock. But, I don’t because: 1.) I can never get it right. 2.) I can never get it right. 3.) I can never get it right. I’ve tried. And, so in the interest of saving time (which costs something too!), I purchase the organic chicken stock at Costco.

 

 

 

 

 

14. Ravioli
031This is one of those really random products, but it’s really tasty. Tater doesn’t like cheese, but she makes an exception for these ravioli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Butter
021No, organic butter isn’t cheap. But this is a little less than anywhere else I’ve seen at $4.15/lb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. Frozen Veggies
024 025 026
I especially love having the broccoli on hand for dinners, (as a side for Baked Potatoes, pasta, or fish), but they also have organic corn, edamame, and vegetable medley.
17. Flour
017The asterisk means that they won’t be reordering this product…I bought 40 lbs for my pantry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Fresh Fruit
037 I’ve noticed that this varies greatly with each local Costco. Some have great produce and some don’t. But, we happen to have gotten very lucky with great organic deals on seasonal berries, bananas, and pomegranate seeds.

 

 

 

 

 


19. Fresh Veggies

039Same issues as the fresh fruit, but the organic spinach, mixed greens, and baby carrots are my favorite buys here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Ground Beef
035Inevitably, the price of beef has risen quite a bit over the last year. Even this 4 lb pack of ground beef has jumped from $18.99 to $21.99. So, I like to make sure I get my money’s worth out of it by getting a bunch of meals out of each pack. But, I have seen organic ground beef go as high as $12/lb in the stores, so $5.50/lb really isn’t that bad.

 

 

 

 

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

It’s almost that time of year again…I don’t mean Christmas or Thanksgiving, rather Cold and Flu Season. I hate getting sick. Hate. Colds are my arch nemesis. During my two pregnancies with my kids, I was more miserable with a cold than I was in the 60 combined weeks of 24/7 severe morning sickness. Just something about not being able to breathe sends me into a crazed panic of feeling like I’m being buried alive. So, I aim to stay healthy since being buried alive is not on my bucket list.

While many contend that getting sick is good for the immune system, if the body is exposed to an illness and can fight it off itself, it still builds immunity without the misery of a cold. I get sick every few years, and Stinker gets perhaps two colds a year. We don’t bubble ourselves up or refuse to leave the house, but there are a few healthy habits we use to keep our immune systems at their peak.

1. Cut the Sugar
-Refined sugar is one of the worst things for the immune system. It almost immediately suppresses your body’s defenses. I remember reading that many experts trace the beginning of cold and flu season to a few days after Halloween. Why? All that candy lowers the immune system and makes people more susceptible to illness. Cutting out refined sugars can help keep you healthy.

2. Wash Your Hands
-We have a rule in our home that everyone needs to wash their hands as soon as we get home, wherever we’ve been. Washing your hands before meals, and especially before bed (people often touch their face while they sleep, which can lead to colds), can stop the spread of germs.

3. Don’t Touch Your Eyes
-Most people think the mouth is most susceptible to germs, but it’s actually your eyes. Washing your hands before touching your eyes (or using your sleeve to scratch or rub your eye while you’re out and about), will reduce your exposure.

4. Probiotics
-It’s surprising to find out that most of our immune function begins in our stomach. Having a healthy stomach can mean a healthy body. I take Probiotics daily, trying to keep my immune system functioning at it’s highest.

5. Staying Healthy With Food
-I make my kids smoothies frequently with lots of fruits, and sometimes vegetables, in order to keep their immune system strong. Raw garlic, cinnamon, and raw honey all contain antibacterial properties. Elderberry extract is a wonderful supplement for fighting off colds, or just ramping up your immune system.

And, everyone gets sick sometimes, despite best efforts. Junior still doesn’t sleep through the night all the time, and our life is on-the-go busy, so our immune systems will likely never be as strong as we would like (most experts recommend getting extra sleep and getting rid of stressors during cold and flu season, but that’s simply not possible with young children). Sometimes a warm blanket and chicken noodle soup  are the only cures.

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Saving Money…Eating Organic

With the official start of summer coming up later this week, many people are looking forward to eating lighter, healthier meals full of fresh produce that remind us of warm weather and summer nights.

One of the most popular healthy trends right now is eating organically. Organic foods are free of typical pesticides and genetically modified organisms, but are often significantly more expensive than their conventionally grown counterparts. Is it possible to eat organically without breaking the bank?

1. Prioritize
-Research foods that are most likely to contain pesticides or be genetically modified. Consider purchasing organic for the major offenders, while purchasing conventionally for other foods. For example, I rarely purchase organic bananas, because the peel protects the fruit itself from pesticides. Eating organically doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Save in some areas, while splurging in others.

2. Consider Homegrown
-Even if you have a small yard (like us), you can still grow your own food. We grow strawberries in pots, and have dwarf citrus trees that require little space. Our dwarf tangerine tree is about 3 feet tall and a foot wide at the base, but yields around 100 tangerines a year!

-However, homegrown doesn’t have to mean you grow something yourself. Research local organic farms and sign up for a CSA basket. You are at the mercy of what’s in season, but you’ll probably get a great selection of organic produce for much less than purchasing at the grocery store.

3. Stretch Meat
-As with conventionally grown items, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you use meat as a side with produce as the star of the meal. Read my top 5 tips for stretching meat here. I have found the best deals in my area for organic chicken and ground beef at Costco, but if you have local farms, you could buy a side of beef and split with a friend or store in the freezer.

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Weekly Menu…May 6-12, 2012

I did really well with freezer meals last week, freezing a pan of baked macaroni and cheese, two meals worth of meatballs, two meals worth of chicken taco meat, and several breakfast sausage, egg, and cheese muffins. This week I will be attempting to freeze several more meals in preparation for when baby makes his appearance in a few weeks. Here is our menu for the week:

Breakfasts
-Sausage, Egg, Cheese Muffins, Fresh Fruit
-Protein Packed Breakfast Cookies, Fresh Fruit x 2
-Bagels and Cream Cheese, Fresh Fruit x 2
-Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon, Fresh Fruit x 2

Lunches
-Strawberry Balsamic Salad, Buttered Toast
-Leftovers x 2
-Out to Eat x 2
-Turkey Corn Dogs, Fresh Fruit
-Turkey or Ham Sandwich, Chips, Fresh Fruit

Dinners
-Grilled Jalapeno Bacon Burgers with Avocado Slaw and Feta Dressing, French Fries, Green Salad
-Beef Burritos, Slow Cooker Black Beans, Chips and homemade Guacamole
-Bacon and Spinach Omelettes, Fresh Fruit, Toast
-Grilled Cheese and Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
-Spinach and Bell Pepper Penne with toasted Pine Nuts, Green Salad, Garlic Bread
-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad
-Leftovers

One way to monitor your grocery budget is to figure out a cost per serving for your meals. Quality ground sirloin is $2.99/lb this week at our health food store, and several organic fruits and veggies are coming in very inexpensively as well. I purchased the eggs and organic spinach at Costco, spending only half what I would have for the same products at the grocery store. 

Cost per serving: 
-Beef Burritos, Slow Cooker Black Beans, Chips, homemade Guacamole: $1.75 per person
-Grilled Cheese and Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (using organic tomatoes and basil; will be cheaper once our basil plant starts producing): $1.67 per person
-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad (organic lettuce topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, feta cheese, carrots, and candied walnuts): $1.80 per person (could be lower if you make a simple salad without the walnuts and feta)
-Bacon and Spinach Omelettes, Fresh Fruit, Buttered Toast: $1.37 per person


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Weekly Menu-April 1-6, 2012

Breakfast Cookies to boost our protein intake in the morning.

Happy Easter Week! This week I’m going to start teaching my 3-year old how to set the table, make a menu, and she’s going to help me with some of the simple meal prep.

Our budget is a little higher this week because I stocked up on some meat for the freezer, and bought extra ingredients to make freezer meals to use once the baby is born. But, even so, I plan to keep my budget at $90 this week for everything. 
Breakfasts
-Breakfast Cookies, Greek Yogurt, Fresh Fruit x 2
-Coconut Milk Pancakes, Fresh Fruit
-Oatmeal Raisin Granola, Yogurt, Fresh Fruit
-Waffles, Fresh Fruit
-Bagels, Cream Cheese, Fresh Fruit
Lunches
-Leftovers x 3
-Out to Eat x 2
-Turkey Corn Dogs, Steamed Green Beans
Dinners
-Grilled Steak Gyros, Homemade Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, Rice Pilaf, Greek Veggie Salad
-Cheese Ravioli, Green Salad, Garlic Toast
-Chicken Enchiladas, Black Beans, Green Salad (making a double batch for the freezer)
-Baked Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans
-Pasta e Fagioli, French Bread (making a double batch for the freezer)
-Pizza, Green Salad

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