Eating Healthy on a Budget Part II: Work-in-Progress 'Top 15' Costco List with Naturopathic Nutrition Tips

Last Spring I got my first ever Costco membership. I have only gone three times but enough to be impressed with the volume of whole foods and organic products and shocked at the mega size packs. Delighted with some of the prices. The first time I went I was on a time limit  - bad idea - had 3 hours to drive to Calgary, shop and be back for school pick-up - never again - so for once I didn't take the time to look at all the ingredients - was just throwing things in that gigantic cart that looked good. $5 billion dollars later (lol) I came home and looked at ingredients and was surprised to find what was in  some of the products that were 'natural/organic/gluten free' - MSG in its various names, lots of sugar, corn syrup, corn oil. 

The second time was much better. I went slowly and intentionally and decided to enjoy my experience and even breathe (-: .  I made a list of the items I found that were healthy and well-priced and created a work-in-progress list for you. You do certainly save money at Costco on many things and in some cases the packaging is much less with the bigger quantities as in the bags of flours, grains and nuts. Consider working together with some friends or colleagues by shopping for each other to save gas costs and time. We always like to see what we can wrangle up locally first.

Here's the list ...

1. Kombucha - they carry the ginger flavour - great deal for a case. Fermented mushroom to support digestive wellness. This is what my kids crave- it is our fizzy healthy pop-like treat. At this price it trumps making it trumps making it ourselves. Love the glass bottles.

2. Red Mills Oats - cheap, organic, nice size bag - remember to soak oats night before to increase digestibility and nutritional value.

3. Coconut Oil - what a deal -  decent quality - great for cooking due to its stability at high temperatures. Great moisturizer too. 

4. Organic frozen berries - 2 kg bags are great deals. Remember to thaw berries before adding to smoothies is you're a cold person by nature or have trouble digesting food - you need warmth (!) and our digestive enzymes that break foods down to get us the nutrients we need to fuel our bodies and give us energy have their optimal temperatures to do their good work.

5. Tru-Roots - I love this company - they have several products that I'm impressed with - bag of Quinoa (what a savings), bag of mixed grains, bag of sprouted rice (sprouting grains increases their digestibility and are the form I most like to buy my grains in when possible - soaking grains initiates the sprouting process so that's the more common way we increase the nutritional and prana value of our grains and nuts too).


6. Larabars - great clean bar - sweetened with dates usually - nice hiking snack and a steal of a deal. We haven't had great luck with the other bars there yet - hard to digest and very gassy!!!!

7. Happy Planet juices - we don't drink juice as we generally eat whole fruits but this juice is a great treat and we prefer these when we're needing something to down our Chlorella powder with! Great company.

8. Olives - pitted large glass jar full of tasty olives - truth be told that this is what ultimately brought me to Costco after a friend introduced me to these. I want to say they are free even though I know they are not - basically incredibly cheap for what you get ---  no-brainer purchase. 

9. Hemp seeds - love this - big bag - enviro-friendly packaging, great food to add to smoothies, stir fries, granola, etc.

10. Wild salmon cans - great price - fish in moderation to not-a- all is the recommendation these days - sigh - so sad. Mainly I remain in denial in this area - this is among the cleaner fishes.

11. Organic Butter - grass fed - snap this up if you see it. The fat soluble chemicals and hormones concentrate in the fat and butter is just that. Sometimes patients are surprised when I suggest that they put butter high up on the list of foods to buy organic. Vegetables and fruit have gotten more attention in the organic spotlight and of course are very important too (especially the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen) but from a health perspective meats are #1, then dairy, then grains and then the key veggies and fruit. 

12. Organic meats - I have my sources of meat that I like for my family but I was told that Costco can have a good selection sometimes at good prices. Organic meat is the way to go for your meat ...

13. Bags of whole nuts and pecans - not roasted or salted - just plain - when I run out of my Rancho vignola stash this is a great backup. Remember that soaking nuts increases the availability of their nutrient value - this works easy with almonds - just put water and almonds in a glass tupperware and soak overnite. They swell and crunch like fresh peas - yum!

14. Maple syrup - I have in the past bought Agave Syrup but for several reasons prefer good 'ol honey and maple syrup the odd time I crave something sweet. Their 1 L bottle of Maple Syrup is priced well.

15. 1.3 kg Bags of Almond and Coconut Flour from Sunblest - it is beneficial to vary  what we bake with whether we are gluten free to not. The no-grain muffins on the recipe tab on my website uses the almond flour and is a real hit for folks as the muffins freeze well. Coconut flour is pretty tasty but the recipes I have used in the past use a lot of eggs. 1/4 cup coconut flour to 8 eggs was one recipe - very fluffy. Good one to try for some variety.