It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Costco, where it seems like they have both everything and nothing you need all at once. But Costco’s healthy snacks are not to be missed. Luckily, they’re actually kind of hard to miss, because there’s pretty much something tasty and snackable around every corner.
Instead of making a beeline for the snack aisle, like you might in a regular supermarket, you’ll begin to spot Costco’s snacks the moment you walk through the entrance. Look past the electronics and you’ll notice mountains of nuts, crackers, and dried fruits already beginning to appear. From there, just about every aisle is a snack aisle if you know what to look for. For example, among the canned beans and veggies, you’ll also find snack packs of olives that are perfect for in-between-meals munching. By the big bottles of juice, you’ll notice grab-and-go applesauce packets for quick and easy snacking. The snacking possibilities (snackabilities?) are endless.
Though buying healthy snacks in bulk can sometimes feel like it costs more than it’s worth, there are so many pros to stocking up on a large scale, Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, of Street Smart Nutrition, tells SELF. “Planning and preparation are key to building consistent habits, and part of that is setting up your environment to have access to what you need.” The bottom line is that you probably won’t regret having a huge box of pistachios or bag of dried mangoes on hand when the hunger pangs start to strike, even if it feels excessive to buy so much in the moment. (And you’ll usually end up paying less in the long run despite the higher price upfront.)
Yes, there are a lot of pros to shopping at Costco, but there are also a couple of important things to remember to ensure that you get the most out of your bulk-buying experience. For one, Harbstreet suggests sticking to dried and shelf-stable goods so that you don’t have to worry about anything spoiling before you’re able to eat it. And whenever you’re building your Costco shopping list, take stock of your personal situation. Ask yourself what you always have, what you always need more of, and if there’s anything you can do to extend the lifespan of certain ingredients in order to cut down on food waste. For example, nuts can become rancid quickly when repeatedly exposed to oxygen and high temps, so splitting up one big box into several airtight containers is one easy way to guarantee they live to their full potential.
To help make the shopping experience easier, we asked registered dietitians to share their favorite healthy snacks at Costco. The below 26 picks are worthy additions to your pantry no matter the season. If you can’t make it to the store in person for whatever reason, know that many Costco must-haves—including the products here—can now be found on InstaCart or Costco online. If you’d rather shop in-store but don’t have a membership, see if a family member or friend will be kind enough to lend you theirs (and maybe accompany you on the trip). Now, get ready to bulk up that pantry!
A note about the word healthy here: We know that healthy is a complicated concept. Not only can it mean different things to different people, but it’s a word that’s pretty loaded (and sometimes fraught), thanks to the diet industry’s influence on the way we think about food. At SELF, when we talk about food being healthy, sure, we’re talking about foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying. But we’re also talking about foods that help you connect with your culture, promote joy, and simply taste delicious. Some of those foods might fall into conventional ideas of what “healthy” is. And some might not. We selected these items with all of that in mind while also trying to appeal to a wide variety of nutritional needs and taste buds.