I’m a Dietitian and These 17 Staple Costco Items Are Always in My Pantry
As a dietitian, shopping at the warehouse is truly one of my favorite pastimes. I love knowing I can buy pantry staples in bulk, save money, and have a stocked kitchen for weeks. Costco keeps high-quality products on their shelves, and these are some of my favorites right now.
When it comes to choosing the different foods I buy at a place like Costco, I make sure the items I buy have four key attributes.
- Protein: Protein helps me feel full and satisfied, and I love to stock my pantry with more of this satiating macronutrient when I can. From higher protein pastas to canned fish options and nuts and seeds, there are plenty of high-protein pantry staples to go around.
- Fiber: Fiber offers a range of health benefits like keeping me full, improving regular digestion, and managing blood sugar. Stocking my pantry with high fiber favorites means reaching for more whole grains, legumes, nuts, and dried fruits.
- Convenience: Pantry staples can make our lives a whole lot easier. I love to lean on foods that I know are healthy but also make cooking and meal prep faster. This might mean options that are “just add water” style or already cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
- Fun: Some foods at Costco, I just buy for fun! I love their assortment of sweets and better-for-you beverages and love to lean on these for a small delight in the afternoon.
Having other dietitians weigh in here too, here are the 17 staples from Costco we always have in our pantries!
A fan favorite and made with just chickpeas, Banza is my go-to pantry staple from Costco, says Megan Huff, RD, LD Atlanta-Based Cardiac ICU Dietitian. Banza boasts an excellent source of fiber and protein, and it tastes amazing. Unlike other grain-free, gluten-free pastas, Banza tastes and looks like the real thing, but with major healthy perks.
Buy now: Banza Rotini
2. That’s It Fruit Bars
These fruit bars have simple ingredients that keep the nutrition label looking pleasantly balanced. Great for a sweet treat, a healthy snack on the go, or a high-fiber addition to a meal or snack, these bars are great for the whole family. The only ingredient is fruit, so you can feel great about adding these to a lunch or a snack when you are all out of groceries, Marissa Meshulam, founder of MPM Nutrition shares.
Buy now: That’s it Mini Fruit Bars
3. Wild Planet Albacore Tuna
One can of tuna provides an excellent source of protein and heart healthy fats. I love how convenient it is to whip this into a tuna salad and serve with crackers and fruit for a balanced, no-cook lunch. It’s not only convenient but also a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, comments Kristin Draayer, MS, RDN.
Buy now: Wild Planet Albacore Tuna
4. Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Minis
Speaking of fun foods, these dark chocolate coconut bars are the perfect simple treat with only 3 grams of sugar per bar. Sweetened without sugar alcohols, stevia or artificial sweeteners, Unreal just uses less sugar and high quality ingredients.
Buy now: Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Minis
5. Primal Kitchen Mayo
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, a Charleston-based registered dietitian, gives her two cents on healthy Costco staples: “Primal Kitchen Mayo with avocado oil is great for tuna salads, sandwiches, and dips. This mayo is avocado oil-based, giving my dishes a boost of healthy fats. It also uses quality ingredients like organic eggs and organic vinegar, and it is free from ingredients that contain soy or canola oil.”
6. WILDE Protein Chips
Chicken chips might sound funny at first, but these are hit in our house. I love knowing the protein boost will keep me full longer after this snack too. WILDE Protein Chips contain 10 grams of protein since they are made from real chicken breast, egg whites, and bone broth instead of potatoes, adds Manaker.
7. Kirkland Signature Wild Flower Honey
Buying honey in bulk at Costco is cost effective, and I love having a natural sweetener on hand when I need it. From salad dressings drizzles to a dollop in my tea, I regularly use honey to lightly sweeten my food.
Because Costco-sized containers of honey may crystallize before you finish it, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve or place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve.
Buy now: Kirkland Signature Wild Flower Honey
8. Clearly Canadian Sparkling Water
A new kid on the block, this sparkling water comes from a Canadian spring, and with fun flavors like Orchard Peach, Mountain Blackberry, Wild Cherry, and Country Raspberry, I love picking up the variety packs at Costco. These are such a bright spot in the afternoons with a piece of chocolate!
9. Kirkland Signature Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
Whether I am using Kirkland Signature Organic Creamy Peanut Butter on toast, paired with an apple, or in a smoothie, I love to stock my pantry with this heart healthy nut butter. Made with just peanuts and salt, the sodium content is nearly half what you’ll see on the nutrition label of other brands.
10. Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an excellent source of mono-unsaturated fats and other properties, like polyphenols, that have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory property, Kristi Ruth RD/RDN, CNSC, LDN tells us. “Believe it or not, EVOO can be used for more than just salad dressings. I use it in place of other oils for pretty much everything, including baking, roasting veggies, and making marinades for chicken and pork, as it has been shown to have a reasonably high smoke point. Thankfully, you will find both organic and conventional extra virgin olive oil in the aisles of Costco, so there’s an option for every budget,” she concludes.
11. Kirkland Signature, Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
Buying canned salmon in bulk at places like Costco is a great way to save money with a high quality, shelf-stable protein source, says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Board Certified Sports Dietitian located in Miami, FL. “Luckily, most canned salmon in the U.S. including what’s sold at Costco is either pink or sockeye salmon sourced from Alaska, which means it’s wild and sustainable. I love to have it on hand for salads, sandwiches, or mash with an avocado and eat with whole grain crackers for an easy high protein snack,” she shares.
12. Royal Basmati Rice
One of my favorite pantry staples is the giant bag of Royal Basmati Rice at Costco. Rice is the perfect base for dishes like burrito bowls, soups, and curries. I love the budget-friendly price at Costco and know this massive bag will last me and my family for months to come. Plus, knowing I always have a starchy carb on hand that will cook in minutes helps me on nights when dinner prep feels stressful.
Buy now: Royal Basmati Rice
13. Natural Delights Medjool Dates
Medjool dates are a fresh fruit with a caramel-like taste, making them perfect to satisfy any sweet tooth, shares Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “As a dietitian, I love how they’re filled with potassium, iron, and satiating fiber without any added sugars. I always like to stock up on Natural Delight Medjool dates at Costco with their two-pound pack. You can enjoy them alone or make sweet treats like these “Snickers” Dates,” she offers.
When I want a fun beverage, but I am tired of water, I love to stock up on OLIPOP at Costco. I love foods and beverages that double up as health-promoting and fun, which is why I’d recommend stocking up on the OLIPOP Prebiotics Soda Variety Pack, says Melissa Boufounos, CHN, sports nutritionist and owner of MB Performance Nutrition. With less than 45 calories and 2 to 5 g of total sugar per can, OLIPOP helps support gut health with 9 grams of prebiotic fiber. The variety pack contains nostalgic soda flavors like Root Beer, Vintage Cola, Orange Squeeze, and (my personal favorite) Classic Grape, Boufounos comments.
Buy now: OLIPOP 24-pack
15. Wonderful Pistachios
“I love having Wonderful Pistachios in my pantry at all times,” comments Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “As a good source of complete protein, fiber, and good fats, this trio of nutrients promotes fullness for hours to come. When choosing the shell-in pistachios, the leftover shells serve as a visual reminder of how much you ate, helping with portion control,” she advises.
Buy now: Wonderful Pistachios, 24-count
16. Kodiak Power Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix
What’s better than pancakes, except high-protein pancakes you can buy in bulk at the warehouse! Palinski-Wade shares that she is a huge fan of Kodiak Power Cakes, which make it so easy to whip up protein-packed pancakes by just adding water. “Made of whole-grain wheat and oat flour, these cakes contain 15 grams of protein per serving,” she shares.
17. Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
Whenever I go to Costco, I always stock up on Bob’s Red Mill quick cooking steel cut oats, says Kristen Carli, MS, RD. “I love to use them throughout the week in fried egg-topped savory oatmeal, fruit-filled overnight oats, and blueberry oat muffins. Steel cut oats are a good source of plant-based protein, iron, and a particular type of soluble fiber called beta glucan, which helps support heart health,” she shares.
Disclaimer: We only recommend products we seriously love and want to share. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which includes affiliate links.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.