I’m the kind of mom that prefers to do my grocery shopping within a few kilometer radius from my home. I can easily get the girls in the stroller and off we go – no car loading or gas required. We have the luxury of living pretty darn close to some fantastic local stores here in Toronto. That’s where I do 80% of my grocery shopping and spend our hard earned dollars.
As for the other 20%…
When my husband and I need a kid-free date, we leave the little ones with the grandparents and venture to Costco. Sad but true. There’s something about that place that I secretly love. Maybe it’s knowing that I will walk away with a fabulous deal or it’s the anticipation of what new goodies I’ll find. We do the ‘Costco date’ once every few months with the intention of replenishing some staples, but end up buying much more 100% of the time.
I recently did a Periscope on my favourite healthy purchases from what is now the 2nd largest retailer in the world, Costco (a wholesale membership-only warehouse club).
If you don’t have 9 minutes to listen to me ramble about my shopping list, I’ve summarized it all below.
Cashews ($14 for 1 kg) – I don’t eat them regularly but I’m on a raw cheesecake kick. We made these key lime cheesecakes bite by blending soaked cashews with lime and a bit of maple syrup. De-LISH! If you’re little one isn’t gaining enough weight or taking in enough calories, cashews are a go to. My 2 year old ate half of my cheesecake with no hesitation. It’s creamy, not too sweet, and a good source of proteins and fatty acids.
Walnuts ($23 for 1.36 kg ), Spinach ($4 for 11 oz) & Roasted Tomatoes ($10 for 800 mls) – I’m also loving pesto lately as an alternative to your standard tomato sauce on pasta, or vinaigrette on salads and roasted veggies. This is one of my favourite dairy-free pesto recipes which I picked up from Joyous Health. I substitute spinach if I’m low on arugula and use the roasted tomatoes from Costco. By the way, I buy all of my greens organic. According to EWG site they are part of the dirty dozen with a fair amount of pesticides. The roasted tomatoes are incredible – on their own, tossed in a salad. Half the jar is already gone.
Zucchini ($5 for 8)- If your kids are like most, they are pasta obsessed. Try switching out the traditional nutrient-deficient wheat pasta with zucchini noodles. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer if you have either kitchen tool on hand.
Avocado ($7 for 5) – This was Sienna’s first food and continues to play a primary role on her plate as a nutrient dense food. At $2 a pop the cost adds up, especially when we eat an avocado every day. So I’m happy to save a few dollars and grab a bag at Costco for about half the price. Oh and by the way, there’s no need to buy organic avocados given that they are the cleanest food (with the lowest amount of pesticides).
Chia Seeds ($10 for 2lbs) – These tiny seeds are loaded with goodness. Believe it or not they are a decent source of iron (one ounce has 3.5 grams which is more than lentils and spinach) as well as fiber (one ounce has 11 grams of fiber, more than the daily requirement for a toddler. You’ll get a good size bag at Costco so you can make your chia puddings, sprinkle on yougurt, mix into your baking (as an egg substitute or in your smoothies.
Coconut oil (n/a) and Avocado oils ($14) – The main reason I get in my car and drive to Costco with two crying kids in the back is to replenish my oils. Both coconut and avocado oils are great for cooking at high temperatures (smoke points at 350 and 480 degrees F respectively).
Coconut Flour (2 kg for n/a) – I bought both the coconut oil and coconut flour on a separate trip so don’t have the price on hand. BUT I can promise you that I did save some money. If you’re avoiding grains or on the paleo diet kick, coconut flour is a safe alternative to wheat. You can find some delicious recipes for pancakes, cakes, muffins, pizza crust, etc made with this healthier flour (high in fiber and a good source of protein).
Hemp Seeds ($13 for 800 gms) – We go through a lot of hemp seeds in this household, primarily because it’s the source of Sienna’s homemade formula or milk. I currently have 5 bags in my cupboard. If you aren’t making homemade hemp milk (which is simply made by blending a 1:4 ratio of seeds to water with some vanilla and maple syrup if you wish), then top off your salads, yogurt, oats with these nutrient packed seeds. Similar to chia seeds, they are a decent source of iron, protein, and especially those important fatty acids.
Bark Thins ($11.50) – I can’t go to Costco and not pick up some type of a ‘treat’. This is one I don’t have to feel that bad about snacking on because it’s made with fair trade dark chocolate and simple ingredients. That said, it’s still a treat with some sugar – so no need to polish off a Costco sized bag in one night with the kids. Thankfully, each piece packs just the right amount of flavor that I really don’t need to go back for more.
Therein lies the danger in shopping at Costco – everything comes in excess quantities. I think self control should be a prerequisite for getting a Costco membership – without it, our health and physique will take a hit.
So now you tell me, what are your favourite buys from Costco?
P.S. Is it time to amp up your shopping list with nutrient-dense foods? I’m a Certified Nutritionist and a mom who gets you and can help. Take advantage of my 15 minute free consultation to pick my brain with no strings attached. Because I want moms like you to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying motherhood.