Here's a fun food fact you perhaps didn't know: Costco, the massive warehouse club chain, is not only the third largest retailer in the United States, but it is also shaping up to be the number one retailer of organic foods nationwide.
What's more, with their reputation for treating their employees well, the consistent offerings of various free samples, as well as their bargain prices, you can feel good about shopping there. This win/win approach to shopping is all the more important come holiday season, when you are likely to relish every penny saved, without compromising your ethics, or your credit line.
So, in the spirit of the holidays, here are twelve healthy foodstuffs to add to your massive cart the next time you're at the warehouse:
- Snacks Forget the Doritos or big plastic bins of cheese-flavored "puffs." Costco is teeming with healthy snack options, such as organic salsa, organic guacamole, hummus, roasted seaweed, KIND bars, organic popcorn, frozen edamame, and pre-chopped cruditéplatters.
- Fresh produce There are aisles (sometimes entire back rooms!) packed with fresh produce, much of it organic, from 10-pound bags of carrots (a juicer's dream find!), power greens mix (kale, chard, and spinach), lettuce, bananas, apples, and more. There is garlic from California, which, unlike most other garlic at grocery stores, did not have to endure the long, environmentally-unfriendly route from China. At roughly 83 cents a pop, Costco avocadoes are another absolute steal. While the avocadoes are not organic, they do regularly make the Clean 15 list.
- Frozen fruit Smoothie lovers, rejoice! There are several varieties of organic frozen fruit, including berries that are otherwise frequently found on the Dirty Dozen list. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies and other yummy blended treats
- Whole grains Whole grains are spread out through the store, but you can generally find organic brown rice, organic quinoa, and even Nature's Path Organic flax pumpkin granola—which is high in fiber and contains 0.7 grams of plant-based omega-3s per serving.
- Kids' lunch items If you're struggling for fresh ideas for your kids's lunchbox, Costco has 6 oz packages of organic apple slices, Honest kids variety 6 oz juice packs, Stonyfield organic super smoothies, and 3.9 oz containers of Mott's organic applesauce.
- Dairy Be sure to keep your sweater on and spend ample time in the refrigerated section, where you can find cartons of your favorite (non-fat, 1%, 2%) organic milk and almond milk, as well as organic, cage-free eggs, cheese, and other dairy products. Unlike produce, dairy foods can't be peeled or washed, which make them all the more important to opt organic.
- Nuts and butters Organic nuts, such as walnuts and pine nuts, can be very pricey at conventional grocery stores, but Costco offers both at a significant discount. You can also find organic peanut andalmond butters.
- Cooking oils There is organic coconut oil as well as organic extra virgin olive oil; unlike many EVOO, this one passed the test (met standard of identity) according to testing at UC Davis.
- Meat and Fish Costco is also a purveyor of organic chicken, ground beef, and wild fish, too. In fact, Costco announced that it will not sell the recently FDA-approved genetically modified salmon coming on the market. Not a carnivore? Costco supports your protein needs, too: they also sell organic tofu.
- Food trends Costco offer organic chia seeds, red lentil pasta, and organic edamame spaghetti , which is gluten free and with 11 grams of fiber per serving! If you're looking to increase your omega-3 or fiber intake, check these out.
- Source-certified honey You can find honey as well as raw source-certified honey from the USA, which is amazing if you're trying to avoid the influx of antibiotics- and heavy metal-tainted honey that is making its way into the market.
- Ladies Trail Merino wool socks Okay, so this one isn't a food item (unless, I suppose, you're a goat), but they're made-in-the-USA, genuine Merino wool socks, and they're affordable! Who among us isn't a sucker for warm feet in the winter?!