I’m a nutritionist who loves to shop at Costco – but there are 12 things I never buy there

Costco muffins and fruit with an & quot; X & quot;  drawn over it

I usually go past Costco’s bakery and produce sections pretty fast.Candace Nelson

  • I’m a nutritionist who loves Costco, but there are some things I don’t buy there.

  • I skip big cereal boxes and Kirkland muffins because I prefer to make my own breakfasts.

  • I don’t buy produce or spices in bulk because my 2-person household won’t finish them fast enough.

I roll my cart right past Costco’s bakery section.

muffins in a container at Costco

I don’t think muffins need to be this big and hefty.Candace Nelson

A lot of people love the Kirkland muffins at Costco, but I find them a little bit alarming – they are massive and seem to weigh more than the dumbbells in my basement.

I wasn’t able to find the serving size or full nutritional information on the packages I found in store, but I’d estimate one of these muffins is double the size of standard ones you’d make in a tin at home.

I still enjoy pastries and sweet baked goods, but I prefer to go to a bakery and get one really good, more appropriately sized muffin when I have a craving.

I skip the whites and buy cartons of whole eggs instead.

kirkland cage-free egg whites display in costco

Egg yolks have nutritional value.Candace Nelson

Some people may prefer eating only egg whites – they contain fewer calories and less cholesterol than the yolks – but I’d rather use whole eggs and also get the benefits of the yolk.

Whole eggs are an excellent source of protein, amino acids, iron, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D. Egg whites aren’t so much.

Frozen breakfasts can be convenient, but I’d rather prepare my own.

holding a jimmy dean breakfast in front of a freezer door

I’ve found many frozen breakfasts have too much sodium for me.Candace Nelson

Starting the day with a frozen breakfast sandwich, skillet, or burrito that contains more than half of my ideal daily sodium intake is not for me.

I like to keep my sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day, which is what the American Heart Association says is ideal for most adults. Consuming less sodium comes with some benefits, like reducing your risk for high blood pressure.

One way I keep my intake low is by not relying on premade breakfasts. Instead, I try to have whole grains, nut butter, and fruit in the morning.

Huge quantities of produce go to waste at my house.

pineapples and bananas on display in a costco

I pick up fresh produce at the nearby market in quantities my husband and I can handle.Candace Nelson

I’m all for eating as many fresh vegetables and fruits as you can, but the bulk Costco quantities are too much for me and my husband.

At Costco, I only buy oranges and apples that can last several weeks in the fridge. Otherwise, I opt to pick up frozen fruits and vegetables that are ready to use whenever I need them.

I’ve yet to find a soup at Costco that I want to take home with me.

kirkland soup in a display

I’m pretty careful about how much sodium I consume, so I prefer to make my own soups.Candace Nelson

There are a lot of Kirkland-brand soups that sound delicious, but I still haven’t found one that meets my strict sodium requirements.

For example, I won’t buy any soup with more than 20% of the daily recommended value of sodium per serving on a label.

Instead, I prepare my own soup using homemade broth, which can be made with things like water and veggie scraps.

For me, vitamin supplements are not necessary.

supplement facts label on a bottle the writer is holding

I don’t buy supplements and multivitamins.Candace Nelson

Likely in part because I eat a diverse diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, I haven’t needed to buy multivitamins or special supplements.

But that’s just me – if your healthcare provider recommends a supplement or multivitamin, Costco might be just the place to stock up on it.

If I bought spices in bulk, they would probably lose flavor by the time I used them up.

large jars of spices in costco

I buy smaller jars of spices.Candace Nelson

Spices are wonderful for adding a flavor explosion to your meals and can be a healthier alternative to added salt.

But those giant canisters are just too big for most home cooks and many seasonings lose potency over time. I love cinnamon and I don’t even get through a small container of it before it expires.

If it’s not Halloween, I don’t need candy.

a bulk bag of candy in costco

Sometimes it’s easier to avoid temptation by not buying candy.Candace Nelson

Unless it’s October, I avoid having tasty candy bars like Kit-Kats in my pantry to tempt me.

As much as I love a good snack, I prefer to pick up a single chocolate bar when I have a craving.

I have plenty of water at home so I skip the extra plastic.

cases of water stacked in a costco

I’m lucky to live in an area with clean drinking water.Candace Nelson

I know not everyone is so lucky, but I live in an area with safe, clean drinking water.

I also have more reusable water bottles in my cupboard than I need, so I have no reason to waste money or resources on bottled water.

Costco has a solid cereal selection, but you’ll find me buying oats in bulk instead.

cereal aisle at costco

If I want cereal, I’ll pick up a smaller box.Candace Nelson

As I mentioned, I prefer to make my own breakfast. This helps me control my sodium intake and my sugar intake – many kinds of cereal contain more sugar than I’d prefer to have at the start of my day.

Instead, I stock up on other breakfast essentials at Costco, like whole-grain bread, oats, and eggs. I only buy smaller boxes of cereal when I’m craving it.

If I’m going to eat pizza, I want to go all in.

cauliflower crust pizza in a display at costco

I’ll take a bready crust instead.Candace Nelson

Cauliflower crusts can be great for those who are avoiding gluten or minding their carb intake but I love a classic pizza. And when I want it, I opt for the real deal with a doughy, bready crust. I’ll happily eat my cauliflower on the side.

Between the dough, cheese, and meat toppings, pizza can get pretty high in sodium so I like to add veggies on top and serve it with a salad.

Protein bars and drinks aren’t necessary for me.

protein bars in a display

I prefer getting my protein in other ways.Candace Nelson

I’ve learned that many American adults actually exceed their daily protein requirements. When this is the case, there’s usually no need to worry about getting extra protein boosts.

Protein bars and drinks can certainly be handy for those who need them, but I try to get my protein from eggs, nuts, or hummus.

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