Fact: There are several steals at Costco that are so cheap and versatile, it's almost a shame not to buy them. While I don't allow myself to buy the 10-pound tub of organic coffee every time I go (I know I'd never drink it all before it turned rancid), there are a few things I always buy. Bonus: They're all $10 or less, and they help me stick to a healthy diet between trips.
Read about my favorite finds — and how I use them — below.
1. Kirkland Signature Ground Saigon Cinnamon, $2.99 for 10.7 ounces
Let me start off by saying that I'm a cinnamon nut. I use cinnamon on and in everything whether sweet or savory, and have done so for the last 10 years ever since I quit eating refined sugar. Cinnamon was a game-changer for me in helping curb my sweet tooth and has become my go-to seasoning the last decade, so I've tried just about every brand there is.
I want a smoky, slightly sweet (but not burnt) cinnamon flavor, and Kirkland's cinnamon is incredible. It beats the popular name brand of cinnamon by a milestone in my book and makes oatmeal, shakes, smoothies, baked dishes, and savory entrées so much better.
Yes, I know we said that spices are one of the things that shouldn't be bought at Costco (See: 5 Things Kitchn Editors Never Buy at Costco), and I agree with that when talking about (most) other spices. Cinnamon, though? I can easily get through this entire container in just three months or so.
2. Earthbound Farms Organic Greens, $4.50 for 1 pound
As a nutritionist and healthy food lover, greens are always in my cart no matter where I shop, but they can get expensive if you always buy organic, which I do. At Costco, though, a pound of organic greens by a fantastic organic brand costs less than $5, so this always goes in the cart.
I like to keep half of this container in the fridge for salads during the week and freeze the rest of the greens — portioned out in small zip-top baggies — to preserve them. I use one of the frozen bags of greens each day for my green smoothies! This not only helps reduce food waste, but also helps me easily add greens to my day.
3. Organic Bananas, $2 for three pounds
The most popular fruit in America can be found in an organic option and in three-pound bulk for less than $2! These bananas go into my cart every time I hit up Costco — they then go into my smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and more.
4. Silk Almond Milk, $7 for three half gallons
Unsweetened almond and soy milk are my favorite non-dairy milk choices, and I always buy organic and/or non-GMO varieties whenever I can. Costco carries my favorite brand of non-dairy milk, plus Costco even carries a non-dairy milk by their Kirkland brand, although it's a bit higher in price.
My local Costco carries a box containing three 64-ounce containers of Silk non-dairy unsweetened vanilla almond milk for just under $7, which is a perfect buy and almost a third less than what other stores like Walmart and Target charge (without a coupon). This is the perfect option for oatmeal, smoothies, or even baking, making it a great deal worth buying for anyone looking for a great non-dairy option!
5. Cheerios, $6 for two
Plain Cheerios are one of the healthiest cereals from a mainstream brand you can buy — and Costco has a fantastic price on a two-box bundle. For just under $6, you'll save big on this low-sugar, fiber-rich cereal at Costco that's perfect for kids and adults alike. (I love a bowl of Cheerios with unsweetened almond milk and, surprise, cinnamon.) For those who want a sweeter option, Costco also carries the popular Honey Nut Cheerios.
6. Organic Dates, $10 for 40 ounces
The Medjool dates sold in the produce section are my favorite variety of dates and are also a total steal, but the organic bagged Deglet Noor dates are also fabulous to use in a variety of ways — plus you get a slightly bigger package for the same price (and the organic seal). Dates are packed with potassium, fiber, and natural sugars and are one of my favorite ways to sweeten almost any type of recipe you can think of. They also go great with Costco's Kirkland brand almond butter as a snack!
7. Kirkland Almond Butter, $7 for 27 ounces
This product is a popular favorite for a reason. It comes in bulk, it's cheap, and it's delicious. Plus, there's just one ingredient (almonds), which is why I love it — no salt, sugar, or oil!
I use almond butter to make a quick and easy almond milk (by blending a bit with water), I mix it with other ingredients instead of oil as a healthy dressing, spread it on a sandwich, add it to a smoothie or oatmeal, or snack on few dates with this almond butter spread on top.
8. Frozen Pineapple, $8.50 for five pounds
Costco's selection of frozen fruits and vegetables is super impressive when it comes to finding high-quality, and super-cheap items. All of the store's frozen fruits and veggies are amazing and I've had pretty much every option.
One of my favorite buys in this section is the five-pound bags of frozen pineapple, featuring the sweetest and most delicious frozen pineapple I've ever had. (It usually costs a little more than $8 but I've seen it for as little as $6 — in bigger packs and for less than money than anything I've seen at Walmart.) I snack on frozen pineapple alone, add it to smoothies for natural sweetness and vitamin C, and used it in baking and desserts.
Bonus: Costco's frozen asparagus, frozen organic berries (especially the strawberries!), wild blueberries, organic frozen mangoes, organic frozen raspberries, and Kirkland mixed vegetables are also fantastic and some of my favorite items to buy any time I go. And they're all less than $10.
9. Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal, $8 for 10 pounds
Oatmeal is the one food I don't think I could live without (besides fruits and veggies). Costco carries my favorite variety of oats: old-fashioned oats, which make the best creamy, hot bowl of oats. This giant box of oats can easily be kept in the pantry all year long.
10. McCormick Parsley, $4 for 2.5 ounces
I know what you're thinking: Parsley ... in bulk? Really? Hear me out. This 16-ounce container of McCormick parsley costs less than what a half-ounce container costs at most stores. Plus, dried parsley is much more versatile than many people might initially think!
I add it to salad dressings and salads for a bit more flavor. I even add a teaspoon of dried parsley to my smoothies every single day for extra nutrition, as parsley is high in vitamin C (it doesn't affect the flavor). I even use the stuff to make my own herbal tea!
What are your favorite $10 finds from Costco to help you eat better?
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: A Nutritionist's 10 Favorite Costco Finds for $10 or Less