About 1 year ago I was watching our local PBS channel and stumbled across a documentary on Costco. Having such a small family, I hadn’t ventured far into the warehouse shopping experience. At least not with a basket. It wasn’t until I learned about their philosophy on quality products and focus on employee valuation that I even gave this mega-monster a second thought.
As you may have learned in my review about Orgain protein powder, Costco is new to Fort Collins. With Sam’s as the reigning incumbent for a population below 200,00 I wasn’t sure our little town could support it. And with our tiny little family, I wasn’t sure we would ever shop there.
Well. I’m wrong a lot. So this is just another public example. It seems our town CAN support it based on the way we eat. In fact, pretty much all of Wyoming supports it as well. And the tiny family, you ask? Well, given that we all eat at least 5 times per day, and the small person is becoming less small every day (2 shoe sizes in 3 months), we ended up being big supporters as well.
The reason why is because it’s just so easy to do. Now I will say that the actual shopping at Costco is NOT always easy, and I have to psych myself up before every trip. Just maneuvering the behemoth basket through the store is enough to call it a workout. Even when it’s empty. Go on a weekend, and you need considerable driving skills to negotiate the gridlock.
Then there’s the loading of the car. Not having lots of bags to neatly stack side by side can be a challenge. However, the Lobster is a problem-solver, and filling an empty space with lots of randomly shaped/sized objects is his jam. I rarely do this trip without him for that reason alone.
Finally there is the unloading of said objects. Living in a dated house from the 90’s does not afford one much cabinet space, and the laziness of its inhabitants can lead to cases of food collecting around the basement door. We’re still working on the unloading. I’m not gonna lie. It usually takes about a week for everything to get de-boxed, unbulked, organized and stored in its proper place. Not easy.
But finding clean foods at great prices? SO easy! Label reading on this scale can be quite overwhelming, and I did some of the work for you during my trip today. I want your Costco experience to be easy too, so I photographed some items I’d like you to know about. I continue to be amazed by all Costco has to offer. What I have presented here is only a fraction of what is available, and is based on our personal family’s tastes. However, if you’re on the road to a healthier lifestyle, I think you’ll find some of these great too.
QUALIFYING PRODUCTS: Before you see what we bought today, I’d like to give you a brief rundown of how I chose most of them. I generally go by ingredients first. No hydrogenated oils, preservatives, suspicious-looking loooooong sciency words or artificial flavors/colors. The shorter the list of ingredients, the better, and the longer lists had better have words I recognize in them. For example, the salad below has a long list, but also words like kale, cabbage, etc. Next I look at the nutrition label. Key factors are sugar, fiber, protein, carb, fat, serving size and calories/per serving. That’s about it.
But what about organic? Costco has a surprising selection of organic products on a regular basis, which I think is pretty cool. In fact, sometimes that’s ALL they have to offer for a given item. However, let’s also make one thing very clear while we’re on this topic. I DO NOT buy all organic. I just can’t afford it. I go generally for meats, some dairy and some produce, and whatever else I happen to find that’s priced well. If you can’t afford all organic either, then take heart that eating a piece of conventional (non-organic) fruit is WAY healthier than eating an organic doughnut. Every time.
At this point I’d like to acknowledge the processed foods in here. From time to time I come across some decent selections that will get you by in a pinch. Or when you’re just bored stiff with your regular fare. I have run into this recently and reached back a little to my calorie counting days to get by. No, sometimes I don’t get the 20g protein with EVERY meal. Sometimes it’s only 13g. Sometimes I want some chips, so I reach for a healthier version with a lot of fiber. Sometimes I want some pasta, and go with white pasta occasionally because I can. Keeping the calories in check helps me do that. Moderation is my mojo, and with some of these foods I’ve been able to keep it that way.
Before I go let’s also talk about the kid food. Switching adults to eating healthy is a process. Feeding kids healthy when they’re used to crap is a miracle. We have yet to experience any miracles around here, but we’re steadily making progress. Right now I try to focus on protein. Whatever that looks like, and will be accepted. Yes you’ll see some sugar in there, but did I mention the thing about the miracle?
I hope you enjoyed our trip together, and I’d love to hear about what you like at Costco. I also want you locals to know that we can do this anytime if you are near Fort Collins. I ADORE grocery store tours and learn something pretty much every time I go. It doesn’t even have to be at Costco. In fact, I’d prefer to go to your local grocery store because that’s where you’ll spend the majority of your shopping time. I am also available for online sessions to discuss label reading and shopping in general if you are outside of northern Colorado. My success is based on your success, and I will keep doing my best to help you achieve it in a big way!
One last thing. You may have noticed that my blog posts are getting further and fewer between. That’s just part of my new status as a working girl. However, I still enjoy paying my success forward. I send fitness info into the universe most days, and tend to post a lot about my shopping habits on the 43fitness facebook page. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to LIKE the page and click on the drop down menu for the like button and choose GET NOTIFICATIONS so you actually see the posts. If you are already a fan you can do the same thing by visiting the page and choosing to get notifications as well.