I’m a nutritionist who loves shopping at Costco — but there are 12 things I never shop there

I usually stop by the Costco bakery and produce sections pretty quickly.Candace Nelson

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

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

  • I don’t buy products or spices in bulk because my family of 2 doesn’t finish them fast enough.

I pass my cart past the bakery section of Costco.

muffins in a container at Costco

I don’t think muffins need to be that big and chunky.Candace Nelson

A lot of people love Kirkland muffins at Costco, but I find them a little alarming — they’re huge and seem to weigh more than the dumbbells in my basement.

I couldn’t find the serving size or complete nutritional information on the packets I found at the store, but I estimate that one of these muffins is twice the size of the standard ones you would make in a tin at home.

I still like cakes and pastries, but I prefer to go to a bakery and buy a really good, more appropriately sized muffin when I feel like it.

I skip the whites and buy whole egg cartons instead.

Kirkland Cageless Egg Whites Display at Costco

Egg yolks have nutritional value.Candace Nelson

Some people may prefer to eat only egg whites – they contain fewer calories and less cholesterol than yolks – but I prefer to 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 are not so much.

Frozen breakfasts can be convenient, but I prefer to make my own.

holding a jimmy dean breakfast in front of a freezer door

I’ve found that 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 a day, which is what the American Heart Association says is ideal for most adults. Consuming less sodium has some benefits, such as reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

One way to keep my intake low is to not rely on pre-made breakfasts. Instead, I try to eat whole grains, peanut butter, and fruit in the morning.

Large amounts of produce are wasted in my home.

pineapples and bananas on display at a costco

I pick up fresh produce from 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 I can, but the bulk quantities at Costco are just too much for my husband and me.

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

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

kirkland soup in an exhibition

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

There are many Kirkland brand soups that look delicious, but I haven’t yet found one that meets my strict sodium requirements.

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

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

For me, vitamin supplements are not necessary.

complete the facts label on a bottle the writer is holding

I don’t buy supplements and multivitamins.Candace Nelson

Probably in part because I have a diverse diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, I didn’t have to buy multivitamins or special supplements.

But that’s just me — if your doctor recommends a supplement or multivitamin, Costco might be the right place to stock it.

If I bought spices in bulk, they would probably lose their flavor when I consumed them.

large jars of spices at costco

I buy smaller jars of spices.Candace Nelson

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

But these giant cans are too big for most home cooks, and many spices lose potency over time. I love cinnamon and I can’t even get through a small container before it expires.

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

a bulk bag of candy at costco

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

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

As much as I love a good snack, I prefer to grab a single bar of chocolate when I feel like it.

I have a lot of water at home, so I skip the extra plastic.

water cases stacked in a costco

I’m lucky to live in an area with clean 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 locker than I need, so I have no reason to waste money or resources on bottled water.

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

cereal aisle at costco

If I want cereal, I get a smaller box.Candace Nelson

As I mentioned, I prefer to make my own breakfast. It helps me control my sodium intake and my sugar intake – many types of cereal contain more sugar than I would like to have at the start of my day.

Instead, I stock up on other breakfast essentials at Costco, like whole grain bread, oatmeal, and eggs. I only buy smaller boxes of cereal when I feel like it.

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

cauliflower crust pizza on a display at costco

I’ll get a crust of bread instead.Candace Nelson

Cauliflower crusts can be great for anyone who is avoiding gluten or taking care of their carb intake, but I love a classic pizza. And when I want it, I go for the real deal with a doughy, bready crust. I will happily eat my cauliflower on the side.

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

Protein bars and drinks are not necessary for me.

protein bars in a display

I prefer to get my protein in other ways.Candace Nelson

I 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 helpful for anyone who needs them, but I try to get my protein from eggs, nuts, or hummus.

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