Though I'm not vegan like my fellow editors Gina and Jenny, I try to root a lot of my diet in plant-based choices for a number of reasons. In fact, 90 percent of my Costco staples are amazing vegan finds — and they make healthy eating easier and cheaper than ever.
- Quinoa: This staple grain makes for an amazing breakfast porridge, salad enhancer, side dish, and base for protein bowls for lunch and dinner. I always, always have quinoa on hand to cook in batches for the week. Buying in bulk from Costco — whether it's Kirkland brand or whichever brand is available in your area (I got truRoots in a four-pound bag) — saves you money as well as time at the grocery store.
- Chia Seeds: Over a year ago on a Costco trip, I grabbed a massive bag of Nutiva chia seeds for less than $8 (as far as I remember), and it lasted me up until now. All the chia pudding, all the overnight oats, all the salad toppings — you can do so much with chia seeds.
- Coconut Oil: Possibly my favorite Costco hack of all time — vegan or otherwise! — is the coconut oil. Recently, the store upped the quantity from decently large 42-ounce tubs to MASSIVE 84-ounce tubs . . . in packs of three. You could fill a bathtub with coconut oil and swim in it. Here's the deal: Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil at Whole Foods is nearly $1 an ounce, whereas the bulk Costco version is about 23 cents per ounce. This means if you were paying Whole Foods pricing for this quantity of Kirkland coconut oil, this bulk order would cost you $252. The $60 price for 252 ounces is even cheaper than pricing you can get at Walmart, at which the coconut oil is 46 cents per ounce at full price.
- Organic, Pure Maple Syrup: You probably already know this, but organic maple syrup is crazy expensive at the grocery store! Prices vary per region, but the last time I picked up a liter of this golden goodness, it was around $9 or $10. At Whole Foods last weekend, a slightly smaller quantity was $22. Maple is the ultimate low-FODMAP sweetener for baking, chia pudding, overnight oats, and protein pancakes, so stock up!
- Almond Milk: I've realized that, with healthy baking, protein pancakes, and smoothies, I never won't need almond milk. It's like toilet paper. You can't overdo it. You'll always need it. Fortunately, you can stock up with Kirkland Signature or big brands like Silk to get your shelf-staple almond milk supply, save money, and always have something on hand.
- Canned Coconut Milk: Same goes for coconut milk. It's shelf stable, inexpensive when bought in bulk, and great for so many recipes, from smoothies to chia puddings to golden milk to curries. Brands will vary depending on your location, but I typically opt for the Thai Kitchen brand because it's significantly cheaper when you get it at Costco.
- Frozen Fruit and Smoothie Packs: While you can always stock up on bags of your favorite frozen fruits (either single bags of frozen strawberries or tropical blends that have papaya and pineapple!), some Costcos have premade smoothie packs with fruits and veggies together. Talk about a meal prepper's dream come true!
- Frozen Acai: You'll always be ready for antioxidant-packed smoothies and smoothie bowls on hand by keeping your Sambazon stocked in the freezer. Check your local Costco for availability — I know its available in California!
- Alpine Valley or Dave's Killer Bread: Save a few dollars on seedy, nutritious, whole-grain bread with Costco pricing. I've noticed that locations in both Northern and Southern California offer these two superdelicious options. If you won't go through two loaves quickly (I know I won't), you can freeze one to extend the shelf life.