When many of think of Costco food, we often think of frozen, premade food that you pop on a tray and cook in the oven. Certainly healthy, whole food dinners aren’t what we think of as the typical Costco dinner. However, you can easily skip the junk and buy a lot of whole food ingredients there! A lovely organic salad with low-mercury sustainable tuna, organic quinoa, avocado, and shredded organic carrots with a vinegar and organic olive oil dressing can be made from ingredients found at Costco.

My local Costco has some real gems, such as the cheapest prices for organic quinoa, Kerrygold pastured butter, and Nutiva coconut oil in town. One 8-ounce package of Kerrygold butter only costs $2.33, and Nutiva coconut oil is only $.28 an ounce. These are amazing deals.

But is the cost of membership worth it? It costs $55 for a yearly membership. Whether this cost is worth it to you or not is going to depend on a few things. First, what's available at your local Costco will be a factor, as items vary. How far away the store is from your house is also something to consider and how many items you’d be willing to shop there. The stores have clothing items, books, toys, kitchen items and other household goods for good prices as well as the food. For natural cleaning, large bottles of white vinegar are avaible for next to nothing, and you can buy 13.5 pounds of baking soda for $16.59.

Looking just at the food, I think it depends on whether you are a 100 percent  buy-from local-farmers shopper or not. If you are, it won’t be worth it for you. But if you have some flexibility, you may, like me, find enough food items to make it worth it. Plus, it seems like Costco is adding more healthy items in every month. I found several new items there today. A single girl who mostly cooks for herself might not find significant savings, but a mother cooking for a family of six (or in my case, four), probably will — especially if you go through Kerrygold butter like we do!

There are several Costcos near me, and even these can vary a little in what they carry. So keep in mind that you will need to check your local Costco for variety and costs. For example, one reader informed me recently that her Costco had even cheaper organic whole chickens than mine does.

Here is a rundown of some of the products of interest (I don’t necessarily buy all of these items, but was trying to find a wide variety of items. For the sake of length, I won’t go through the pros and cons of buying all of these items, but you are welcome to mention them in the comments section! I’d love to hear your thoughts.)

Dry goods:
Organic maple syrup 1 L/$13.69
Adam’s Peanut Butter 80 oz./$.8.99
Maranatha Natural Almond Butter 26 oz./$6.79
Tree Top Organic Applesauce 36-4 oz. containers/$10.49
Tree Top Organic Applesauce 4-47-25 oz./$9.69
Organic Salsa, 2-38 oz./$7.75
Organic Tomato Paste 12/6 oz./$5.99 (they also had organic tomato sauce, diced, and maybe stewed for good prices as well)
Truroots organic, gluten-free pasta 2.20 lbs./$7.49
Organic wheat pasta from Italy 6-1.1 lbs./&8.49
Organic quick oats 112 oz./$7.79
Organic Lundberg short brown rice 12 lbs./$12.99
Seeds of Change organic quinoa 4 lbs./$8.79
Sprouted Grain Medley, 3 lbs./ $8.99
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar (Fair trade, unbleached — good for kombucha making) 10 lbs/$8.69

Vitacoco Coconut water 6-1L/$15 (sometimes $20; this was on sale)

Himalayan pink salt in salt grinder container 13 oz./$3.99

Canned and smoked seafood:
Wild Planet’s low-mercury, sustainably caught tuna 6-5 oz. cans/$14.99
Kirkland’s Wild Sockeye Salmon, canned 3-6 oz. cans $10.89
Bear and Wolf Wild Alaskan Salmon 6-6 oz./$11.99
Smoked Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon 24 oz./$16.89
Organic Chicken Stock 6-32 oz./ $11.99

Walnuts 3 lbs./ $16.99
Almonds 3 lbs./$12.79
Pecans 2 lbs./$13.99
Raw pine nuts 24 ounces/$23.99

Oils and fats: 
Organic extra virgin olive oil 2 L/$12.39
Nuova olio extra virgin olive oil, unfiltered and unheated (California brand) 1 L/$7.99
Kerrygold butter 3-8 oz./$6.99
Organic butter 2 lbs./$7.69
Nutiva Coconut oil 78 oz./$21.99

Frozen and refrigerated goods: 
Frozen organic dark cherries 4 lbs./$12.69 (lots of other frozen fruits and berries, but not any other organic ones)
Organic frozen green peas 5 lbs./$4.65
Organic frozen corn 3.5 lbs./ $4.65
Frozen wild Alaskan salmon burgers 3 lbs. (12 count)/$14.89
Wild Alaskan frozen halibut 2 lbs./$37.69
Wild caught frozen mahi-mahi 3 lbs./ $23.99
Wild Alaskan frozen sockeye 3 lbs./$26.89
Organic eggs 24 count/$6.99
Kerrygold cheese 2.18 lbs./$12.99
Lamb Leg Roast $4.99 a pound
Organic whole chicken $2.49 a pound
Organic drumsticks $1.79 a pound
Organic chicken thighs $3.99 a pound
Organic chicken breasts $5.99 a pound
5-count bag of large avocadoes $4.49
Organic Fuji apples 5.5 lbs./ $6.99
Organic baby spinach 1 lb./$3.99
Organic spring mix 1 1b/$3.99
Organic baby kale mix 1.5 lbs./$4.99
Organic broccolini 2 lbs./$5.50
Organic carrots 10 lbs/ $5.99

What do you think? Do the above food items make it worth it? Any other Costco members out there?

Real food at Costco at affordable prices
You can buy unhealthy and healthy foods at Costco. Here's a price list of some healthier whole food options I found at my local Costco.