Get the Skinny: The ‘Costco Diet’

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Eating healthy on a budget can be tough, but warehouse stores like Costco make it easier than ever to stock up on healthy finds without breaking the bank.

Inspired by Good Morning New Orleans anchor Jacki Jing, a Costco devotee, here is a sample meal plan that Molly would recommend to clients, modified for items that can all found at Costco.  Even if you don’t have a Costco membership, you can still find similar items at Sam’s or Target, and of course it always pays to take a look at the sales at your local stores, as well.

BREAKFAST:

Greek yogurt + Berries (parfait-style or blend with almond milk); Optional Kashi Waffle + Nut Butter

Plain Greek Yogurt, Kirkland’s Brand.

  • Costco Price: $5.79 for 2 quarts ($0.09 per ounce)
  • Regular Store Price: $6.99 for 1 quart ($0.21 per ounce)
  • 59% less $

Fresh or Frozen Berries:

  • Costco Price: $9.99 per 4# bag ($2.50 per 1#)
  • Regular Store Price: $ 4.79 per 1# bag
  • 52% less $

Kashi Blueberry Waffles

  • Costco Price: $11.99 for 48-count
  • Regular Store Price: 3.49 for 6 waffles
  • 57% less $

MORNING SNACK:

Pistachios single-serving packet: 1.5-oz packets offer built-in portion control; only 100 calories per pack

  • Costco Price: $16.99 for 24 packets
  • Regular Store Price: $12.15 for 12 packets
  • 30% less $

 

LUNCH:  

Extra Lean Turkey Burger: On light wheat bun, or just plain patty, topped with thin slice of cheese, tomato, and ¼ avocado or 100-calorie tub of guacamole

  • Costco Price: $10.99/ 12- 5oz burgers
  • Regular Store Price: $5.49/4- 4oz burgers
  • 33% less $

AFTERNOON SNACK OPTIONS:

Daily Greens Organic & Cold-Pressed Juice: 3 varieties; all are either 100% vegetable or mostly-vegetable blends

  • Costco Price: $23.49/9 bottles ($2.61/bottle)
  • Regular Store Price: $7.99/bottle
  • 67% less $

Kirkland Protein Bar:  21 grams protein, no artificial sweeteners; comparable to a Quest Bar

  • Costco Price (Kirkland): $17.99/20 bars, ($0.90/bar)
  • Regular Store Price (Quest bar): $24.99/12 bars ($2.08/bar)
  • 57% less $

Mary’s Gone Crackers paired with 100-calorie guacamole, nuts, cheese, or spread with nut butter

  • Costco Price: $8.49 for 2- 10 ounce bags
  • Regular Store Price: $4.49 for 1 box (4.77 ounces)
  • 57% less $

DINNER

Fresh Salmon:  Cut into 3-6 ounce portions and frozen in individual portions

  • Costco Price: $7.99 per pound
  • Regular Store Price: $12.99 per pound
  • 38% less $

Organic Chicken Thighs, boneless/skinless: Perfect for slow-cooker shredded chicken recipes

  • Costco Price: $4.49 per pound
  • Regular Store Price: $6.49 per pound
  • 30% less $

Veggies – Wide variety of fresh or frozen vegetables to choose from

Avocado Oil – Can withstand high cooking temps, excellent for stir-frying, sauteeing or even frying

  • Costco Price: $17.99/ 28oz
  • Regular Store Price: $7.99/8 oz
  • 36% less $

EVENING SNACK:

Almond Milk, Unsweetened: Blend with protein powder for a protein-rich, low-carb evening snack

  • Costco Price: $9.49/6 quarts
  • Whole Foods: $3.49/2 quarts
  • 10% less $

Whey Protein Powder like Muscle Milk 100% Whey:

  • Costco Price: $39.99/6 pound bag ($0.52 per scoop of 27 grams protein)
  • Regular Store Price: $49.99 per 2 pound can ($1.78 per scoop of 24 grams protein)
  • Approx 70% less $$

More ideas of what to do with similar Costco supplies:

 

  • Slow cooker chicken (see recipe below)
  • Chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken (or rotisserie chicken meat, already pulled, available at Costco), with Greek yogurt instead of mayo.
  • Lean ground beef + pasta sauce over spiralized zucchini
  • Cauliflower – fresh or frozen – roasted + pureed as a substitute for mashed potatoes or grits

Southwest-Style Shredded Chicken

 Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Season chicken with chili powder, and place into slow cooker. Top with salsa, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook on low for four hours. Remove the chicken and shred with a fork in a large bowl.

Pour liquid from slow cooker into a separate bowl, and place chicken back into the slow cooker. Pour half a cup to three-quarters of a cup of the reserved liquid back into the slow cooker until desired consistency is reached. Cover until ready to serve.

Per serving: 150 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 440 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 0 sugar, 22 grams protein.

 

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Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD

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