The Healthiest Party Foods to Buy at Costco
When planning a party, Costco's bulk buys are a big help—especially if they're healthy choices. Skip the super caloric nibbles and go with these wholesome picks, all approved by registered dietitian nutritionists.
Garden Lites Superfood Blend Veggie Cakes
“Besides the obvious fresh fruits and veggies, I always hit up the frozen section,” says Caroline Susie, RDN, a registered dietitian in Dallas, TX. “The 12 superfood veggie cakes are delicious and only 100 calories each. The first three ingredients make up the majority of most foods, so always take a peek at the ingredients list. The cakes’ first three ingredients are a vegetable blend of carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini; brown rice; and egg whites. The other fabulous thing about these cakes is they cook in no time! Pop them straight from the freezer into your microwave for 45 seconds. That’s it!” If you’re not taking advantage of your grocery’s freezer section, you should check out the 10 myths about frozen foods everyone needs to stop believing.
Angie’s Boomchickapop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
“I like that I can get Angie’s Boomchickapop from Costco because it makes the perfect crunchy, sweet, and salty snack that everyone loves to grab a handful of,” says Emily Kyle, MS, RDN, owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition in Rochester, NY. “The product is naturally gluten-free—and with only 70 calories and 2 grams of fiber per cup, this is one party food everyone will feel good about enjoying.”
“I love complementing my cheese platter with beautiful, delicious grapes that I pick up from Costco,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a nutrition partner with Grapes from California. “They’re always a crowd pleaser at any party I throw! Grapes are a natural source of beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, associated with numerous health benefits, from heart health to healthy aging. Polyphenols are found in every part of the grape—the skin, flesh, and seeds—and in grapes of all colors.” Costco usually sells red, green, and black grapes, in bunches ranging from three to five pounds.
Sun Date Organic Fancy Large Medjool Dates
“My quick, easy, and totally delish party dish is bacon-wrapped dates,” says Chere Bork, MS, RD, a dietitian in Minneapolis, MN. “Just wrap half a slice of bacon around a pitted date, and secure with a toothpick.” Then bake at 375° Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through and cooking until the bacon is crispy. “Dates offer potassium and can help regulate our heartbeat and blood pressure,” says Bork. Make sure to soak the toothpicks in water before putting them in the oven! Before buying a membership, weigh the differences between Costco and Sam’s Club.
Late July Organic Sea Salt Multigrain Tortilla Chips
“I like these tortilla chips because they have simple ingredients and also more fiber and protein than some potato chips,” says Jessica Gust, MS, RDN, a pediatric and family dietitian in Arroyo Grande, CA. “This is a great snack because almost everyone can eat it! It’s gluten-free and vegan.” Get the scoop on BBQ foods that are actually good for you.
Hannah Classic Organic Hommus
“One of my favorites at Costco, for parties and every day, is the giant 32-ounce tub of Hannah Hommus,” says Laura Yautz, RDN, a registered dietitian in Pittsburgh. “It’s perfect for big crowds or portioning out to have for snacks during the week. I love that it’s relatively healthy all on its own—and I can get a punch of plant protein, healthy fats, and deliciousness in the middle of a raw veggie or cracker tray. It even works great on finger sandwiches in place of mayo!”
Dr. Praeger’s Organic Kale Burger
“Costco sells a big 12-count box of these tasty burgers packed with veggies and whole grains; they’re made with kale, quinoa, brown rice, millet, and other veggies like onions, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes,” says Rima Kleiner, MS, RDN, owner of Smart Mouth Nutrition in Greensboro, NC. “At 120 calories per patty, each burger provides an ample dose of vitamin A and vitamin C and tastes great on top of a salad.” Try these 15 grilling recipes under 400 calories.
Foster Farms Homestyle Turkey Meatballs
“I always make sure that we have a decent protein source for our party food,” says Shelley A. Rael, MS, RDN, a dietitian in Albuquerque, NM. “I bake these meatballs ahead of time, place them in a slow cooker to keep warm, then serve them with toothpicks and a BBQ or Marinara dipping sauce.” These meatballs come in a four-pound pack and are a healthier alternative to smoked sausage, with less saturated fat, says Rael. You can also make your own turkey meatballs with Butterball 93% Lean Fresh Ground Turkey, as does Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. “The price per pound is less than $3, and ground turkey is a protein powerhouse,” she says. “A 3-ounce serving provides 22 grams of protein. It also contains vitamin B12 and iron.”
Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Roasted & Salted
“This is a favorite healthy party food from Costco,” says Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, a nutrition partner with Wonderful Pistachios and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight. “The no-shell pistachios are perfect for cooking some of my favorite dishes for a party. They are a healthy swap when chopped and placed on salads instead of croutons, as well when used as a ‘breading’ for pistachio-crusted chicken tenders or fish. Pistachios provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber, as well as a satisfying crunch.”
Fresh Cut Fruit Bowl
“Many people think of boxed, canned, or frozen food when they think of Costco, but the store actually has a vibrant produce section,” Ginger Hultin, RD, a Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You can use the leftovers from this three-pound fruit bowl to meet your produce goals each week.” See the best store brand items you should always buy at Costco.
Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
“One of my favorite party finds at Costco is Blue Diamond Almonds,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, a registered dietitian in New York City. “I love that you can buy the Smokehouse flavor in bulk (45-ounce package) at Costco for much cheaper than anywhere else. Plus, they are a great source of vitamin E and contain protein and healthy fats, and the smoky flavor is a crowd pleaser for everyone.” Find out 13 healthy food swaps to save money.
RW Garcia Organic Sweet Potato Crackers
“While they’re called ‘crackers,’ these are my favorite corn chips,” says Serena Ball, MS, RDN, a nutrition blogger at TeaspoonofSpice.com. “They are just stoneground corn, sweet potatoes, oil, yummy seeds, and salt. My sister and I made two giant pans of sheet pan nachos with them for our kids.” Next, find out the 15 secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.
Amy Gorin is a freelance writer and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.