Let’s get one thing straight: Costco is a fantastic establishment. It’s a one-stop shop for everything on your list—and everything you didn’t know should be on your list, like vacation packages and gym memberships. But there’s one product you may want to keep out of your Costco cart: milk.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Costco’s milk. It comes at a fair price, and it tastes no different from milk sold at other stores. The problem is with the packaging. Many Costco locations sell their milk in square-shaped plastic jugs, which are apparently incredibly difficult to pour without spilling. This concern has made its way across the Internet, including on Reddit discussion boards, and customers around the country all share the same frustration.
RELATED: Look out for these Costco must-haves
Foods nutritionists always buy at Costco
Foods nutritionists always buy at Costco
Organic nut packets
For Sharon Zarabi, RD, program director of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, one of the best Costco finds is organic mixed nuts. "Nuts are packed with nutrients ranging from heart-healthy fats to fiber, which aids in digestion, and even more so proteins, which help you keep your hunger at bay," she says. She also loves portion controlled nuts from Costco because with nuts, "once you pop, you can't stop."
Kirkland Signature shelled pistachios
Another nutty favorite with dietitians is pistachios. Lauren Manaker, RD, and her family go through Costco's Kirkland brand like they're going out of style. Manaker says pistachios are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like manganese and vitamin B6—but they are typically tedious to de-shell. That's what makes this Costco option so great. "These pistachios come pre-shelled, so adding it to anything is as simple as opening the bag," she says.
Wild Alaskan canned salmon
This canned fish is a favorite of Zarabi because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. But what's really special about this Costco option is that it's wild. "Most fish canned in the U.S. is farm raised," Zarabi says. "Wild salmon is higher in omega-3s than their counterparts and [they] also eat a more natural diet as they are free to roam the sea." Plus, fish is an excellent source of protein, which helps keep you full.
Single hummus packs
Costco sells single pack servings of non-GMO, organic hummus. Zarabi says that means they are made with the highest quality chickpeas. Really fresh hummus can go bad quickly once opened due to oxidation, so these single-servings are a money saver, too. Zarabi suggests swapping mayo for hummus or using it as a dip for fresh raw veggies. Here are 10 more things you never knew you could buy at Costco.
Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend
This frozen bag is a blend of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Zarabi loves this Costco item because it's convenient and full of vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants. "They are the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurts, or even my personal favorite, as a frozen treat for the summer," she says.
Smart for Life Cookies
For those who need something more starchy to satisfy their sweet-tooth, Zarabi recommends Smart for Life cookies from Costco. These are gluten-free, low in sugar, made with non-GMO ingredients, and clock in at only 100 calories. "The low sugar and high protein content will prevent spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels, so you won't be craving a second cookie," Zarabi says. "You will satisfy that craving and be good to go."
The specific brand at your Costco location may vary, but any of the low-carb shakes could be a good addition to your haul. And no, they aren't just for people who want to build muscle. It's actually a perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast for anyone who has a busy schedule. "This is an easy way to add to your regimen, as protein keeps you full and the low sugar content prevents that sugar addiction first thing in the morning," Zarabi says. "[The] best part is they don't need to be refrigerated until they are opened." Plus, they have a relatively long shelf life.
Organic Wholly Guacamole minis
Portion-controlled guacamole packs are a popular pick for Costco grocery hauls, too. Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, a virtual dietitian based in NYC, says that Organic Wholly Guacamole minis are a good choice. "These individual packs of guacamole are a great on-the-go snack with whole grain crackers or sliced veggies," Amer says. "The slowly digested healthy fat from avocado will keep you full for hours." Check out all the things you can do (and buy) at Costco without a membership.
Comvita Manuka Honey 5+
Manuka honey is different from your average sweetener. Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, and author of Eating in Color says this Costco pick has the three key markers that signify manuka honey: leptosperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal. Not to mention, this honey is also proven to help improve sleep, fight acne, and aid digestion, among other cures. "I take a spoonful of manuka daily and add an extra dose when I'm sick or dealing with allergies," Largeman-Roth says.
KIND protein bars
These protein bars are a staple snack for Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. "I love that Costco sells them in a 16-pack of the Crunchy Peanut Butter bars and White Chocolate Cinnamon Almond bars," she says. As a vegetarian, Gorin is always looking for great sources of plant-based protein, and up to two thirds of each bar's 12 grams of protein come from nuts. These bars also get bonus points for coming in a variety of flavorsand not using artificial ingredients, sweeteners, or sugar alcohols.
Kirkland Organic extra virgin olive oil
Finding a high-quality olive oil for a decent price isn't as tough as you might think. Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, of Lively Table says the Kirkland brand tastes wonderful and, at $16.99 for a two-liter bottle, it's a really good deal. "It's my favorite cooking oil because it provides healthy monounsaturated fat," McMordie says. "I go through tons in my house!" Here are more shopping perks only Costco members know about.
McMordie also goes through garlic quickly. That's why she likes buying whole heads in bulk at Costco. "Fresh garlic is the ultimate flavor booster for cooking and contains the antioxidant allicin, which could help prevent damage from free radicals," McMordie says.
Shelley A. Rale, MS, RDN, and her family never tire of these tiny tomatoes. They are the one thing that is always on her Costco list. "They are part of my husband's lunch, a quick snack for any time of day, easily added to a salad when we have one, or added to a cooked dish for dinner," she says. Not only are they filling, but Rale says they are a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and lycopene. Now that you've seen some of the best Costco purchases, make sure you know these things you should never buy from Costco.
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“Those square milk jugs are horrible,” Seattle-based blogger Rachel Teodoro told MONEY. “I’m a grown woman who has a college degree and I cannot pour the milk without spilling it.”
Since the packaging for Costco’s milk varies depending on the region and supplier, your local Costco may not even sell these cumbersome milk jugs. But if it does, you may want to consider going to another grocery store that sells traditional jugs that aren’t spill-prone. Costco milk prices are comparable to other national grocery stores, anyway. Here’s how to crack the secret code on your milk jug.
ACostco worker from Idaho, an employee from Hawaii, and a worker from Minnesota, who added, "While our produce department is one of the best in the business, I personally don't eat veggies fast enough to buy in bulk."
A Costco worker who just said they'd been working for the chain "too long"
Packages of meat
A Costco employee from California, who added, "It's too much for my household."
Mac and cheese
A Costco employee from Florida, who added, "They go bad very quickly."
A Costco worker from Iowa, who added that the "packaging is just too big."
Kirkland brand clothing
The gallon-sized mayonnaise jars
A Costco employee who's worked in 10 states, who added that, "I don't eat the huge quantity fast enough, then it rots. Waste of money."
Any food you haven't tried before
A Costco employee from Illinois, who added, "Because then I'd have a six month supply."