No wonder Costco has surpassed Whole Foods Market in volume of organic food sold, as I reported in Costco’s Top 5 Vegan and Healthy Favorites. While still relatively few, Costco also has more and more products labeled as “vegan” or carrying the “V” mark for vegan!
I couldn’t contain my excitement when I discovered the “Pressed by Kind” bars on a recent Costco visit to pick up some treats on my birthday. The portable source of nutrition in bars is especially important for vegans because who can’t eat out or buy food just anywhere. But not just any bars will do, since many are loaded with dairy products, processed sugars, oils, protein isolates, genetically-modified ingredients, and chemical additives and preservatives.
I have made my own vegan protein bars in the past and they are simple, tasty, and nutritious. However, if you’ve got no time to make your own bars, what should you do?
Larabars are one of my favorite bars, because they contain very few ingredients, sometimes as little as two: usually the classic combination of dates and nuts. However, I haven’t seen them at Costco for a long time.
Fortunately, Costco is now carrying “Pressed by Kind” bars, and these may be the best bars yet (except for home-made). They have 2 ingredients: Chia seeds and fruit. I don’t like the term “superfoods” but Omega-3 and fiber-packed chia truly lives up to the claim.
In addition, Pressed bars:
- Are Non-GMO
- Contain no added sugar
- Of course, they’re vegan
- 18 bars for $19!!
If you read labels, you already know that most bars on the market contain all kinds of processed sugars. I used to like CLIF Bars’ taste, but was shocked to learn the first ingredient is brown rice syrup, and that it contains four more processed sugars, as well as sugar from fruit, for total sugar of 24g! CLIF also contains soy protein isolates, which are generally not considered healthy.
Other Healthy and Organic Choices at Costco
In addition to vegan bars, Costco has a good assortment of dry fruits and nuts which make excellent snacks for vegans. Most of their nuts are conventionally grown, while they occasionally have organic walnuts. Although not roasted, these nuts are not “raw” either, because they have been irradiated or pasteurized. Avoid the roasted nuts (sold in jars), due to the addition of oils and salt.
On the other hand, dry fruits at Costco are increasingly available in organic versions which are more expensive, but worth it. Whether you go with organic or conventional, choose dried fruits that don’t contain added sugar, whenever possible.
Other foods suitable for vegans regularly available at Costco include:
- Organic Hemp Hearts ($13.99 for 2lbs)
- Chia seeds ($6.99 for 2lbs)
- Organic Quinoa or mixed grains (Amaranth, Millet)
- Ramen of Organic Brown rice/Quinoa Ramen
Frozen Berries (various kinds), for smoothies
- Organic are best
Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Organic are still rare. Berries, apples, and grapes are occasionally available in organic.
- Bagged organic greens are available, but spoil quickly
- Organic are common, but many come from China (read the small print, if that matters to you)
One of my favorite sections of Costco is the refrigerator case containing healthy beverages including:
- GT’s Kombucha Gingerade
- Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
- WTRMLNWTR (Cold Pressed Watermelon Juice)
- Mama Chia Vitality Beverage (I don’t buy these, because of added sweeteners)
At my local Costco, there is also a separate refrigerator case carrying different varieties of Suja Juice. Some of these are 100% juice, while others are watered down or contain sweetenters. Of course, they are still immeasurably better than the majority of beverages on the market!!
Remember to avoid the pasteurized juices! A big clue they’re pasteurized is if they’re not refrigerated.
Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment about your favorite vegan-friendly items at Costco!