Costco once a week
October 7, 2010 9:37 AM   Subscribe

What is a healthy, reasonable shopping list/meal plan that can be purchased once a week from Costco?

I'm really sick of going to Safeway twice a week. Also, the incredibly high cost of fruits, vegetables, and meats (compared to Costco) is galling to me. I'd much prefer one decent trip to on Friday after work. I'm looking for a high-protein, low-carb, diet with a decent mix of "live" food for as cheap as possible. I have a standard pantry with sugar, spices, ect at home.

I'm in Seattle, if this somehow effects variety.
posted by lattiboy to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
You could always just go to Safeway once a week. However, if you start doing most of your shopping at Costco, you'll probably have to go less than once a week. If you live alone, though, you might find it difficult to use the produce you buy at Costco before it goes off, meaning you won't be saving money at all. But, if you have freezer space, just buy the same meats that you would at Safeway, but in bulk.
posted by proj at 9:54 AM on October 7, 2010

I bought the six-pack (I think it was six) of lettuces on my last trip and was pleased with how well they kept. For one person, it might be too much (although lettuce soup *is* awesome) unless you had a green salad with lunch and dinner.

Have you thought of seeing if a friend or someone on Craigslist would be interested in sharing produce? That would give you a lot more flexibility.
posted by cyndigo at 9:56 AM on October 7, 2010

Well I'm not sure about a full meal plan, but here are some ideas based on what I've done:

-Chicken breasts. Get a bunch fresh then wrap and freeze them. You can either defrost a few days ahead of time or use the microwave. I season them and toss them still frozen into the crock pot on low with half a cup of chicken stock before I leave for work and they're done in 6-8ish hours. Great on their own or in a salad.

-Frozen berry mix for fruit smoothies. Figure out how much you'll use over the course of a week and put them in a container in the fridge (they blend a bit easier if they're defrosted). Add in a banana, some whey protein (can probably get a big tub of this at Costco) and a little bit of honey. Great in the morning or after the gym.

-Fresh and frozen veggies. Get whatever you like fresh and think you can eat in a week. I get bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots etc. to add to salads. You can cut these up ahead of time and they will generally keep for about a week. I like to keep a frozen veggie mix around in case I want to steam them up really quick right before dinner (You could also do this with fresh veggies but I'm lazy).

-Romaine lettuce. I go with the full hearts rather than the pre-cut stuff because I've found it survives longer in the fridge. The downside is that you have to wash it before you cut it. Get a salad spinner-type device to make this process pretty painless.

-Eggs if you can manage to eat 48 or so of them before they go bad.
posted by crosbyh at 10:09 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that our Costco sells whole rotisserie chickens. These are amazing for sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken broth, chicken noodle soup, etc etc etc. I like to get whatever fruit or veggie I'm craving, like apples or green beans. Leftover veggies can go into the chicken broth you're making with the rotisserie bones, or they can become part of the soup you make with that broth.

I always need lemons, and they seem to last forever, so I'd get a bag of those. Also, guacamole. They sell multi-packs of guacamole that works for a ton of easy meals; tacos, burritos, BLTs, salads, omelets. Pre-cooked bacon is also a good one to keep around. Yogurt and honey for breakfast each morning, maybe with some granola or berries.

Mostly though, I'd use Costco for getting the "base" stuff, and then maybe do Safeway once a week for the perishables. If you can put together the rest of the dish from what you have and just get a couple chicken breasts and some fresh [whatever herbs you want] from Safeway, it'll make your life a lot easier, and shopping a lot less painful.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:35 AM on October 7, 2010

I've kind of done this without realizing it and I only have to go once every two weeks max. A sample menu might look like this:

Breakfast: Fage yogurt with berries, flax seeds, and honey (optional) (blended into a smoothie or not); or oatmeal (Costco sells jumbo boxes of oats -- I make a large batch for several days) with same for a more carby alternative; Dunkin Donuts coffee

Lunch: Salad using the jumbo spiniach or artisanal lettuce pack with a protein and an apple or whatever fruit they have in season. I've used chicken patties, chicken salad, rotisserie chicken, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, almonds, feta, and hard-boiled eggs, all of which Costco sells. I throw in veggies from my CSA, but you could just as easily sub in asparagus, bell peppers, cucumbers, all of which and more I've seen there.

Snack: Go-Lean protein/fiber bar or hummus wrap (they have/had these great high-fiber whole wheat wrap breads that tasted good with hummus) or a few slices of cheese (their cheese selection is decent)

Dinner: Fish (lots of fresh or frozen choices) marinaded in a variety of seasonings and baked or grilled and veggies; side of soup or stew.

Of course, it may get boring to eat the same thing every day, so I have a freezer full of soups, stews, and chili to supplement that rely on non-Costco veggies.
posted by *s at 10:58 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Buy tofu. It's like $1 / lb at the costco near my house.
posted by reddot at 11:00 AM on October 7, 2010

How many people are you feeding?

If you're just feeding your self, I think you should sit down with your grocery receipts and crunch some numbers. I am skeptical that shopping at Costco for any family smaller than 4 would be economical at all. The only exceptions are if you're willing to eat mostly the same thing for weeks, and have a huge freezer. Even then, there's a sense of false economy when you see e.g., pork tenderloin at $2/lbs vs $4/lbs at safeway. It's cheaper per pound, but you need to buy more pounds than you would otherwise. You net, spend more at once. Also, we're talking about pretty perishable products here. You're going to exchange cost savings in the long run, for extra time spent prepping, storing, freezing & thawing.

Costco has better prices on non-perishable things like pasta, rice, canned foods, and they require less to no time investment to yield savings. However, you said that you'd like to avoid these things.

That said, when I can tag along with someone with a costco membership I'll grab: a big bag of frozen shrimp, portioned frozen chicken, pack of apples, canned tuna, and probably some pasta sauce. These will last forever, are very versatile, and will be cheaper at costco than elsewhere.

If you can eat 6 heads of romaine lettuce before they all go bad, more power to you.

You might also try looking at other grocery stores in your area. Prices even with in the same chain brand, can vary hugely based on neighborhood.
posted by fontophilic at 11:08 AM on October 7, 2010

I'm pretty much fine with eating the same/similar things multiple times a week.

I totally understand about Costco not being a great deal on all things, but things like cheese, milk, vegetables, and fruit are incredibly good deal (and often of a higher quality, IMO).

I'm eating about 3000 calories a day on average, so this is essentially for two people.
posted by lattiboy at 11:36 AM on October 7, 2010

Costco has awesome bags of frozen, individually shrink-wrapped fillets of wild Sockeye salmon from the relatively healthy Alaskan fishery. They're a staple in my house, baked with a little seasoning on top and served with green vegetables and rice.
posted by contraption at 4:20 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

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