While there is nothing ordinary about these times, as a mom to two boys, I’m continuously trying to create any semblance of normalcy for them. And of course, kids or no kids, we all need to find ways to make our own worlds feel the slightest bit regular as well.
The big things might be out of reach (far-away vacations! big parties with friends!) but there are lots of little things within our grasp. The back-to-school season always gets me thinking about snacks—whether they’re paired up with lunch, munched in between virtual learning sessions, or tucked in a bag to tote along on a socially distanced walk.
And what better place to turn to for snacks than Costco? I recently took a leisurely masked stroll through the wide aisles of the wholesale price club to stock up on some of my family’s go-to snacks, and, as with any and all trips to Costco, discover a few new favorites.
From light-as-air Parmesan crisps to single-serving hummus cups, it’s a nosher’s paradise out there—here are 19 of the best Costco snacks. (Note: With hundreds of snack options to choose from, this list is by no means exhaustive; add your personal favorites to the comments below.)
1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
Chewy-sweet fig bars have been around for a long time, and that’s because they’re sustaining and delicious. This company makes fig bars with real fruit and whole grains—and no high-fructose corn syrup. Flavors range from raspberry and blueberry to original fig, and come with 36 twin packs in each box.
2. Gourmet Nut Power Up Trail Mix
Trail mix offerings abound at Costco, and this one contains a mix of two varieties: High Energy Trail Mix, which includes pineapple, banana chips, coconut, cranberries, walnuts, cashews, and papaya; and the Mega Omega Trail Mix with walnuts, dried mango, almonds, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Bonus: They’re gluten-free, vegan, and cholesterol-free.
3. Kirkland Snacking Nuts
If you’re like me, opening a container of nuts means you might just finish the whole thing in one sitting. I have a deep abiding love for the Kirkland Virginia-style peanuts, but one handful rarely does the trick. So I like to keep this assortment of snacking nuts around, where you can grab a small bag of peanuts, almonds, and cashews, and not have to rely on self-regulation.
4. Clif Kid ZBars
My family loves Clif bars—I can’t count the number of mornings last year when I basically threw a bar at my younger son’s head as he bolted out the door late for school. This box of 36 ZBars (it comes with the chocolate chip, iced oatmeal cookie, and chocolate brownie flavors) is always great to have on hand, and perfect to slide into a bag should you be on the go.
5. Bear YoYos
These roll-ups are made with 100 percent fruit and vegetables, which is very appealing to anyone who has taken a gander at the amount of sugar many fruit snacks contain. Apple, strawberry, and mango are the three flavors in the assortment I found at my Costco. There’s one cup of fruit per individual pack (all from whole fresh produce, and not fruit concentrates), and therefore a decent amount of fiber as well.
6. Golden Farms Pineapple Sauce
We’ve all seen little cups of applesauce in various flavors, as well as other little fruit cup snacks, but I had never seen pineapple sauce before (and I'm super excited to try it). These are organic, made with 100 percent pure fruit (no added sugar), and just so happen to be a pretty good source of vitamin C.
These eye-wateringly hot snacks have been my boys' go-to this summer, and I have to confess that I have grabbed a handful or two as I pass through the kitchen, each time thinking “Why do I like these so much?” as I gasp for air. Bags of these hot chili pepper and lime rolled tortilla chip snacks come in a 46-pack, and should last a good long while—unless you are one of my sons. Then they will be gone in a month.
8. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Bars
Sweet and salty is where it’s at for many of us (why decide if you don’t have to?) and these bars made with creamy peanut butter and crunchy roasted peanuts hit that intersection in a very satisfying way. Plus, a 48-count box sells for around 40 cents a bar at my store—a very good deal, if you ask me.
These crunchy little biscuit sticks dipped in different coatings (from chocolate to strawberry cream) have been around since the ‘60s, but they’re as popular as ever today. My Costco carries a 12-pack box with six of the chocolate version, three cookies and cream, and three of the strawberry cream flavor, so the Pocky fans in your house may get to test-drive a new flavor or two.
10. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Coconut Minis
If you like Mounds Bars, then these vegan and gluten-free dark chocolate coconut minis are for you. I thought they had my mom written all over them—I dropped off a bag, and expect an order for a refill shortly.
11. Perky Jerky Wagyu Beef Jerky
There were perhaps a dozen different types of beef jerky snacks to choose from during a recent trip to Costco; clearly, protein-oriented snacks are in high demand, and the field of beef jerky contenders continues to grow. Perky Jerky claims their wagyu beef jerky is “the best tasting jerky on earth.” It’s a bold claim, I know, but they actually offer a money back guarantee if you don’t agree.
When it comes to chocolate-with-nuts snack offerings, there are countless options to choose from, too. My Costco pick from this category: BarkThins with almonds and sea salt (it’s another one that nails the salty-sweet combo).
13. Taza Chocolate Better Bars
Made with 70 percent organic dark chocolate and studded with almonds, cashews, and cranberries (with a bit of crunch from puffed quinoa), these chocolate Better Bars will satisfy any sweet tooth. Even better, they’re 100 percent plant-based, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and free of dairy, gluten, and soy.
14. The Good Bean Organic Chickpeas
If you're looking for a crunchy snack with a bit of protein (each serving has the same amount as an egg), these dried chickpeas seasoned with sea salt are a good bet.
15. Whisps Cheese Crisps
I like to munch on these crunchy, airy crisps made from 100 percent Parmesan with a nice glass of red wine (or white or rosé; any wine would be lovely with these). But beware: It’s hard to stop nibbling.
16. Kirkland Organic Hummus Single-Serve Cups
If you keep a bag of tortilla chips or baby carrots around, then all you have to do is grab one of these little cups from the fridge, and you’re good to go for a crunchy-creamy, protein-filled snack.
17. Sous-Vide Egg Bites
I don’t know about you, but when I think of sous-vide egg bites, I think of the Starbuck breakfast menu. Now you can snack on two different varieties—egg white with spinach and kale, or turkey sausage and cheese—at home without having to sit in the drive-thru line for half an hour.
18. Tattooed Chef Organic Açaí Bowls
These vegan and gluten-free frozen açaí bowls make a very chill snack (especially during summer), but they also stand in nicely as breakfast, or even dessert. Cleverly, the crunchy granola is packaged separately, so it won’t get soggy as the bowl thaws out.
19. Caribbean Food Delights Jamaican-Style Beef Patties
The freezer aisle is loaded with tasty options, and these spicy Jamaican-style beef patties wrapped in a flaky, golden-brown crust are no exception. A quick trip to the microwave (we’re talking just two minutes) and you’ve got yourself a hot, satisfying snack.