5 Ways to Make Costco Bakery Items Healthier, According to a Dietitian
Costco's bakery is, let's be honest, perhaps the best part of the store. It's chock-full of delicious treats, like cookies, muffins, pies, and more. But if you're trying to eat healthily, the Costco bakery can be a total calorie and sugar bomb. But rather than avoid the bakery altogether, you should allow yourself the chance to occasionally indulge. Moderation is key!
But more than moderation, there are other ways you can snatch up those bakery items without feeling like you've thrown your healthy eating out the window. Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, Dallas-based dietitian of mamaknowsnutrition.com has some pointers on how to do exactly that so you can have your Costco cake and eat it too.
Balance a Baked Item With Protein and Fruit
Rather than have your entire meal be from the bakery, Barnes suggests eating it with protein, fruit, and vegetables so you're consuming a more well-rounded meal.
"If you want to eat a bakery item at breakfast, add milk to your coffee for some protein or have a hard boiled egg on the side, as well as some fruit," she says. "It will keep you fuller longer and the fruit will provide fiber, which is typically lacking in baked goods."
Don't Save Up Calories and Splurge in the Bakery
When you know you want to eat something that's indulgent, you may think "saving" up your calories earlier in the day to splurge later is the way to go. However, Barnes warns against this, as it makes you more likely to splurge too much.
"If you deprive yourself earlier in the day, you're actually more likely to go overboard when you do eat the bakery item and eat more than you otherwise would have if you fueled yourself properly throughout the day," Barnes says. Instead, eat your normal day of food and allow yourself to enjoy the bakery item as an occasional treat.
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Slow Down While Eating
If you're allowing yourself that bakery treat, make sure you slow down to eat it and really enjoy it. Remove any distractions while you're eating and focus on what you're putting into your mouth. Enjoying your food thoroughly can help keep you more satisfied after finishing, which can encourage you to not overeat.
"If you are distracted, watching a screen, driving, etc. you're not going to even feel like you ate, let alone feel satisfied by the experience," Barnes notes.
Reach For Sprouted Grains
It can be easy and tempting to hit the Costco bakery and go straight for the sweets, but all of Costco's baked goods are really tasty. If you can't resist a stop at the bakery on your trip to the warehouse, seek out the slightly healthier items.
Barnes suggests a sprouted grain, if your Costco stocks something of that nature. (Costco's can vary, so you'll have to see what your store has.) At the very least, she recommends one bread to avoid: sourdough.
"There's a myth that sourdough bread is a good source of probiotics, but they actually do not survive the baking process," she shares. Plus the refined flour in this bread isn't always the best option, she points out. Refined carbohydrates are low in fiber and are linked to weight gain, so if healthy is what you're looking for, sourdough probably isn't it.
Cut the Baked Good Into Smaller Portions
In case you didn't know, many of Costco's baked items are actually multiple servings. The giant muffin is not designed to be consumed all in one sitting. You could take it a step further and cut your muffins or cookies into smaller portions so you have control over how many calories, fat, and grams of sugar you're eating.
This way you can still indulge in a treat without going overboard. Barnes even suggested adding a nut butter to your muffin portion for a protein boost and some healthy fats.
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