When it comes to canned food, you either love or hate it, but what happens to your body if you eat only Costco cans for 30 Days?
In these desperate financial times, people are resorting to drastic measures. Food is expensive, and buying enough to create a well-rounded, balanced meal is getting more challenging. What if it is not an option at all? Then what happens?
We are lucky to live in a time when cheap, quick options are available, and canned goods tend to be the cream of this crop. However, eating nothing but canned foods may have consequences.
Here is what you need to consider before you choose to eat only Costco cans for 30 days.
Can You Live Off Costco Cans?
Everyone is struggling. I don’t care if you are an average Joe or CEO – inflation is affecting us all.
Although everyone is feeling the pressure, for some, the rising cost of food is taking its toll, and drastic measures may be the only way to get by and survive.
When cutting costs, people tend to look to canned goods for savings. Canned food is cheaper than fresh or frozen food and more readily available.
For instance, when you visit the local food bank, you are often given non-perishable foods like canned goods.
What if these canned foods were the only thing you had access to when preparing meals? Curious, I set out to see if it is possible to live off only Costco cans for 30 days, and the results were surprising.
This little experiment can teach you a great deal. It shows you how your thoughts control your cravings, how a lack of nutrients can affect your body and mind, and how much power there is in creative thinking.
Anyone who has been grocery shopping knows that Costco is the holy grail of grocery stores. The massive selection of equally massive-sized products motivates many filled carts and stomachs.
Costco’s choices make it an ideal place for shopping. Not only is the selection fantastic, the size of the products you can get at Costco easily outweighs any competitor.
Despite the ample options available at Costco, a few things are lacking if you try to live off only canned goods for a month.
First, fresh carbs, such as bread and rolls, are off the table. If you are lucky, you may find canned bread at Costco. However, there is no comparison to the real thing, and it often requires additions that may not be on hand.
Second, while the selection at Costco is impressive, it quickly becomes apparent that meals will be bland, mundane, and repetitive.
You can purchase a wide array of canned meats at Costco, but finding suitable, nutritious foods is still challenging.
Over the next 30 days, breakfast, lunch, and dinner will consist of many cans of soup, canned meats, canned seafood, and a mix of canned fruits, veggies, and desserts.
The First Big Fat Hurdle
Speaking of fat, you will quickly hit your first significant barrier early on in this challenge. Should you find yourself in a position where you are scouring the canned goods at Costco for meal ideas, the first thing you will notice is that most canned foods lack the calories you need to survive and thrive day to day.
You will want to choose foods high in nutrients, fiber, and fat if you hope to live on Costco cans long-term.
Canned beans are great, as they are nutritious and packed with nutrients your body needs. At Costco, you can buy cans of various beans or seek out full-canned meals that are bean-rich.
There are multiple options for canned chili or soups with beans, which can be a great option to get the calories you need and fill your hunger.
What is worse than sugar is that canned goods are rich in salt, which can quickly wreak havoc on your system. Consuming excess amounts of salt can cause water retention, increased blood pressure, excessive thirst, increased risk of heart disease.
Canned foods with good calorie intake will be filled with salt, creating long-term health problems if you rely solely on them for nutrition.
The Low Grumble Of Truth
Aside from the lack of healthy meals you can make using Costco cans, you will immediately notice that you are hungry. While canned foods fill your belly, this satisfaction will not last long.
Typically, the sides and carbs we consume with our meals keep our bellies full and us happy.
Canned foods often lack these carbs, and even when they are present (such as in canned steak and potato soup, for example), they are highly processed for preservation and full of chemicals.
The processing of canned goods means that while you will get full from canned foods, you will not stay full as long as you would if you were eating a proper, healthy, well-balanced meal.
Creativity Counts, A Lot
The biggest thing I realized while preparing for and undertaking this challenge was how much creativity would play a role in my success.
You need to be inventive when your meal options are limited to nothing but canned foods you can purchase at Costco.
Luckily, the ample selection helps, but it is still quite challenging.
If you manage to find canned rice and potatoes, it is much easier, but even these get old fast.
Your meals quickly become a means to an end rather than a pleasure.
I must warn you that after 30 days, you will never want to see a can of soup or canned vegetables again. Even desserts are lackluster without creativity, and much trial and error is involved.
You will go to bed hungry more than a few times if you ever attempt to live solely off Costco cans. I would advise you to have many options and plan your meals.
The Best Choices For Success
If you find yourself in a position where you must resort to living off Costco cans for a time, some options will be better than others.
You will want foods that are high in calories and nutrients. You will also want to ensure you have a variety of foods to choose from, as even after just 30 days, meals become boring fast.
I will suggest a few options to help you through this period, especially when things get tiresome.
For Protein And Calories:
Sausages: Canned sausages are an excellent option to fill your belly and get some calories.
While they are not often the most delightful to consume, they can be fried in spices to create a semi-edible meal in a pinch.
Tuna, sardines, and other canned fish: While fish is lean, it provides energy and fills your belly. A can of tuna can go a long way toward curbing hunger in an emergency and is something I always keep on hand.
Canned ham, beef, and turkey: Like fish, these meats tend to be leaner when canned. However, they are excellent for creating quick, filling meals that provide much-needed calories.
Beans: If there is one canned good you should always have in your pantry, it is beans. These tiny morsels can sustain you for a lot longer than you think. Not only are beans an excellent source of protein and fiber, but they are also super filling.
Chickpeas: Not the most popular food on the market, chickpeas are a great option to get nutrients and fill your hunger fast. Personally, I find chickpeas to be bland. However, they can be mixed with many other foods to boost protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
For Canned Vegetables:
Mushrooms: Canned mushrooms can perk up a simple meal and provide valuable nutrients. They are also filled with protein and phosphors, which promote health, especially in the blood and bones, and work as a meal replacement.
Corn, peas, green beans, and carrots: Although canned vegetables may not have the same nutrients as fresh or frozen, they still provide much-needed sustenance.
Nutrients are sometimes added during production, making them an excellent choice to have on hand.
Potatoes: Canned potatoes are your best friend when trying to live off Costco cans for 30 days. Canned potatoes are nutrient-rich and will fill your belly. They can also provide the energy you need to survive a crisis. I suggest keeping a few cans on hand.
Canned Fruit Options:
Peaches: Much like the fresh variety, canned peaches provide great nutrients. Not only are they delicious, but canned peaches are also an excellent source of carbs, giving you the energy you need to get through the day.
Pineapple: Despite being high in sugar, canned pineapple provides nutrition and helps to fill you up. Pineapple is also a source of fiber, aids digestion, promotes weight loss, and encourages healing. Having a can of pineapple on hand is a beneficial choice.
Pears: Eating canned pears provides Vitamin B, which lowers blood pressure. They also contain glycosides and tannic acid, which can relieve coughing. Canned pears have a great deal of sugar but are also full of vitamins, are easily absorbed by the body, and promote liver health.
Cherries: Fresh cherries are rich in nutrients, aid inflammation, improve sleep, and promote joint health. While the canned variety may not be as beneficial as fresh cherries and are full of sugar, they can be used as a sweet treat and provide extra calories.
Tomatoes: Yes, they are considered a fruit.
Canned tomatoes are commonly found in the pantry, and for a good reason.
Canned tomatoes can be used to enhance almost any meal and will provide some fantastic health benefits.
Besides the canned vegetables and fruits discussed above, there are many other options to consider if you need to live off Costco cans for 30 days.
Meals in a can, such as soup or chili, fill a hungry belly. However, these foods are high in salt. Thus, long-term, excessive consumption can harm your health. Still, they are a requirement you will want to have on hand. I made sure to stock up on soup, chili, pasta and rice.
There are a few other things that you will want to have in your pantry for this experiment. These are a few items that I would make sure you have available, as they can help you create better meals using only canned goods: condensed milk, sauces, spreads, gravy, pudding.
What To Expect And What To Eat
Living off Costco cans is not a lifestyle I would willingly choose. Still, this experiment shows that it can be done. Canned foods have come a long way, and Costco has a great selection available.
Sure, meals will get boring and repetitive if you are not creative and don’t plan. However, you can produce some reasonably satisfying options with a little effort.
Below is an example of meal planning for this experiment. Obviously, choices will vary depending on your location and available options, but with dedication and creativity, you can create great meals from nothing but Costco cans.
Breakfast is one of the most challenging meals to plan, as you cannot purchase canned cereal. My family is not big breakfast eaters and often skips this meal. I know that is not a good habit to have, but it is the truth.
Thus, in my case, I could easily get by with minimal effort. Still, a good breakfast is essential. So here are some options: baked beans and sausages, fruit salad, or fried beans.
Lunch can also be a bit of a challenge and will get repetitive pretty quickly. The options are limited without bread to create a sandwich or fresh veggies for a salad.
Still, you can eat some satisfying lunches if you think creatively. Here are a few examples: steak and potato soup, tuna salad with a fruit salad dessert, canned ravioli with a pudding dessert.
While dinner can be complicated even under the best circumstances, using only canned foods makes it even more of a challenge. While I would not say my ideas are the healthiest options, they are filling and do their job. If you want to eat only Costco cans, you’ve got to be creative.
Chili, followed by a fruit dessert: Canned chili is a go-to meal when you eat only Costco cans. Luckily, most Costco locations have a wide variety of chili options, and you’ll likely try each brand two or three times during the 30 days.
Chicken, rice, and vegetable stir fry: I use the term stir fry lightly here. This meal consists of a can of chicken, a can of dainty rice, and a can of mixed vegetables.
Although the meal lacks flavor, it works to fill the belly and is not too bad. I would suggest you stock up on various spices if you want to create more meaningful meals.
Beef, potatoes, and vegetables in gravy: This meal can be interesting. However, it will be pretty mushy and lack the traditional density that accompanies potatoes.
Once you get past the baby food texture, this meal is filling and nutritious, which is all that matters. You can also enjoy a sweet treat if you are lucky enough to find canned pudding or canned mousse at Costco.
You will notice that there is a lack of texture in canned meals. Everything is soft and mushy, and the flavor also lacks in many cases. However, you can find some flavorful soups that help make things easier on the palate.
If like us, you have wondered what happens when you eat only Costco cans for 30 days, you now have the answer.
Your salt and sugar intake will skyrocket, your meals will be dull and repetitious, you will forget what flavor is very quickly.
Still, with some determination and creativity, it can be done. That does not mean it should be done if you can avoid it. But at least you know that the option is there should you find yourself in such a situation.
What would you create if you had only canned food? I would love to hear your ideas.