10 Nutritious and Delicious Foods to Buy in Bulk

posted: 05/22/15
by: Mara Betsch
bulk foods

If you're buying food for a large crew, like the Willis Family, you're always looking for ways to save on your grocery bill. And the simplest way to do that is to buy in bulk. Unfortunately it's just as easy to stock up on junk food as it is to stock up on healthier options -- who isn't tempted by economy-size bags of Cheetos? Thankfully, a little planning goes a long way when it comes to filling your cart with healthy options. Try these affordable but nutrient-packed foods that last for ages.

1. Beans

Dried lentils, black beans and chickpeas are staples of bulk food bins -- and 1/2 cup dry beans is equal to one 15-ounce can. So stock up on this fiber-filled food -- great for Meatless Monday meals -- and store it for years (yes, years) in an airtight container.

2. Canned tuna/salmon

Canned fish isn't glamorous, but it's packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of protein. Add a little mayo and mustard, some salt, pepper and onion, and you've got a great sandwich filler.

3. Frozen vegetables

Just because they're not fresh doesn't mean they're lacking nutrients. In fact, often frozen foods have more vitamins and minerals than fresh because they're flash frozen as soon as they're picked. And they don't have as much sodium as canned varieties. Stock up on frozen carrots, spinach and broccoli to add to pastas, soups and stir-fries, without worrying about them spoiling.

4. Whole-wheat pasta

Pasta is a cheap, easy way to feed a large family, but always opt for whole wheat varieties to ensure you're getting plenty of fiber.

5. Nuts in the shell

Shelled peanuts and pistachios make a delicious and filling snack -- studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have lower blood pressure and body weight! Even though other nuts, like almonds and walnuts, make great additions to your cart, they don't last as long outside of the shell.

6. Rice

Another great grain to have on hand, all types of rice are a great addition to your diet. Brown rice is your healthiest bet, but it only lasts for 6 months. Try white Basmati rice (found at Costco) for a new texture and flavor that lasts a bit longer.

7. Popcorn

Popcorn kernels can be bought and stored in airtight containers to be used for a quick and healthy snack. Just use a little olive oil and a pan with a lid to whip up fresh popcorn when the mood hits. It's much healthier than microwave varieties and you can add all your own toppings.

8. Frozen chicken

Bulk packages of protein-packed chicken wings, legs, breasts and thighs are always budget-friendly. Check to make sure there aren't a ton of preservatives -- and if there are, try buying fresh and freezing yourself. Just be sure to use them in 3 months!

9. Oatmeal

A 2015 study found that eating oatmeal every day may be the secret to a longer life -- you get a day's worth of whole grains in each bowl. So why not keep this on hand? You can buy up to 50-pound bags and store it for months. Cooking it with a little water or milk and adding nut butter and fruit makes a healthy, cheap morning meal.

10. Milk

With growing kids, milk will always be a hot commodity. But if you want to bulk up on milk, you can actually freeze it to extend its shelf life. If it is kept at the ideal temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be kept up for months! But there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Milk expands and you'll need to leave a bit of room at the top.
  • The texture can be altered slightly, so you may want to keep this milk for cooking and baking.
  • Always thaw it in the fridge to ensure food safety.