If you're considering buying in bulk, you'll need to have plenty of pantry and freezer space (depending on how much you plan to buy in advance), but there are advantages to bulk purchasing that make it worth considering. Buying in bulk can save you money, but it also makes sure there's plenty of healthy food on the shelf if you don't have time to shop or if a serious storm keeps you stuck indoors.
Canned tuna and salmon are shelf-stable. Both are high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein and a great go-to when you're in a pinch for a healthy lunch or dinner. Just keep your eye out for coupons and sales and buy up as much as you can fit on your shelf.
Many recipes that call for fresh tuna or salmon (those that require it to be broken into bits after cooking) can also be made with the canned version in a pinch, and in many recipes you can substitute one for the other.
Not all brands are created equal. You want to buy brands that have a quality bag that will get the most out of your purchase without getting freezer burn in the process. If you're not sure, bag it in a quality freezer bag, too, and write the date of purchase on the bag.
When buying frozen meats, check the nutrition information. The preservatives some companies add could lower the health-factor. But these are great to have on hand in a pinch. You can also buy fresh and freeze it yourself, but it may not last as long as the prefrozen variety because of the lack of preservatives.
Dried fruits last up to a year in unopened packages. They may be short on vitamin C compared to fresh, but they're still nutritious.
Whether you like oatmeal, quinoa, rice or any other grain, they can be much cheaper if you buy them in bulk. Just make sure you keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Dried beans will stay good for years as long as they don't get wet. Keep them in an airtight container, not in the bags they came in, to prevent moisture buildup. A half-cup of dry beans or 1-1/2 cups of cooked beans is equal to one 15-ounce can.
Nuts are high in protein and low in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but if you buy them shelled, they start to go bad faster. Buy them in the shell and you can store them for up to a year in an airtight container, roasting and salting them as needed. Just buy a nutcracker and tell the kids they can have an extra half-hour of TV if they'll shell while they watch.
Dried pasta can be cooked up in minutes. Buy whole wheat (or even spinach or carrot) pasta in bulk when it's on sale and store it in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.
What?! That's right. If you have a large enough freezer, you can buy gallons of milk (which is more expensive per gallon than gas in many places) and freeze it. Then you just put it in the fridge to defrost.
Juice can last for months in your pantry as long as it remains unopened. If you buy 100 percent fruit juice instead of the stuff with all the sugar added, it's healthy in moderation. But don't stick to just drinking it as is. You can use it in marinades, smoothies and shakes and even for a little boozy summer treat.
What do you like to buy in bulk? Tell us in the comment section below.
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