Why You Should Shop the Bulk Aisle of Your Grocery Store

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A great article has been published in the latest issue of Food & Nutrition magazine promoting bulk bins in the grocery stores as the latest trend.  It was perfect timing, as I had just stocked up at my local grocery store on whole grains, legumes, and seeds to make stews, soups, salads, and side dishes for the upcoming chilly fall and winter months.  Have you visited the bulk aisle lately? Check out all the reasons why you should shop the bulk aisle of your grocery store

Shop the Bulk Aisle

Buying foods in bulk is a low risk and cost-effective way to introduce new foods into you home.  The bulk aisle typically sells grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, dried beans, and other snack foods such as coated pretzels, sesame seed sticks, and chocolate.  It’s a great place to create your own custom trail mix for snacks.  The grains, seeds, and beans are typically sold in their raw form, making them ideal to keep on hand for use in recipes.  The dried items promote health benefits, such as lower sodium versus canned beans or salted nuts, and higher fiber due to less processing- perfect for healthy digestion and weight loss.

For commitment-phobes, buying in bulk enables trying new food items without committing to a large bag that may take up space in your pantry if you decide you don’t like it.  And for those who are looking to save some money during your food shopping excursions, buying in bulk is cheaper because you are no longer paying for packaging and other costs associated with pre-packaged foods.

Make sure when you get home bulk food items are stored safely in airtight containers.  Heat, air, and moisture can destroy the healthy oils found in intact whole grains, or lead to spoilage of dried fruits.  Intact grains or beans can stay for 6 months on a cool, dry pantry shelf, or 1 year in the freezer.  If you buy flour or ground meal forms of certain foods, they are more susceptible to spoilage, so make sure to store those airtight containers for 1-3 months in a cool, dry pantry or 2-6 months in the freezer.  Glass, plastic, aluminum containers and zip-top bags are best for maintaining freshness and safety.  Label those containers and include the purchase date for easy tracking.

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Source: Whole Grains Council

If you haven’t visited your bulk food aisle lately, take a stroll over to that section next time you’re in the store.  Buy something you’re familiar with and compare it to your favorite packaged version.  Or be brave and try something completely new to you.  If you need a little inspiration with what to do with your new bulk foods, click the food council links below for recipes.

whole-grains-council_logo                               grains and legumes nutrition council

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 3.20.20 PM      food-nutrition-mag-logo

What are your favorite bulk items to stock up on?  What are you looking to try?  Have a favorite recipe? Sound off in the Comments!

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