The Ultimate Guide to Nutritious, Cost-Effective Grocery Shopping

Check out our ultimate guide to nutritious, cost-effective grocery shopping to counteract escalating costs.

Food prices seem to be slowly creeping up, but there’s a savvy strategy to counteract escalating costs. Buying in bulk can be an investment; more money at first, but stocking up on foods for long-term savings. Check out our ultimate guide to nutritious, cost-effective grocery shopping. 

Benefits of buying in bulk

Cheaper

Bulk foods can be cheaper since food manufacturers require more time spent processing and packaging. Particularly non-perishable foods that you can store for extended periods of time, saves on food costs and your gas or public transport cost of going back and forth to the store. 

Environmentally conscious

When it comes to shipping from the food manufacturers, bulk products require fewer resources as there are fewer packaging components. They can be densely packed in large sacks and boxes on a truck, as opposed to individually packed. 

Supports healthy eating

Bulk eating also prepares you for those times when you have no idea what to make for dinner. People who eat cooked meals at home are more likely to stick to healthy diets. They also tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and maintain healthier weights (1). 

Best healthy foods to buy in bulk 

Frozen fruit and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that help protect against certain cancers and improve immune function. The fiber in fruits and vegetables supports the heart and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke (2). Adding fruits, like berries, may even help prevent mental decline as we age (3). 

Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand to increase your intake. Use fruit for smoothies or to top yogurt or oatmeal. Frozen vegetables can easily be tossed into soups or stir frys. 

Dried legumes

Legumes, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas, contain cell boosting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and protein. They’ve been shown to decrease inflammation, which is linked to some chronic diseases (4). 

Dried beans and lentils are one of the best foods to buy in bulk because they are very shelf stable. Beans may even last up to ten years if stored well (5)! When you’re going to cook them, make sure to soak them first before boiling, in order to help break down some of the starch so you don’t experience uncomfortable digestive system problems. 

Dry whole grains

Whole grains have many benefits including reduced risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and better weight maintenance (6). Whenever possible, swap out refined versions for their more natural whole grain counterparts. Learn more about why you should eat whole grains and how they help your health.

Keeping dried pasta and grains make a perfect base inspiration for meals when you don’t know what to cook. For instance, start with brown rice for a healthy cold salad or use whole grain pasta and add a protein like tofu or shrimp with vegetables of your choice. Whole grains with longer shelf life include rice, quinoa, spelt, and farro. 

Nuts and seeds

Eating nuts and seeds on a regular basis is associated with lower total cholesterol level for better heart health (7). Nuts and seeds contain beneficial fats such as heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Since these healthy fats are sensitive to oxygen and heat, keep them in the shell or store in your refrigerator. 

Successful bulk shopping 

A successful bulk shopping experience takes a bit of planning. The upfront expense of bulk purchases might be more than you intended to spend, so you may need to budget to ensure you have sufficient funds to comfortably cover the initial cost. Take a look at the "per unit/ounce" section on the price tag to compare product prices.  

Taking inventory of your kitchen and how much of the bulk products you use will help save money and prevent foods from spoiling. A great method to do this is to store items in jars or tight seal containers and use an erasable marker or sticker to track how much you eat. To keep foods fresh and safe, indicate when you purchased and stored them. 

Try this healthy, environmentally conscious 7-Day Climatarian Meal Plan to kickstart your nutritious, cost-effective grocery shopping experience!

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.

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