DISCOVER: BUYING IN BULK


It wasn’t until about a couple of years back that I started to buy in bulk. It wasn’t until we moved together that I started shopping at the bulk section more seriously, aside from granola and "yogurt" covered almonds. Maybe because I had more time to cook and I was really looking to start cooking healthier food.

And one of the first things that come to my mind when you talk about healthier food, is that more often than not, it is unprocessed food, and a lot of the food offered in the bulk section is unprocessed. That is not to say that all of it is is unprocessed. I've seen cereals (like froot loops), powder gravy mixes and candy in there, so it is just a matter of reading the ingredient lists. 

At the beginning I would only buy a few things like oatmeal and quinoa from the bulk section, but nowadays I get everything from legumes, spices, spaghetti, honey, rice, seeds and flours and many other things. 

There are two very good reasons to start buying in bulk. One, it is usually cheaper, and two, it helps reduce the amount of trash you produce. Think all of the packaging that you won’t be buying and throwing in the trash later. I have some plastic bags that I have been washing and reusing over and over again, and I plan to purchase some muslin bags later. Ideally I would bring my glass jars to the store and have the cashier deduct the weight of the jar, but 

WHERE TO START?

It depends how crazy you want to go, but I would suggest you don't stress about buying matchy matchy containers from the get go. I kept it simple and started by repurposing spaghetti sauce jars, and for the items I use more often, I bought some bigger glass containers to keep in the countertop in the kitchen, which serve for decoration as well.

Then, as I started to buy more and more stuff in bulk, I started repurposing other glass containers in different shapes and sizes. Now, when I have to buy something in a container, I try to avoid plastic as much as I can and buy glass. This has been the easiest and cheapest way for me to do it, which has made this whole buying in bulk thing way more fun. 

As for tags, You could buy a label maker... or you could use tape and a marker. I find this more convenient and I keep the roll of tape and a marker in the pantry, that way as I'm putting stuff away I make whatever labels I need. It is also easier to remove the tape if you want to change labels and move on with your life. Ain't nobody got time for making labels (I made enough labels in school already, I'm over it). 

WHERE CAN YOU BUY IN BULK?

Luckily, a lot of grocery stores have a bulk section nowadays so it is pretty convenient and you don’t have to be traveling around to 2-3 stores to get your stuff. There are some stores that only carry the basics, but I'm sure you'll find one near you that carries almost everything in bulk. Here I’m sharing some of the most common stores with a bulk section that you can find around the U.S.

WINCO   

This is the store I usually go to. It took some time getting used to the store if I'm honest, but once I discovered all of what they have to offer in bulk, it is worth the trip. They also have honey, all the spices you could think of, as well as olive and avocado oil. The downside is that they don't have a lot of organic items, but I still prefer to buy here rather than anywhere else.

FRED MEYER/KROGER

This used to be my go to store and it does have a good variety at the bulk aisle, including some items I haven't found anywhere else, like spirulina and a wide variety of teas. They do have some organic options in here which is good.

CENTRAL MARKET

This has to be my favorite grocery store ever. Back when I lived in Dallas, there was one really close to my apartment that I would visit quite frequently when I wanted to indulge in some extra healthy stuff (Whole foods intimidates me). Even though I didn't buy all of my food here I remember them having a great selection in their bulk section. The baked goods here are to die for, but this is not a topic for this post. 

WHOLE FOODS 

The one near me doesn't have a lot of products, but has a variety of organic rice, beans, dried fruits, granolas, and some seeds. Don't quote me on this but I think other stores located in bigger areas have a better selection.

SPROUTS

I used to go to this store a long time ago but didn't buy a lot of bulk products, mainly because I still lived at home and I didn't cook at the time. I remember them having a good selection in their bulk section. Can't remember if it was all organic or not though. 


NEW SEASONS MARKET

I have found amaranth, which apparently is very difficult to find up here. They also carry a good selection of loose leaf tea and, although I'm not sure if all of it is organic or not. I will go back to take a closer look and see what other seeds and nuts they have.



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