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Buying in bulk

April 10, 2013
By Katie Wilhelmi , Marshall Independent

Are you ready to eat healthier, eat more natural foods and save money? Spring is the perfect time to "bulk up." Bulk foods are not packed for long-term storage in bags or boxes but are unpackaged foods sold in large bins. The overall benefits of bulk can be summarized in three key points:

Economic - Buying in bulk can save money. You can purchase the amount you need. Experiment with new products by trying a small amount. You also save money because you are not paying for fancy labels or expensive packaging and advertising.

Health - Buying in bulk encourages healthful eating by offering a broad selection of natural and organic products that can be purchased in the exact quantity desired. Bulk bins are replenished and rotated often to keep ingredients fresh. Keep in mind you can cook bulk items, such as whole-grains or beans, and freeze extra for future use. This saves time day-to-day and keeps a ready supply of health-promoting foods in the convenience of your freezer.

Environment - Eliminating packaging reduces carbon footprints and lessens the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills. Buying in bulk also streamlines the transportation needed to deliver goods to market.

Bulk basics

What can I buy in bulk?

Some of the items you can buy in bulk include whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, trail mixes, snacks and coffee.

How do I shop in bulk?

Fill the provided bag with the amount of the item you want.

Write the PLU number from the bin on the twist tie for each bag, respectively.

Take to checkout as usual. The cashier will scan your item with the rest of your purchases.

Ask for assistance if needed.

You can make a big difference in your family's budget and health and your impact on the environment, simply by buying bulk foods whenever possible

Lisa's Granola

Serves 20 (1/2 cup each)

Active time: 20 minutes

Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

All you need

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raw, unsalted pepitas

1/2 cup maple syrup

6 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a roasting pan or large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine oats, almonds, walnuts and pepitas in a large bowl. Whisk maple syrup, oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.

3. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly and evenly browned and starting to dry out, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool completely in the pan before serving or storing.

To make ahead: Store airtight in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks.

Nutrition facts per serving: 267 calories; 16g fat (2g sat, 7g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 28g carbohydrate; 8g added sugars; 7g protein; 4g fiber; 60mg sodium; 222mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Magnesium (32% daily value). Carbohydrate servings: 2

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the Marshall Hy-Vee Food Store.



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