Best Diet Foods to Buy in Bulk
We understand your concerns, but buying in bulk can save you serious dough—if you do it right. Stick to healthy staples that you know you can't get enough of and you'll take the chore out of eating well — and losing weight. You'll not only have good-for-you foods on hand at all times, but also be on your way to saving major cash.
Anyone who has had a strawberry in winter knows firsthand that they taste best when they're in season at their ripest, sweetest and juiciest. And fresh berries are loaded with all sorts of health benefits; they're packed with polyphenols, natural chemicals with powerful properties, like the ability to stop fat from forming. A University of Michigan study even showed that rats fed blueberry powder had less abdominal fat (after a 90-day period) than rats who went sans berries for the same amount of time.
How To Store Them: And since fresh berries are good for your body all year long, but way more expensive when they're out of season, buy in bulk and freeze whatever you can't eat right away. You'll have a huge stash of sweet, good-for-you fruit on hand whenever a craving hits – and you won't have to add ice to your morning smoothies!
You might think nuts are a food to eat sparingly because they're full of fat, but many nuts found in the average supermarket, like these healthy nuts, are great for weight loss because of the nutrients and healthful fats they contain. Omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, for example, are both found in many tree nuts and have the ability to activate genes that improve insulin metabolism and actually reduce the overall fat your body stores.
How To Store Them: In addition to being amazingly good for you, nuts are often much cheaper to buy in bulk than in small quantities. If you leave them out at room temperature, they have a tendency to go rancid after a while, but they'll easily keep for weeks (or months) and still retain their delicious flavor and excellent nutritional properties stored in the fridge or freezer.
This healthy eating classic has a much better nutritional profile than its white counterpart, and it keeps almost indefinitely on the shelf. And there's several reasons this pantry staple is such a go-to among healthy eaters and dieters: it's loaded with B vitamins, a natural source of long-lasting energy; it boasts essential micronutrients like manganese, phosphorous, selenium and magnesium; and packs plenty of fiber, which can keep your blood sugar in check and cravings for junk food at bay.
How To Store It: Just make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it free of dust, insects and other unhealthy stuff that can work its way into your dry goods if not properly sealed.
Gluten-free, full of soluble fiber and downright cheap, whole oats are an item you should have around the house all the time. Use them for baking, as a healthier filler for meatloaf or crab cakes, or for overnight oatmeal. However you put them to use, they'll do their amazing work of keeping your heart healthy, reducing your risk of diabetes and lowering blood pressure—which is why we've named them one of our 7 Healthiest Foods on the Planet. In addition to being an overall health superstar, whole oats are a great food to include in any healthy weight loss diet as they have also been shown to increase hormones in the body that help to control appetite.
How To Store Them: Oats will last for years when stored on your pantry shelf at room temperature. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container to keep out any bugs, dust, or other unwanted contaminants.
Though cooked and used like a grain, quinoa is a really a seed—a super seed that's one of the only plant sources of all essential amino acids. Use it as a side dish for lean meats and veggies, in soups or cold salads in place of pasta, or as part of a main dish as an excellent vegetarian source of protein. One cooked cup of quinoa has about 8 grams of protein—about the same as in a small piece of roast turkey! The complete protein found in this miracle seed will keep you full and satisfied longer, leaving you less likely to give in to the urge to snack or overeat throughout the day.
How To Store It: Like rice, uncooked quinoa lasts months on the shelf as long as stored in a dry place in an airtight container, making it a great item to buy in bulk — especially if you're trying to trim down.
Beans should be an essential item in any health-conscious person's pantry. And while the canned version can be loaded with extra sodium and other additives, dried beans have none of that unwanted junk, but all of the fiber and nutrients you need. Dried black beans make our list of the 8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day, mainly because they're so full of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve brain function. And whether you favor black beans or kidneys, favas, limas or lentils, you'll be making a good choice since all beans are high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat and calories.
How To Store Them: Keep your favorite varieties in the pantry at all times and buy in bulk to save even more money—they last ages when kept sealed and in a cool, dry place.
A great, all-purpose oil, extra-virgin olive oil can be used for cooking as well as fresh dishes like salads. Its versatility makes it an ideal health food; it's easy to reap the benefits when you can use it in almost any dish. And the health benefits of EVOO are numerous: it's touted for its high quantities of monounsaturated fats and ability to protect the body against debilitating diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer's, among other super powers.
How To Store It: Olive oil is also often sold in large bulk sizes, so if this is your go-to cooking oil, it's worth buying in large quantities—you'll save big bucks. Stash a large drum in your pantry and keep a small bottle near the stove for easy access; simply refill the small bottle whenever it runs low.
Like olive oil, its tropical cousin is sometimes sold in large sizes that can save you major dough. If you take advantage of its multitude of uses — it can be used for just about anything but deep frying, including as a moisturizer — you should definitely buy in bulk. It's also an oil that's so good for you, we've gone ahead and deemed it a "superfood." Like olive oil, though it is a fat, it's one of the healthier kinds of fats that has actually been shown to help people lose weight, not gain it. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a type of fat that converts into energy more easily than many other types of fat—meaning your body will burn it off rather than storing it around your waist.
How To Store It: Coconut oil is shelf stable—it will melt and become liquid at around 76 degrees Fahrenheit, but in both its liquid and solid states, it's fine just sitting in the pantry for up to 2 years as long as it's kept out of direct sunlight. Some people choose to refrigerate coconut oil, and that's fine, too—it will just be in its solid form when you go to measure and use it. If you want to be extra cautious about your cooking oil, we recommend transferring it to a glass or BPA-free plastic container to avoid the possibility of any unwanted chemical compounds leaching into the oil over time.
In many markets and butcher shops, certain cuts will go on sale for fantastically low prices—but only if you buy in bulk. Less fatty meat cuts like boneless, skinless chicken breasts are often more expensive than their fattier counterparts, like bone-in chicken thighs, so buying these healthier meats in bulk can save you big money.
How To Store Them: Of course, you won't eat bulk amounts of meat over the course of one or two meals. So, once you purchase, put only the meat you plan to cook immediately (within the next 24-36 hours) into the refrigerator. Everything else should be stored in the freezer. To keep meat fresh and freezer-burn free as long as possible, wrap individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap, then place wrapped portions in plastic bags with a tight seal, like a zippered top.
If you like to indulge in red meat from time to time, but aren't sure which cuts of beef are the best for your diet plan, check out our 5 Best Cuts of Beef for Weight Loss.
Pre-ground spices lose their flavor and freshness after about 6 months to a year — and you know that nutmeg has been sitting in your pantry for at least that long — but whole spices have a much longer shelf life. They also boost the flavor of your food without adding fat, calories, sugars, or salt — things you might be avoiding if you're trying to lose weight. And some spices have added benefits: cinnamon can help control blood pressure and prevent diabetes, and turmeric is loaded with curcumin, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation in the body. That's why we've included these two seasonings in our list of the 5 Healthiest Spices on the Planet!
How To Store Them: So buy whole spices in bulk, invest in a spice grinder (you can get a quality model that will last you years for a mere $20), and grind spices as needed to save money and add big taste to your favorite foods, without adding any unhealthy stuff. To keep spices fresh, make sure to store them in airtight containers and keep them in a cool, dry place.