Best Foods to Buy In Bulk

Bulk food

How to Meal Prep | Foods with Long Shelf-Life | Foods to Buy in Bulk | Cheap Meal Prep Ideas | Meal Prep Recipes | Meal Prep Containers | Meal Prep Services | Best Freezers

Have you ever come home tired after a long day only to realize your fridge is bare and your pantry empty? In those moments it can be easy to compromise and eat something less healthy for convenience—because it is so much easier to grab fast food than it is to go grocery shopping, then come back and cook. If you've ever faced this dilemma, buying in bulk could be a good option for you.

Having a pantry full of healthy food is one of the keys to a successful diet plan. Whether you're tracking your macros for training and recovery, trying to add muscle, or trying to lose weight, having healthy options on hand will help you stick to your plan. That's why we've come up with a guide to outline the best foods to buy in bulk, plus a few you should avoid.

What is Buying in Bulk?

Buying in bulk is buying a large quantity of an item all at once. People buy in bulk for a variety of reasons, however, two of the most common reasons are to save money and for meal prep. If you're looking to save money, the price tag upfront may surprise you. It can be easy to spend a lot of money at one time when you're buying in bulk, but the money is saved in the long run because your trips to the grocery store are less frequent.

If you're buying food in bulk for meal prep, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to make sure you don't overbuy and wind up wasting food, money, and time.

How to Buy Food in Bulk

  • Understand your diet. There are certain foods that are best to buy in bulk and certain foods that you shouldn't buy in bulk. Think of it in terms of macronutrients. The best foods to buy in bulk will typically fall in the carb category. These are foods like rice, pasta, beans, etc. All of these are cheap foods to buy in bulk, and they can be stored for a longer period of time, so buying them in bulk makes sense. However, foods that fall in the protein and fat categories are typically perishable, so unless you're meal prepping for multiple people, it may not make sense to buy these in bulk.
  • Make a plan. Have you ever heard the saying that you should never go grocery shopping hungry? Similarly, you probably shouldn't go into bulk shopping without a plan. Whether you're in a physical store or shopping online, you don't want to overbuy. If you know which foods you're looking for, the experience will be much more efficient and you can avoid wasting money and time.
  • Storage. While many dry foods and others you'll buy in bulk have a longer shelf life than perishable items, they can still go bad. Having the right bulk food storage containers can help you avoid your items spoiling quicker than they should.

Where Should I Buy Food in Bulk?

  • Online. Many people do their grocery shopping online, and bulk food is available at some of the same websites you may already be using. Sam's Club, Amazon, and Walmart all have options for bulk shopping. There are also delivery services now that you can use for buying items in bulk.
  • Retail. Other than the obvious stores like Costco, Sam's Club, and other chain stores, you can probably find a restaurant supply store in your area that will allow you to buy food in bulk.

At this point, you're probably ready to go shopping. To help you fill out your list, here are some of the best bulk foods and some of the worst.

Best Foods to Buy in Bulk

1. Oats


Oats are great to keep on hand in your pantry. These complex carbs are not only good for fueling your body, but they're also versatile. If you're not a fan of oatmeal, that's OK. You can use oats in plenty of other ways, including in smoothies, to make homemade power bars, or blend them into flour to replace wheat.


2. Rice

Similar to oats, rice is a complex carb that your body can use for energy. Brown rice, white rice, and jasmine rice are a staple for most diets, especially when you're trying to bulk up or fuel your body for regular training and races.


3. Canned Foods

Canned foods are a broad category and you can find a variety of foods in this form. Canned foods can include fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, and many others. The best part about canned food is that it has a very long shelf life, sometimes up to 18 months when stored in a cool, dry place, so most people won't have to worry about buying too much bulk canned food.


4. Dried Beans


Beans are a staple item in a healthy diet because they're packed with macronutrients while being cheap and easy to prepare. Beans are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbs. If you're not regularly eating beans as part of your diet plan, they are a great option to try buying in bulk.


5. Frozen Fruit

We know freezer space can be limited, but we highly recommend making space for frozen fruit. Frozen berries and other fruit make a great topping for things like yogurt or salad, and they can be used as ingredients in smoothies or baking recipes. Frozen fruit is a versatile bulk food that is definitely worth the space.


6. Frozen Meat

Speaking of the freezer, you may not know that the USDA says anything frozen at zero degrees or lower is safe to eat indefinitely. Frozen is the one form of meat you are safe to buy in bulk. Frozen meat takes up a lot of space, but if you have enough room for storage, buying frozen meat in bulk can save a lot of money over time.


7. Dried Pasta


Pasta is another staple complex carb for any macro-conscious diet. Buying pasta in bulk can save you a lot of time and money as it is a cheap and easy ingredient for a variety of dishes.


8. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another versatile and shelf-stable ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is packed full of protein and healthy fat to help fuel your training or keep you full throughout the day.


9. Supplements

If you take supplements like protein powder, pre-workout, energy drinks, greens powder, or vitamins, buying these items in bulk is a much cheaper option than buying small quantities. Supplements typically come in containers that are sealed, which means they can be stored for a long time.


10. Protein Bars

Protein bars

Protein bars are another great grocery item to buy in bulk. Typically wrapped individually, protein bars have a long shelf life, and buying them in bulk brings down your cost per unit significantly. Whether you use protein bars as a snack, a meal replacement, or another supplement, check out what bulk options are available.


Worst Foods to Buy in Bulk

1. Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. However, buying them in bulk is not particularly beneficial for most people because they tend to go bad quickly when not consumed. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables in smaller amounts more frequently is a much better option than buying in bulk.

2. Dairy

Dairy is another item with a short shelf life, even when it is refrigerated. Buying your dairy in bulk can lead to a lot of waste if you're not consuming it at a rapid pace.

3. Meat

Unless the meat is frozen or canned, you should probably avoid buying it in bulk. Many bulk stores sell meat, like chicken breast, in bulk. It is usually marketed for specific occasions like a backyard cookout, but unless you're going to be cooking for a group, it is probably best to avoid buying meat in bulk.

4. Pre-Cooked Food

Pre-cooked foods are tempting, especially if you're busy. Heating something up is far easier than cooking it yourself, and can save you a lot of meal prep time. However, pre-cooked foods are similar to leftovers in that you should probably eat them within 3-4 days. After that small window, bacteria begins to build, especially if you're reheating food and then cooling it down again.

How to Meal Prep | Foods with Long Shelf-Life | Foods to Buy in Bulk | Cheap Meal Prep Ideas | Meal Prep Recipes | Meal Prep Containers | Meal Prep Services | Best Freezers

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