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Benefit from the biggest cost savings by purchasing these items in bulk.

Jamie Vespa MS, RD
September 29, 2017

If you’re not yet shopping in the bulk bin aisle for whole grains, nuts, and seeds, allow me to point you in the direction of the nearest row of translucent bins. Not only is buying in bulk generally cheaper than buying the pre-packaged, labeled versions of the exact same items, it’s better for the environment and it allows you to get as much or as little as you want. I’m looking at you, homemade granola that calls for five types of dried fruit and the elusive shelled pistachio.

The cost savings from buying in bulk has never been lost on us, but when we actually crunched the numbers we were shocked to see just how much there was to save. Items like rolled oats, brown rice, and lentils are downright cheap, whether you buy them pre-packaged or in bulk. However, some of the more pricey whole grains like quinoa can be drastically cheaper when scooped out of a bulk bin. Here are the top-five biggest bulk bin deals:

Flaxseed meal — save $2.00 per pound

Add an omega-3 boost to a variety of dishes with this super-versatile ingredient. Flaxseed meal is pre-ground and works beautifully as a thickener or binder in vegan recipes, as well as a gluten-free breadcrumb sub for breaded fish and meatloaf.

Flaxseeds – save $2.50 per pound

Since your body can’t digest the seeds whole, it’s best to grind these heart-healthy seeds in your coffee grinder or food processor before adding to baked goods, cereal, or oatmeal.

Quinoa – save $3.00 per pound

High in protein and fiber, quinoa is a quick-cooking whole grain with a subtle nutty flavor and extensive versatility. Enjoy it in a casserole, grain bowl, or in a vegetarian burger patty.

White sesame seeds — save $3.50 per pound

Popular in many Asian dishes, sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate crunch to whatever you’re making. These powerhouse seeds also provide calcium, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. And perhaps the best news is they work in both savory and sweet applications.

Chia seeds – save $4.00 per pound

These tiny but mighty seeds are an excellent source of fiber (about 10 grams per ounce) and protein, and are one of the richest plant sources of α-linoleic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). Because they have a mild, nutty flavor, chia seeds can be added to just about anything, from energy bites to chicken fingers.