Best 10 Bulk Bin Buys to Help Reduce Plastic Waste
One of the most common environmental problems we have today is the growing amount of single-use plastic used everyday. Take one look in your shopping cart or pantry and you’ll quickly see why! Many of the items you’ll find at the grocery store come packaged in these disposable plastics.
Luckily, there is an easy way to reduce the amount of plastic you’re using by shopping in the bulk bin section. Many grocery stores now offer bulk bins filled with various ingredients where you can bring your own containers (such as a mason jars or reusable cloth bags) and fill up on your favorite pantry staples.
Read below for some of the best, plant-based items you should be picking up from the bulk bin section to help reduce your plastic packaging waste!
1. Gluten-Free Grains
Gluten-free grains are the perfect base for easy plant-based meals at home. Buying them in bulk allows you to try different varieties such as millet or buckwheat and see which ones are your favorites. These grains are also packed with benefits as many are loaded with antioxidants and benefit your heart health.
Packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein, nuts are a perfect pantry staple since they are versatile and can be used so many healthy recipes. Whether eaten plain as a snack or blended up for homemade nut milk, this bulk bin find is always good to have on hand.
Eating seeds can be a great way to increase your daily fiber and plant-based protein intake. There are also a wide variety of seeds to choose from such as chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Try adding them to salads for a little bit of crunch or simply mix them up together for an easy, healthy trail mix.
Oats are a pantry staple that can be used for quick breakfasts that are packed with fiber and antioxidants. The high levels of soluble fiber are what helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating a bowl. Buying oats in bulk also means you can use them in several different preparations from oatmeal to granola or you can even use them to make oat flour for healthy, gluten-free baked goods.
Using spices in your cooking is a wonderful way to add more flavor and nutrition to your food. Stock up on varieties like turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties and give flavor to dishes like curries or drinks such as turmeric-ginger tea.
Lentils are a part of the pulses family and are perfect for quick weeknight meals as they don’t need a long pre-soak before cooking like most varieties of dried beans require. It’s also helpful to understand the differences between the varieties as they are best used in certain types of dishes. For instance, use red lentils in soups and purees and save green, French or brown lentils for dishes like salads or uses where they should remain whole.
7. Beans & Legumes
If you’re looking to add more B vitamins or plant-based protein into your diet, you’ll want to stock up on dried beans and legumes the next time you stop by the bulk bin aisle. Often, a poorly designed plant-based diet can be lacking in B vitamins since many meat based sources of the vitamin are eliminated. Beans, however, can help replace that void as they are high in B vitamins. Try picking up dried chickpeas so you can skip the pre-made hummus and make your own from scratch!
8. Olive Oil
Many grocery stores or food co-ops offer the option to purchase high quality olive oils in bulk. Olive oil is a key ingredient in many dishes such as homemade salad dressings, marinades or to saute vegetables like in this Basic Vegetable Soup recipe. Olive oil is not only versatile but it is also healthy since it is packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats which are good for your heart health.
9. Herbal Teas
Looking to incorporate a healthful drink into your daily routine? Look no further than herbal teas for a cup that’s packed with benefits and tastes delicious. Either pick up a premade blend or buy the ingredients for this Berry-Fennel-Ginger Herbal Tea which is packed with antioxidants and can help your digestion.
10. Nut Butter
In the bulk bin aisle you will often find a machine to blend your own nut butters from the nuts contained within the bulk bins. Nut butters are a great way to add healthy fats to several dishes such as smoothies, dressings and even soups. In addition to healthy, unsaturated fats, nut butters provide a whole range of nutrients such as Vitamins E and B6, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Blending your own nut butter also ensures that it does not contain any added sugars like many of the pre-made versions contain.
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