Hunger is an incredibly complex issue. This is at the forefront of my thinking as we are currently in the annual SNAP challenge. My family and I are not participating this year as we have in the past. With the intense adolescent caloric intake happening in my home, I do not have the capacity for planning the appropriate protein density on $22.50 a day. Doesn’t that statement on it’s own speak to the complexity of hunger?
But how can one rapidly connect the dots between teenage boys bulking up their masculine builds and a tight food budget? By bulking up the pantry. One thing quickly apparent on the SNAP challenge or on any sort of a food allowance is that in order to eat high quality foods, one can quickly lapse through a daily $$ allocation on a $3 pound of butter. While there are some foods available in bulk, the concept can and should expand.
Here are a few reasons why buying in bulk makes sense:
1. Food costs can be driven down by buying in bulk. When you find yourself purchasing minimum quantities of nutritional yeast in order to stay within a budget, you’re often spending more per ounce.
2. Buying in bulk cuts down on packaging waste. Many things in the bulk section come with minimal packaging and can be stored without refrigeration.
3. You can buy the quantity that you want. While we sometimes associate bulk with massive quantities, the opposite is often true. Need 4 tablespoons of sliced almonds? That’s all you have to get.
4. The space in the kitchen is used more efficiently because you were able to get a small quantity rather than a huge sack of oats.
5. When you are able to buy smaller quantities, it’s possible to try more variety rather than being saddled with a year-long routine of cumin seeds.
The downside of bulk purchases is that individuals might purchase more than really needed leading to food spoilage and the fact that bulk products sometimes come with pantry moths regardless of the store cleanliness. Our photographer recommends storing bulk items in the freezer for a few days before transferring them into airtight containers.
In our home, legumes, grains, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and some spices come from the bulk section of our grocery unless we’ve been able to procure them locally. Coffee and tea are also often great value in bulk.
Island Lentil Dish
- 6 oz. brown lentils, cooked
- 6 oz. brown rice, cooked
- 6 oz. celery, chopped
- 6 oz. cauliflower, cut in bite-sized pieces
- 3 Tbs. sunflower oil
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt to taste
Preheat over to 375, Lightly grease a baking dish with sunflower oil. Combine all ingredients. Toss and mix well. Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy this fast, simple dinner while using some of your bulk purchases.