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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 17, 2014

Healthy Bites: Bulk up

By DEE SANDQUIST, Hy-Vee dietitian | Apr 18, 2013

Are you ready to eat healthier, eat more natural foods and save money? Spring is the perfect time to “bulk up.” Bulk foods are not packed for long-term storage in bags or boxes, but are unpackaged foods sold in large bins.

The overall benefits of bulk can be summarized in three key points:

• Economic — Buying in bulk can save money. You can purchase the amount you need. Experiment with new products by trying a small amount. You also save money because you are not paying for fancy labels or expensive packaging and advertising.

• Health — Buying in bulk encourages healthful eating by offering a broad selection of natural and organic products that can be purchased in the exact quantity desired. Bulk bins are replenished and rotated often to keep ingredients fresh. Keep in mind you can cook bulk items, such as whole-grains or beans, and freeze extra for future use.This saves time day-to-day and keeps a ready supply of health-promoting foods in the convenience of your freezer.

• Environment — Eliminating packaging reduces carbon footprints and lessens the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills. Buying in bulk also streamlines the transportation needed to deliver goods to market.

Bulk Basics

What can I buy in bulk?

Some of the items you can buy in bulk include legumes (assorted dry beans, peas and lentils), whole grains, flour, pasta, cereals, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, snacks and treats.

How do I shop in bulk?

• Fill the provided bag with the amount of the item you want.

• Set the bag on the scale to weigh. Enter the number you see on the bulk bin. Verify the price and amount. Print price sticker and attach to bulk item.

• Take to checkout as usual. The cashier will scan your item with the rest of your purchases.

• Ask for assistance if needed.

You can make a big difference in your family’s budget and health and your impact on the environment, simply by buying bulk foods whenever possible.

Quinoa with Latin Flavors

Serves 6 (2/3 cup each).

Active time: 30 minutes; Total time: 45 minutes

All you need:

1 cup quinoa

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14 ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/4 cup pepitas, toasted

3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

All you do

1. Toast quinoa in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it crackles and becomes aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chiles and garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Add pepitas, cilantro, scallions, lime juice and salt to the quinoa; mix gently and fluff with a fork.

Nutrition facts per serving: 171 calories; 6g fat (1g sat, 2g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 24g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 3g fiber; 331mg sodium; 363mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value), Magnesium (23% dv), Iron (20% dv). Carbohydrate servings: 2

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Talk to a dietitian for more information. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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