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Rice and Beans
Staple Foods
A Meal Planning and Budget Strategy

Basing your meal plans around one or more staples simplifies shopping and takes advantage of lower prices for bulk purchases. Buying most food in bulk can cost too much upfront and be hard to store, but most of us can buy one key thing in bulk. The key is eating the staple every day or nearly, and buying it in quantity at a low unit price.


Major Staples


Bread (pizza, sandwiches, rolls, toast, French toast) noodles, pastry, stuffing, dumplings, ravioli/pierogi, pancakes, tortillas, flatbreads, roti, biscuits


Spaghetti, mac n cheese, noodle bowls, soups, casseroles, salads


Stir-fries, beans and rice, rice puddings, rice cakes, risotto, casseroles, soups, salads


Baked, fried, mashed, roasted, french fries, chips, hash browns, potato pancakes, boiled, scalloped, casseroles, stews, soup, salads

Corn Meal

Cornbread, cornmeal mush, polenta, hush puppies, tortillas, corn fritters, casseroles

Less common grains

Oats, barley, kasha (buckwheat)

Other items to buy in bulk

Beans, peanut butter, eggs, cheese, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooking oil, yeast




Smart Food Service in Burlington

25 lbs cornmeal $14, Fifty lbs unbleached flour $18, Fifty lbs long grain rice $17, Ten lbs elbow macaroni $11, Sixty lbs russet potatoes $10


In-store or will send bulk non-perishables at decent prices in two days. Orders of $75+ get free shipping. Under $75 $3 shipping charge per item. Actual order: 25lbs flour $8, Sixty lbs long grain rice $33.00, 8 pack spaghetti $12, 8 cans each black beans, garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes 3 x $8 = $24. Total cost $77  


Sells bulk supplies, free shipping with prime, or larger orders (but watch for some sellers with higher shipping costs.)

Potato Shed Burlington for 50lb boxes of potatoes at great prices

The Marketplace

25 lbs unbleached flour $14   Any of their bulk items can be special ordered in 20 or 25 pounds at a 10% discount on the listed price.  Items include cornmeal, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, long grain rice, oats.

The San Juan Food Coop

There are bulk bins with discounts for bringing your own container and for more than two pounds. Large bulk items 25 on 50lb can be ordered from UNFI or Azure through the coop with a 20% mark-up over wholesale.  Sample wholesale prices UNFI: 25lbs white flour $16, white rice 25 lbs $21-22, 25lbs black beans $23. 


25lbs cornmeal $25, white flour 25lbs $22, macaroni 10lbs $20. The coop has written instructions on how to order.

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