Cost-Effective Foods With a Long Shelf Life

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A busy life means even less time for cooking. Which means that sometimes, even though you hate it, you end up wasting too much food and end up resenting yourself for throwing it in the trash. Here are some cost-effective foods that will keep for a reasonable while.

Sometimes in life, a lot of things come up and shrink your budget too much and still, you don’t have much time to cook at home. So, on the one hand, you don’t have much to spend, and on the other, you get home and find that the food you bought has gone bad and you’ve wasted it (happened to me more than once, unfortunately). That is a nasty place to be.

But until things look up, there is something you could do to make everything more efficient. Here’s an idea: you can buy cost-effective foods that also last longer in your pantry or refrigerator. You do this and you’ll also save some time since you won’t have to go to the grocery store as often.

Cost-Effective Foods with a Long Shelf Life
Carrots keep for 3-4 months in your refrigerator and you can use them for many dishes.

7 cost-effective foods to have in your kitchen

1. Rice

This amazing grain isn’t that expensive and it also lasts for a long time in your pantry, kept in a cool and dry place. White rice lasts for about 4-5 years, while brown rice for about 6-8 months. But you can freeze it and it will be good almost forever. It’s also very filling, so you won’t feel that itching craving feeling for a while. Moreover, you can do so many things with it! You can use it in Asian-inspired dishes, you can make pudding with it, add it to soups for more nutritional value, and so much more.

2. Frozen veggies

If you’re looking for cost-effective foods that last for a long time, look not much further than frozen vegetables. You always need more veggies in your diet, but the problem is that fresh ones tend to go bad really quickly. The good news is that frozen vegetables are as healthy as fresh ones, but last way longer. They also cost less than produce. So it’s a win on all fronts.

Cost-Effective Foods with a Long Shelf Life
Frozen veggies are just as healthy as fresh ones. So be sure to stock your freezer.

3. Potatoes

This is one of the cheapest items out there and it’s also very versatile. You can roast the potatoes, turn them into fries, bake them, add them to soups, make a salad out of them and the list goes on and on. They can last for a few months if you learn how to store them the best possible way. First of all, inspect them for soft spots or sprouts or any other type of damage. Then put them in a paper bags so that they have room to breathe. No plastic for this! Keep them in a cool, humid and dark place.

4. Legumes

Beans are not very expensive and they give you so many things your body needs: protein, fiber, and minerals. You can buy them dried or canned. Though keep in mind that canned beans may have too much salt or preservatives. Also, it’s much cheaper to buy dried beans and you can make a lot of food with them. Use them in salads or mash them for a nice spread. Beans last in the pantry for about a year, which is huge! Also, try lentils and chickpeas.

Cost-Effective Foods with a Long Shelf Life
You can make so many foods with wonderful chickpeas. Try them boiled or fried.

5. Flour

It’s so easy to put a meal together making a dough with flour, some water, and some eggs, and that’s just a basic dough. A pound comes pretty cheap and you can keep it in the freezer for months and it will be perfect for use. But even if you decide to keep it in the pantry, it will last between 6 and 8 months. Think of the pizza, pie, pancakes, waffles, and all of the other delicious things you can make with it.

6. Oatmeal

This wonderful grain has a really good shelf life, about 2-3 years for quick oats and 1-2 years for instant oats and steel cut oats. So you know you have plenty of time to cook with them. And there are so many things to be cooked. Starting with some wonderful oatmeal for your breakfast, full of fruit and honey, you can change up every once in a while.

You can also use them in other things, like cookies, pancakes, banana bread, pie crust and smoothies, just to name a few options.

Cost-Effective Foods with a Long Shelf Life
Having plenty of oatmeal on hand helps with organizing for breakfast for a long while.


7. Carrots

This nutritious veggie is amazing to buy and it will last for 3-4 months in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. All you have to do is cut off the leafy parts because these tend to drain the carrots of their moisture. Other than that, enjoy this vitamin A and beta-carotene powerhouse. You can have them raw as a snack, roast them with potatoes in the oven, grate them for some coleslaw, add them to soups and stocks, and of course, they can work as a dessert too in a carrot cake.

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