Eating Organic on a Budget

Eating Organic on a Budget

It seems now a days that more and more people are going organic when it comes to their food. If you have ever bought anything organic, you know that it can cost 50% to 100% more than regular foods. The cost of food is rising, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have an organic diet. It’s also no secret that non-organic food can contain cancer causing hormones, immunity destroying antibiotics, and dangerous pesticides. We understand that it may be impossible to eat everything organic all of the time, but we have dug deep to find some tips on how you can eat organic on a budget.

Organic food includes foods grown by organic farming, and those produced according to certain production standards. For crops, this usually means they were grown without any use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge. It also means they were  processed without the use of ionizing radiation or food additives. When speaking about animals, it means they were raised without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones.

Why should you buy organic?

  • Avoid the chemicals
  • Get more nutrients
  • Tastes better
  • Avoid GMOs
  • Avoid hormones, antibiotics and other drugs
  • Support local farms
  • Keep your children’s future safe

How to eat organic on a budget

Make the right choices

  • When it comes to organic foods, you should know that buying meat and dairy (eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter etc.) is the most important. We say this because there is a combined risk of all of the harmful things we mentioned above. If you must only buy some things organic, you should not skimp here, spend the money on organic meat and dairy. 
  • If you can, reduce the amount of meat and dairy you are consuming and try substituting with something like organic beans or lentils. This will make your dairy and meat last a lot longer.
  • Stay away from any veggies and fruits that are pre-washed. These can cost up to twice as much compared to if you wash them yourself.
  • Instead of buying organic chicken breasts, legs, and wings separately, which can be more expensive by the pound, buy a whole organic chicken. This way, once you are done with it you can even use the carcus to make your own chicken broth.
  • Check out the “Dirty Dozen” from the Environmental Working Group; it will help you decide which products are a high priority to buy organic and which products are not. For example, if you must decide between more expensive organic red peppers and less expensive regular asparagus –you should choose the asparagus because it naturally wards off pests allowing it to be grown with minimal pesticides. 
  • Give up the conventional Starbucks and buy organic coffee and tea.
  • Keep eating out minimal. This will save you huge amounts of money, allowing you to spend more on organic foods you can cook at home.

BUY IN BULK

  • Check your local flyers every week and be on the look out for any deals going on in your grocery store. When you see something you like, go in and purchase as many as they will allow you to. Make sure it’s a staple or something you really love, we don’t want anything to go to waste.
  • Buy your pre-packaged staples when they go on sale.
  • Buy food out of bulk dispensers when possible. You can get everything from lentils, to nuts, to dried fruits and cereal.
  • You can purchase a whole animal and freeze the parts you don’t use. You might want to look into contacting a local farmer, sometimes there are groups of people looking for others to split an animal. 
  • Avoid buying full-sized packaged chocolate bars, and instead purchase a few pieces in the bulk section. You can get organic dried fruit or chocolate covered almonds. 
  • Do a little research and find out which foods are in season, and then buy them in bulk… they will be way cheaper!

BUY LOCAL

  • Check out your local organic food stores, they may be more affordable than food that is brought it from across the country. 
  • Keep an eye out for farmers markets in your area. You should frequent them, get to know the farmers, and you may be able to negotiate prices later on.
  • Be one of the last people to leave the market, farmers will often cut their prices to get rid of anything that may be remaining.

Grow your own food

  • Start with herbs. Herbs are the most overpriced organic item you can buy in the grocery store, and this way, you will always have them on hand. Remember to buy non-GMO seeds like these.
  • The Organic Consumers Association has a bunch of great tips on growing organic food right in your own home year round. You can check them out here.
  • Check out this amazing toolkit on urban farming and how you can do it.
  • If you have a little bit of property you might even want to consider purchasing a couple of chickens to lay eggs. You may even produce enough to sell and make a buck or two!

Buying organic can burn a hole in your pocket quickly, but it doesn’t have to! We hope these tips and money-saving ideas help you and your family eat well and nutritiously without breaking the bank. Hey, anything is possible right?

For more posts from daily mom on eating organic check these out: Buying organic: Costco editionWhy you need to be part of the organic revolution

Photo credits: 2 ilovebutter 3 Anna 4 Phil Roeder 5 Amy Vervoort

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Lauren Hardy

Lauren is a new mom living in Toronto, Canada. When she is not at home being a mom, she is working full time as a model, playing competitive baseball, and working on her personal blog. In her "spare" time, Lauren is aspiring to become a childbirth educator. You can find her at Lauren Hardy Blog

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