Eating Organic on a Budget
It’s no secret that buying organic foods is more costly than conventionally farmed foods. Ultimately I think that in this day and age most people would prefer to eat organic.. But, like myself, they may have gone on a shopping trip (or two) with the intention of buying organic items, only to realize that this process is not in their budget. It’s very easy to become discouraged and give up trying when it seems impossible.. . Here’s the good news.. ready? You CAN make minor adjustments.. and little by little make a gradual transition, familiarize yourself with prices and products, and eventually fit the organic diet in to your budget. You may be thinking “Oh great. I opened this post because I thought you were gong to make it easy” and I dont blame you. But if you are serious about the desire to live chemical, pesticide and GMO free (or nearly free) than you have to start somewhere! Here are a few tips for getting started including how to prioritize your organic purchases when you have to pick and choose.
I cannot express the fun and convenience of purchasing through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) enough. Once a week you receive a box of fresh, local, organic, seasonal produce. You can take the family to the farm to retrieve it which serves as an enjoyable learning experience for everyone. Then you get to create some weekly menu items surrounding its contents. For instance, our weekly pick up is Saturdays.. so Saturday afternoon we pick up our produce, bring it home and wash/prep and store the items. From there we create a grocery list for any remaining items needed to complete our meals. Sundays are designated for our shopping trip, by then we have a plan in mind of what is needed and are able to pick the best store to visit to affordably finish off the supplies needed. Anything that you are unable to work into a meal can be used to create juice drinks and smoothies! Farmers markets are another great option that also provide a fun experience for everyone. Choose the option that is most suiting to your needs.
Buy in Bulk (take your measuring cups with you)
Forget the packaged varieties of organic quinoa, organic rice, flour, chia seeds, you name it! You can save quite a bit of money by buying your staples in bulk. Bring along your measuring cups and meal plan so that you know exactly what you need. Organic quinoa can cost up to 5 dollars already packaged, while the last time I purchased it in bulk it was $2.50 a lb. Granola, sweet treats, oatmeal, almost all of your packaged items are available in bulk. With a little pre-planning you can save a pretty penny here.
For meany years when I heard the term DIY the first thing I thought was “too time consuming”. As a momma of two young girls I thought – no way, I will never have time… Then I got very serious about buying organic and was unable to buy the $5 bottle of organic ranch dressing or the $4 croutons. So I started thinking about some recipes.. You can purchase organic hummus for 4 to 5 dollars each, or, you can buy a can of organic garbanzo beans (Trader Joe’s organic garbanzo beans are $1.19) and throw them in the food processor with some lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil, all of which I have in my kitchen anyways, and make my own. It takes about 5 minutes.. then I know exactly what is going in to my food and I get to make it my favorite flavor! The same goes for dressings, marinades, guacamole and salsa, croutons, and even pita chips! So before you purchase any pre-made food items, always read the label and always think to yourself, can I make this instead? I promise you it will save you money in the long run.
Affordable Organic Products
Find the most affordable organic product lines in your area. Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, 365 brand, and Cadia are a few of the most cost efficient options I have found. Once you have a meal plan for the week you will have an idea of what items you will need. Do a search on coupons and see if you can find any to match the items you need in the organic variety, go to the site http://www.organicdeals.com/ and search for deals there.
Dairy, meat and eggs are among the most important to buy organic. Try searching at http://www.eatwild.com/ for a farm near you to buy direct from. Also go to https://www.facebook.com/Nutiva and like this page to receive their newsfeed that includes some awesome deals (especially on Tuesdays).
At the very least, if you truly prefer organics for you and your family but are just having a hard time making it happen. Choose a few items on your typical grocery list and make a switch.. and little by little find out what works for you. Click on the following list for reference when making choices on where to invest your organic dollars (courtesy of Food Babe)