Most people think eating organic is automatically ultra expensive. Health food stores are typically pricier than the regular supermarket and organic produce usually has a higher price per pound. Fortunately, there are several tricks you can use in order to eat organic on a budget. Here are 6 ways to go organic without breaking the bank.
1) Get More of Your Protein From Plants, Not Animals-
These are usually the most expensive items that people buy in general, but especially if they are organic; and they really should be since organic animal products are guaranteed to not contain added hormones, antibiotics, or to be fed with GMO food., Instead of buying expensive organic meats for protein, get cheaper organic protein from sources like beans and organic eggs. Dried organic beans are extremely inexpensive, usually under $2 for what will turn into about 4 servings when cooked.
2) Search the Freezer Section-
Always check out the frozen aisle. Organic fruits and vegetables tend to be cheaper in frozen varieties and have the same nutrient benefits; For example, you can find organic frozen strawberries in the middle of winter for $2.50, while the unfrozen kind are $6. Buying organic frozen produce also gives you more options for having different foods year round, since fresh produce won’t be available when it’s not in season.
3) When Buying Fresh, Get the Fruits & Vegetables that Are In Season-
When produce is in season, there is a lot of that food available all at once. This means farmers & stores need to get rid of it quickly before it goes bad, so the price drops a lot. Look up what foods are in season and try to stick with buying mostly those. Bonus that organic, in-season produce will taste much better since it’s at its peak of ripeness.
4) Buy Locally Grown Food-
Eating organically, seasonally and locally are closely tied. An easy way to do both is to shop at farmers’ markets or join CSA groups (Community Sponsored Agriculture groups). CSAs are groups of organic local farmers who allow you to pay them upfront for groceries they will later grow and deliver right to you each week. They tend to be reasonably priced and the food is always as fresh as you can possibly get it! It’s also a cool way to support local hard-working farmers and even get to meet the people who grow your food.
5) Ditch The Big Brand, Boxed Items-
Stores like Whole Foods and Stop and Shop make a lot of their own organic foods that are less expensive than big name brands. Look for those and try them out to see if they are just as good as the brand names; they probably are. Also seek out bulk bins; common bulk bin items include organic nuts, grains, seeds, dried fruit, and fresh ground peanut butter. The food from bulk bins are almost always cheaper than boxed organic brands.
6) Get to Know “The Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 12”
These lists describe which varieties of fruits and vegetables tend to be sprayed with the most pesticides, versus which kinds tend to be sprayed with the least. This will tell you the kinds of fruits and vegetables that are worth the organic splurge and which you can save your money on. For easy reference, download a copy of the wallet guide to bring shopping with you. That can be found on the Environmental Working Group’s website here http://www.ewg.org.
12 Most Contaminated- “Dirty Dozen”
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
12 Least Contaminated- “Clean 12”
- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit