What? Save money shopping organic? Who knew it was possible!
Making the decision to eat organic foods can put a real strain on your family’s budget. The costly price of eating healthy has found many families in a predicament. Which foods should you buy organic? Where will you get the best bang for your buck?
Here are a few tips to help you keep your budget in check while choosing the right foods for your family.
1. Local farmers’ market. This is a must! You can get fresh organic eggs, fruits, veggies, milk, and sometimes meat, while at the same time, supporting your local farmers. The price tends to be less than the grocery store down the street. If you have to shop for eggs in the grocery store, then buy organic. I haven’t been sold on the “cage-free,” free-range,” or “all-natural” yet. I’m not confident that those terms are closely regulated. Therefore, if you are buying anything else than conventional, get organic.
2. Peel = save your money. Don’t spend the extra money on foods that have a skin that you’ll peel and toss. Foods such as avocados, grapefruit, oranges, or bananas are probably not the ones to break the budget by buying organic. Now apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, or blueberries are the ones that you’ll definitely want to buy certified organic.
3. White and refined = save your money. Instead of spending the extra money on organic white bread or rice, just purchase the regular brown rice or whole-grain breads. Splurge on organic fruits and meats rather than grains.
4. Save by buying store-brand organic. A lot of chain grocers are stocking the shelves with their own label of organics. Many of these big-box stores are partnering with local farmers who are pledging not to use growth hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics. The store-brand will typically cost less.
5. Organic chicken will cost less than organic red meat. When you plan your weekly meals, use more chicken than red meat. It’s not only healthier, but cheaper. Alternative options are hormone-free and grass-fed. However, don’t let the “all-natural” labels fool you. To help stretch your budget even further, buy the whole chicken. Roast the chicken, and use the meat for two or more meals, plus use the carcass to make stock.
6. Skip bagged lettuce and vegetables. You’ll pay more for having your lettuce washed and packaged ready to eat. For the same price or less, you can grab a whole head of organic lettuce, and you’ll get more for your money. If you have kids, they can help wash the greens and help you prepare your meal.
It’s not difficult to make healthier choices on wholesome food if you are willing to do a little bit of preparation. Remember that you are going to pay more for packaging and convenience; and oftentimes, organic is not more expensive than the items you are already purchasing. If you want to stretch your money further, try a meatless day and/or a breakfast for dinner once a week.