Organic Food on a Budget

Organic food on a budget

Why Eat Organic?

Organic food is quite simply more nutritious, more ethical, and safer.  It is higher in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, flavenoids, and organic food is grown in nutrient-dense soil with sustainable practices.  It doesn’t contain harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, flavour enhancers, artificial sweeteners, genetically-engineering, and the like.  It is also fair trade and ethically produced.

One of the things to consider when weighing up the cost of eating organic food, is the actual cost in eating conventional food, as the true cost is measured in terms of every part of the chain – the cultivation, the effects on farmers and local economies, the manufacture, the distribution, and the waste.  We are not only responsible for what we put in our bodies and discard at the end of the day, but also for the additional load we have contributed to the environment via our purchasing.  Something to think about. :)

If you have to compromise somewhere, buy the spray-free alternatives or visit the EWG’s list, ‘Clean 15’, for the things you can buy with the lowest pesticide residues (although these still won’t be as nutrient dense as their organic counterparts).

eggs smallAs you are deciding how you can afford to eat organic food, consider that by making this choice you putting the highest quality nutrients into your body and ensuring the best health for you and that of your family.  It may mean making some budget cuts elsewhere, but it is a worthy investment if you can take steps towards greater health.

For our family, we very rarely rent movies or eat out, and have started get better about being more creative with our gift-giving – which has been a little beyond our means at times!  It also means we simply go without things sometimes.  But we have chosen to make organic food part of our family’s quest towards what we believe is responsible stewardship of our bodies and the environment.

Where To Start

First things first – you’ll need to do some research.  Find (preferably) local sources for fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other sources for your pantry goods, many of which can be found online.

It may be stating the obvious a bit, but I’ll say it anyway: you’ll also want to write up a detailed budget worksheet, and see how much you can put towards your groceries each week.  We looked at Dave Ramsay’s helpful resources 10 years ago and still use his suggestions in how we manage our finances.

Turkish market

A beautiful spread of fresh produce at a farmers market

Sourcing Food

  • Find your local farmers markets – turn market day into a fun family day.  Get to know your local growers.  They’re often a super source of wisdom and advice.
  • Find a good fruit and vege box supplier online if you can, which contain seasonable varieties of fruit and/or vegetables. You’ll probably still need to buy the more expensive items that aren’t usually in the boxes.
  • Join a co-op or start one.
  • Start a garden, or at the very least, plant herbs such as parsley, coriander, mint and sage. You could do these in planter box off the window sill.

Buying Tips

  • Buy in bulk (eg. flour, nuts, legumes)
  • Avoid buying processed snacks and simply make your own.  It just takes some creativity.
  • Buy specialty items online (usually for much cheaper) for things such as salt, spices, cacao products, bee products, sea vegetables, etc.
  • Ditch buying the organic versions of processed foods, such as boxed cereals and bars as these are not usually nutritious anyway and can quickly bump up your grocery bill.
  • If you can’t get organic meat, eggs and dairy, always buy grass-fed versions.

Preparing and storing food

  • Make bone broths from chicken frames and beef bones that are left over from your meals.  You could also buy them for next to nothing from your meat supplier.  Freeze tons of the stuff!
  • Buy fresh produce in season, and freeze, ferment, make simple sauces to add to meals and freeze these also.
  • Source simple and nutritious recipes for your meals, print, and store in your recipe folder
  • Create meal plans, so you are only shopping for exactly what you need that week.  If you have some room in the budget, stock up on pantry items.
  • Don’t throw anything out – I use all my leftovers somehow.  Vegetables can be diced and added with eggs and cheese for a frittata; small amounts of meat can be turned into stirfries and rice dishes; ratatouille can be blended and turned into a sauce.  Try putting your ingredients into your search engine and see what you come up with.

You might like to consider making a gradual transition into making the switch to organic food.

One of the things I noticed with us, is that I tried replacing ‘apples for apples’ in the beginning, until eventually (after a few years) our eating habits themselves changed and as a result our overall grocery bill dropped.

Did I miss anything?  Comment below!

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5 thoughts on “Organic Food on a Budget

  1. pinkbekah

    I can usually convince my husband to get organic or better quality food when I tell him he can spend the money now on delicious food or later on yucky medical bills. It can be more costly now, but I truly believe it saves money in the long run when you are healthy and disease free.

    Reply

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