Eating organic food doesn’t have to be so expensive that it’s out of reach on a tight budget. It’s true that food grown organically is typically more expensive when purchased at health food stores or specialty areas of the supermarket.
However, with some clever planning, it’s possible to eat organic food as a daily lifestyle choice even if you don’t have a lot of money to put toward a huge grocery budget each week. Not only will you enjoy the natural taste more, but your health may just improve by eating healthier foods.
Here are 10 ways to provide organic food for your family on a budget:
1. Grow your own
Even the smallest of gardens can be used to grow food. Even if you live in an urban area, you can start with a simple, container herb or vegetable garden. By growing your own, you have complete control over the process and can ensure there are no pesticides involved. You will also have a ready supply of fruit, vegetables, and herbs on demand, which will reduce your shopping bill.
2. Cook from fresh and freeze
Fresh, organic foods are always the best, but they don’t always last very long. The simple solution is to cook more than is needed for that day and freeze the rest. You will have a decent supply of already prepared food that simply needs microwaving.
3. Buy what’s in season
Instead of buying whatever you fancy, focus on what is in season. Purchasing what’s in season ensures the produce hasn’t been transported halfway across the world. The shorter the distance of transport, the cheaper the food. If you run into a good supply of a particular vegetable or fruit, you can stock up on it and freeze some for later.
4. Rethink supermarkets
Supermarket prices can be higher for organic foods with restricted variety from which to choose. To ensure you get the best deals, become familiar with the supermarkets in your area so that you compare prices for different items. You are likely to get the best selection when you purchase some items from the supermarket and others from the local organic shop. Fortunately, the demand for organically grown food is growing and many supermarkets are increasing their selections, so you may find you are able to get most items from your local supermarket relatively cheap.
5. Make your own “convenience foods”
Processed, convenience foods as well as beauty products are more expensive, particularly when purchasing the organic versions. This can discourage many people from choosing organic because it can just be too costly. However, with some simple recipes and smart organization, it is possible to make your own organic versions of your favorite foods and beauty products.
6. Be organized
Organization is the key to living on a budget and organic living is no different. While convenience foods are cheap and easy, they are rarely organic. It’s easier to stick to your budget if you plan meals ahead for the week. Additionally, plan when you will need fast food items and ensure you have sufficient leftovers in the freezer that you can just heat up in the microwave for quick meals.
7. Know the ‘clean foods’
Not all non-organic foods are subjected to the same amount of pesticides and harmful chemicals during the growing process. If you can only afford to purchase some organic fruits and vegetables, knowing which foods are typically ‘clean’ can help you save money while still eating healthy. For instance, apples, celery, peppers, grapes, and spinach are proven to have the highest exposure to pesticides, so you’d want to choose the organic version of these for safety reasons. In contrast, foods such as onions, pineapple, cabbage, and sweet corn are least likely to have been exposed to pesticides. You could justify not buying organic versions of these foods.
8. Reduce consumption of meats and cheeses
Meat and cheese is generally expensive anyway and the organic versions are even more so. If you simply reduce the amount of meats and cheeses you buy, you can still enjoy organic while saving money. You can substitute nutritional protein in your recipes with plant based alternatives which are cheaper.
9. Buy in bulk
Purchasing anything in bulk is always cheaper than buying small portions. You will need adequate storage for large amounts of foods, but it will be worth it. If you choose to buy in bulk, focus on staple ingredients such as pasta, grains and pulses. These will keep for a long time and provide a way to eat organically much cheaper.
10. Reuse food waste
A smart way to get the most out of food waste is to compost your kitchen scraps. Composting will provide you with rich fertilizer which means you will spend less money on such products if you garden. Also, it ensures that you make the most use of all your food items.
While it may require a bit more commitment and planning to eat organic food every day, especially if you’re on a tight budget, but it certainly is worth it in many ways.