Guest Post: How to Eat Organic Foods on a Budget

Today’s post is written by Bridget Sandorford, a freelance writer and researcher for Culinaryschools.org, where recently she’s been researching best culinary schools. Here she takes a step back and examines how everyone can eat food that is both tasty and truthful. Thanks Bridget, for completing this investigation!

Choosing organic foods can help you to eat a healthier diet — one that’s fresh, seasonal, and free of harmful chemicals. However, purchasing organic foods can add up quickly, putting the healthy benefits out of reach for some people on a budget.

You don’t have to spend a small fortune every time you go to the grocery store in order to eat organic. You can enjoy a delicious and organic diet even on a budget. Here’s how:

Get Coupons

Most coupons are for packaged and processed foods — foods you want to avoid when you’re trying to eat a clean diet. However, there are occasionally coupons for organic foods, whether packaged or produce. Keep an eye out for organic coupons in your local grocer’s flyer, or go online to find coupons to scan from your smart phone or print off. You can visit the manufacturers’ sites directly, or you can browse major coupon sites for savings.

Shop at a Farmer’s Market

Your local farmer’s market is one of the best places to buy organic produce on a budget. Since you are buying your produce direct from the farmer, you pay fewer overhead costs and end up with a lower bottom line. Plus, you’ll be supporting local businesses while also purchasing foods that are grown in season.

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Join a Co-Op

If you don’t like spending your Saturday morning shopping for food, or if you just don’t have a farmer’s market in your area, you can get the same benefits by joining an organic food co-op. You pay a monthly or quarterly fee to get a regular shipment of an assortment of produce from a local farm. Again, you know you’ll be getting fresh, healthy foods, and you’ll be supporting your local farming community.

Grow a Garden

If you’re the DIY type, you can save a lot of money and exercise strict quality control over your food by simply growing it yourself. Depending on the size of your green thumb, you can either grow a few herbs in a container garden or you can plant rows of produce in a garden the size of your backyard. The more you grow, the less you have to buy and the less you have to worry about what has been sprayed on your produce.

Only Buy the Dirty Dozen

There are certain foods that are heavily treated with pesticides and other chemicals in the growing process, and these are known as “The Dirty Dozen.” If your budget for buying organic food is limited, focus on buying at least The Dirty Dozen organic. The Dirty Dozen include:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Pears

Simply focusing on buying safe versions of only those foods that are at highest risk can help you cut down on your grocery bill while also eating a safe and healthy diet.

Organic foods may be a bit more expensive than conventionally grown foods, but eating them can help you to protect your health and reduce illness, saving you money in medical costs over the long run. If you feel that you aren’t able to eat organic because of the costs of these foods, you can use these strategies to buy the healthy foods you need while staying in budget.

How do you manage your food budget to accommodate buying organic foods? Share your tips in the comments!

Comments

  1. David says:

    Just one more reason to love Seattle: In order to simultaneously promote patronage of local producers and more healthful choices for consumers, the city matches food stamp dollars one-for-one. It doesn’t take too much rationalization for me to justify the purchase of organic heirloom tomatoes from the women who grew them and can explain every nuance of difference among the dozens of species on display when I’m paying $10 in food stamps for $20 worth of the finest examples of my favorite fruit! Thanks for the very helpful article, Bridget (and Ruthie)!

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