How to eat organic without breaking the bank
You don't have to empty out your bank account to buy organic groceries.
Plenty of people will tell you how important eating properly can be and how organic foods will positively impact your health and life.
Understanding organic is a great place to start. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, while organic meat and dairy products are cultivated without antibiotics or growth hormones. After shopping around the grocery store, you may find that the cost of an organic lifestyle is intimidating.
If you are willing to do some research, along with some creative shopping and cooking, it is possible to experience the health benefits of organic foods without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for eating well and spending wisely.
1. Do the research
Going to your usual grocery store and stocking up on only the organic products may not be the best way to go organic. It’s a good idea to try some lower-end stores or budget chains that offer green brands for less. Investigate some organic associations and organizations in your community by typing the name of your state and “organic” into a search engine -- farmers' markets and other great options may reveal themselves. Consider checking over and re-working your food budget. If you want to prioritize eating organic, you may have to cut back in other ways -- such as trying a meatless Monday or dining out less. Then use that savings toward buying the organic foods.
2. Join a co-op or grow your own
Locally grown food means you will be eating what is in season. This ensures the food is at its best in terms of flavor and nutrition. Through volunteer time or a monthly cost, you can join a member-owned business that provides groceries and products to participants. Most foods at a community agriculture program, co-op or buying club are organic and come from local family farms. To go that extra step, you could try planting your own seeds and start to grow food yourself. Begin small and build from there. If the cost of processed foods, such as organic cakes or cookies, seems too high, you could even try making some of your favorite items from scratch.
3. Buy in bulk, embrace the freeze
An economical way to have produce at a reasonable price year-round is to freeze products and use them as needed. From kitchen staples like butter and cheese, to local produce you are saving for out-of-season times, it is great to buy in bulk or double recipes and freeze leftovers. As a tip -- it’s a good idea to eat frozen foods within six months, so be sure to store properly and eat within the allocated time.
4. Shop the sales
As with any other type of shopping, checking for coupons and special promotions can help you save big. Check the websites and social media pages for your favorite companies and visit various organic coupon sites. Consider buying house brands as any food with the “organic” seal on its label goes through the same certification process, even without the brand name.
5. Mix and match, ease your way in
Ideally, every item you and your family eat would be free of harmful chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. However, making a sudden and complete switch can leave you with wasted food and wasted money. Whatever you eat the most of is where you want to start. Try picking a product or two that you really notice a difference in taste and start organic with those items. Priorities fall with dairy and meat first, to genetically modified crops, then the “dirty dozen” produce, to eggs all the way to tea, coffee, herbs, spices and chocolate.
The strict standards that certify organic foods may affect your grocery bill, but the benefits to your body may make it worth re-working your budget. Try employing the above tips so you eat right without overspending.
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