It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to eat healthy! Here are 5 savvy tips for eating organic on a budget…
Eating healthy can be a challenge sometimes, especially in today’s world, when we are constantly bombarded with ads and conflicting information on what is “healthy” to eat, and what’s not. Low-fat, low-carb, Vegan, Keto, gluten-free… It’s almost mind-boggling at times to try to figure out what one should really be eating!
But one thing that most people understand is that organic foods are almost certainly healthier for you than those raised with chemical inputs. Not only are organic foods produced without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and petroleum-based fertilizers, but they may also contain more nutrients due to being grown in healthier soil.
However, eating organic can be expensive if you aren’t smart about how you shop. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on fresh, healthy organic foods.
To help you make wiser choices and prioritize which foods to buy organic, you may wish to consult Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” lists.
Tip #1: Check out sales
Most stores have apps for this! I like to look through all my local stores’ circulars to see which has the best deals on organic foods. Next, I choose recipes and meals for the week based on what’s on sale. I also make note of non-perishable and frozen items that have deeper discounts and are worth stocking up on.
Tip #2: Create a shopping list
After you’ve written out your meal plan for the week, go through and create your shopping list! This is where most of my budget belt-tightening happens. Typically, once I see all the ingredients laid out, I’m able to go through my cabinets and eliminate spices I already have or cut back on recipes that might be a bit more involved than I’m willing to spend.
Though it can be tricky at first, meal planning will save you time and money…
Tip #3: Eat Less Meat
Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are usually the most expensive foods to buy organic. Consider eating them less often and finding alternatives, such as beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, tofu, and tempeh. There are a number of potential health benefits to cutting back on meat, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (4). Plus, the internet is chock full of delicious, meat-free recipes (like this one).
Tip #4: Buy Frozen Produce
Not only does frozen produce last longer, studies show there are not many drawbacks to choosing frozen produce over fresh. While it varies between different types of fruits and veggies, choosing produce that’s flash-frozen at peak ripeness may even help preserve nutrient density compared to fresh fruit (5).
Tip #5: Shop Locally and in Season
This can be one of the best ways to save on organic foods! If you have access to a local farmer’s market, shopping directly from the source can save you money. Supporting local business is always a good thing, and local farmers are often more willing to haggle on leftover produce to clear their inventory – especially if you go a bit later near closing time. Participating in a community-supported agriculture program can also be a great way to save money on fresh, locally grown organic foods.