The benefits of organic food are numerous; a higher level of welfare for the animals (short of not eating them at all, of course) and chemical free foods, grown in nutrient rich soil. What could be more important than the food that keeps you alive? On the other hand, there is a real economic barrier which can keep many consumers from buying organic foods.
Here are some tips for eating organic on a budget.
AT HOME AND IN THE KITCHEN
* Stay organised. Plan out your meals for the week.
* Buy organic foods that are on special and in season.
* Budget – Write out a weekly and monthly budget to help you keep track of your spending.
* Make it yourself – Organic muesli bars, kale chips, smoothies, juices are so much cheaper than store-bought.
* Eat less but better quality – go for the organic meat but consider having it only a couple of times a week.
USE YOUR FREEZER
* Buy local produce when in season and freeze to save for out of season.
* Double recipes and freeze leftovers, this works well for soups and stews.
* Reduce meat and dairy consumption if you cannot afford organic – One way to do this is to be vegan before 6pm.
* Reduce amount of organic meat used by substituting half the portion with organic beans.
* Buy a whole organic chicken for less, vs. just the breast, legs or wings which are more expensive. You can use the carcass to make your own chicken broth.
* Use the “Dirty Dozen” lists available on ewg.org to help you navigate which products to buy organic. For example, if you have a choice between more expensive organic red capsicum and less expensive conventional asparagus – choose the asparagus. Asparagus naturally repel pests allowing it to be grown with minimal pesticides.
* Do not buy pre-washed and ready to eat fruits and veggies, as they can cost twice as much.
* Eat out only twice a week – eating organic at home is significantly less expensive than eating at restaurants.
BUY IN BULK
* Always buy packaged staples on sale.
* Buy unpackaged foods from bulk dispensers.
* Bring measuring cups with you to the grocery store if you are buying from bulk containers. That way you can get exactly the amount you need for a specific recipe and you won’t be paying for extra.
* Buy smaller organic spice packets or jars, old spices lose their medicinal qualities so it is smarter to buy in smaller quantities.
* Buy the whole animal and freeze the portions you don’t use.
* Find out what foods are in season and buy those in bulk, as they are significantly cheaper.
* Join an organic co-op or start one with your neighbours, friends or family and buy large quantities at a discount.
* Local food can be significantly cheaper than food brought in from interstate or overseas.
* Be the last person to leave the farmer’s market. Farmers will likely cut their prices at the end of the day, so they do not have to take their produce back to the farm.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
* Plant an herb pot in your kitchen or somewhere convenient so you can always have fresh herbs on hand. Organic herbs are one of the most overpriced items at the grocery store.
* Get a couple of chickens and hatch your own eggs.