Organic food, though proven beyond doubt to be much healthier than its chemical-imbued counterparts, can be quite merciless on your wallet. But not anymore. Find out how going organic without going broke is much easier than you think.
“More and more parents choose organic foods primarily because of their desire to provide healthful options for their children.”
― Christine Bushway, CEO and Executive Director, Organic Trade Association
Go green! Eat organic! Premium quality natural food! Ecologically clean! 100% Organic. These are just a few of the labels that beckon us to the ‘organic foods’ aisle to help us feel better about ourselves, knowing that we’re eating only foods that are grown and/or bred completely naturally, right from scratch. Then we look at the price tag and do the following: sigh to ourselves, do some rapid math to rearrange our grocery list, and settle for something that may not necessarily be top quality. In fact, we end up buying something far more unhealthy to save a few bucks. While it is not a crime to want to save money, believe it or not, there are better ways to bring down the cost of the grocery list, even with organic foods. NutriNeat tells you how to go organic without overspending. Be warned, they require a decent amount of work and resourcefulness. So, be prepared to put all your time management, resistance, and calculating skills to task.
Save Up on Meats!
Let’s all just politely agree that we love meat. We simply cannot imagine our meals without the juicy, tender, protein-packed goodness of organic meat that absorbs the flavor and nutrients much better than processed ones. And we simply ignore the fact that meats take up a lion’s share in the grocery list. Not anymore. We tell you how you can cut down on your expenses and yet enjoy meat in your diet.
● The best, and probably a tad inconvenient for some, is to buy your meat directly from the farmer instead of from a butcher or a store. Like produce, you’re more likely to get it cheaper from them.
● If that is not an option, then as far as poultry is concerned, buy whole packed birds instead of parts. So, instead of buying that pack of boneless chicken breast (because it’s so much more convenient), buy the whole bird from the store and get it chopped up and cleaned by your butcher. The cost is probably going to be lower.
● As far as other meats are concerned, it would do you a whole lot of good to measure your portions and buy only how much is required. For instance, the recommended value of meat intake in one meal for an adult is 3oz. Calculate this for every person you’re buying meat for and buy only that much. While leftovers are great fun, letting meat sit too long even in the freezer also reduces its nutrients. Plus, it has two more bonuses: you save money and can use it to buy more fresh produce AND you’ll be eating fresh meat more often.
● This is probably not going to go down well with many, but considering alternatives to meat can help reduce your organic food bill by a lot, and we mean A LOT. There are a lot of vegetarian options like legumes, pulses, veggies, soy, etc., that you can explore. They are packed with nutrients and don’t taste half bad either. Don’t just jump into a vegetarian diet; gradually reduce the number of days that you eat meat. There are loads of delectable vegetarian recipes that you can try your hand at and get healthier while you’re at it.
Save Up on Produce!
Organic produce is awesome. It’s chemical-free. It looks better. It tastes better. It is healthier. And there are some nifty ways in which you can enjoy them without burning a hole in your pocket. For all the vegan and vegetarians out there, check out how shopping wisely can cut your grocery bill in almost half.
● The magic mantra to save on produce is to try as much as possible to buy in bulk. Items like grains, pastas, legumes, flour, nuts, chocolate, etc., have a longer shelf life and hence, buying bigger quantities makes more sense for two reasons: it saves money and also since these are fairly regular items in food, it’s not like they’ll just be sitting in the pantry.
● Tired of throwing fruits and veggies away because you bought more than could be eaten and they went bad? Ever thought about buying frozen fruit and veggies? No, they’re not as unhealthy as the other frozen ones because they haven’t been treated with chemicals. Make the freezer your best friend for organic budget shopping. Stock up on frozen fruits and veggies, increase their shelf life by that much more time, and prevent recurrent spoilage and in turn, wastage.
● The most practical way to save a lot of money on organic produce is to plan your meals according to what’s in season. That way, you don’t have to pay exorbitant amounts for something that isn’t even supposed to be there at that time of year. Prices of seasonal fruits and vegetables are obviously lower, and the quality is also far superior to the non-seasonal varieties.
● Another commonly recommended tip to save on organically grown fruits and vegetables is to shop at the local farmers’ market. When you do so, you can always demand to see the certificate accrediting that the produce is indeed organic (in case it is not already displayed). No organic farmer will refuse to show it.
● Laura Telford of the Canadian Organic Growers says―The best thing you can do is to develop a relationship with food and growing. She, just like most others, recommends that you grow your own food, at least whatever you can manage. Herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and other such easy-to-grow plants are something everyone can manage even on their windowsill. These being staples in everyday cooking can save you a lot of money.
The 5 Mega Savers!
Given here are additional tips that will help you save on organic food shopping irrespective of what you are buying.
● Instead of buying from a dedicated ‘nature’ foods store, check out your local supermarket for their own brand of organic food. In light of the rapidly increasing demand for organically produced food, many supermarket chains have introduced their own brands.
● There’s this weird miscon ception floating around that organic junk food is healthier than its chemically treated counterpart. There’s a reason it’s called junk food. It means it’s unhealthy. So, while you may think that eating a pack of potato chips daily because it’s ‘natural’ is healthy, well, it’s not. We’re not saying stop eating junk altogether, we’re saying eat in (less than) moderation. Do this and watch your grocery expenses as well as your tummy shrink.
● If you’re one who believes in buying only from a particular store or just a particular brand of food, keep your eye out for sales that these outlets hold. They have some sensational sales that you can exploit to suit your budget and meal plans. Register for alerts from them, so you’ll be informed beforehand and you can plan accordingly.
● Think cutting out discount coupons to save money is tacky? Think again. The amount of money you can save by using coupons for organic foods is phenomenal. Download them from merchant websites, cut them out of lifestyle or health and fitness magazines, register on a coupon website, do whatever you have to, but take full advantage of the coupons that outlets offer. You can save loads!
● Think it’s still going to be hard on your pocket or does nothing suggested so far seem doable? Here’s an idea: find like-minded people and join or form an organic buying group. Meet with grocery lists, and go shop in bulk. The prices will be lower, and you’ll all get what you need.
In conclusion, all we can say is that be flexible. Try to adapt to what’s available within your budget rather than striking necessary items off your list just to accommodate an expensive item. Try these things, and you’ll see that going organic is not as expensive as it is portrayed to be.