So, you have decided to nourish yourself and start eating whole foods and food products that are organic and free of pesticides and toxins. Yay! I’m so happy that you have made this important healthy decision! I understand this is a big step for most people and for most of the families out there, you will find that it can, unfortunately, be more expensive. But don’t be discouraged! There are ways to help with the grocery budget!
Here are some tips for the budget conscious when selecting whole foods:
Use coupons when available
Natural Grocers sores hand out manufacturer’s coupon books. Check weekly ads at local grocery stores. Sign up or check for coupon sites such as “Saving Naturally” and “Organic Deals.”
Purchase the book “Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet – All on $5 a Day or Less” by Linda Watson. The author also has a website called “Cook for Good” with lots of menu ideas.
- Plan meals for the week around foods on sale or foods in-season when they are more affordable.
- Use the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15” list when needed. You can find those lists at Rodale’s Organic Life website.
Try not to create waste.
- Use all of the produce parts: For example, if buying beets use the beet greens, or when using carrots, use the carrot tops.
- Learn how to store foods accordingly to keep them fresh longer.
- Create ways to use produce and leftovers before they are inedible.
- Buy in bulk and store: Buy local produce when in season and freeze or can the produce.
- Cook in batches and store extra for later use in the week or freeze for later. For example, when making oatmeal, make batches and use with different toppings and mix-ins later in the week. Other examples of things you can batch-prepare are vegetable stock, hummus, etc.
- Buy local and get to know your farmer. You can usually find cheaper produce from your local farmers who choose not to certify organic but farm without pesticides or GMOs. This also applies to eggs and dairy as well. Find a dairy farmer who raises animals humanely, sustainably, and without any hormones, or use of GMO feed for animals. Find local farms at your local farmers market or online at Localharvest.org.
- Make it yourself for less money. Many items typically purchased in the grocery store can be prepared at home for a substantial amount of less money. This may take some time and effort but is worth it. For example, expensive fermented items such as kombucha, ketchup, yogurt, kefir, and bread can easily be made at home.
Invest in quality equipment.
- Invest in good quality appliances which will save time and money. A pressure cooker can save quite a bit of time when cooking dry beans, which are much cheaper and healthier than canned beans. A slow cooker can help save time by allowing you to cook large batches at once, cook overnight or allow you time to do other things during a busy day.
- Use a dehydrator to make dried fruit snacks, and dried herbs.
Get more information.
For more information, please read “In 2016: How Real People on Real Budgets Can Afford Organic Food.”