Eating Organic on a Budget
There are so many benefits to bringing fresh, organic foods into your daily diet that it is difficult to list them all. Following an organic diet decreases the toxins not only in our bodies, but the exposure of these substances to the environment and farm workers as well. Selecting meat from animals that are raised in their natural surroundings, treated in an ethical manner and free from synthetic chemicals provides us with a more nutritious and overall healthy protein source.
There can be one drawback, though. Organic food is usually more expensive than other food choices. For those of us on limited budgets who are interested in following a natural diet, there are a few simple steps to follow that can make this easier on the pocketbook.
1. Less Meat
Most people eat far more meat that is needed for good health. By limiting your intake, such as introducing ‘Meatless Monday’ or ‘Veggie Pizza Thursday’ to your household, money saved can be used to buying higher cost quality meats.
2. Buy in bulk
Not only does buying in bulk save money, but it’s easy to do since most grocery stores and natural food stores have created aisles for this type of food purchase. Load up on nuts, grains, pastas, flours and dried fruits.
3. Be Smart
Buying organic fruit and vegetables can be risky if the food is not eaten quickly. It’s certainly not saving money if you need to throw a good amount of food away. Buy what you need for a few days and if you aren’t going to use them before they spoil, then cut and freeze in airtight bags. By chopping up peaches and berries for freezing, you have nutritious toppings for ice cream or you can toss some in to a fruit smoothie when the mood strikes. Chop up any veggies and use in soups or stews then freeze. Frozen cherry tomatoes can be added to simmering spaghetti sauce. A little planning and preparation can go a long way to maximize your food budget.
4. Buy Local
Your local farmer’s market is one of the best ways to support your community. Learn to focus on fruits and vegetables that are ‘in season’ where you live. It’s also a good way to ask the farmers about their growing methods and their use of chemical agents.
5. Concentrate on Grains and Legumes
These healthy foods are low in cost and loaded with nutrients. Find new ways to serve rice, as there are so many great recipes available and your whole family will enjoy the variety. Legumes (beans) can be served alongside almost any meal and are high in fiber and antioxidants.