Eating organic is important. It’s also expensive. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make your produce selection healthier and more cost effective.
The first way to buy organic on a budget is by checking the frozen food aisle. Often you can get more food this way when you buy in bulk. Food also lasts longer and you can thaw it at any time you need. You can add these fruits and vegetables to smoothies, salads, dinner side dishes and more. Generally, fresh is better than frozen but, it’s important to buy foods harvested without harmful chemicals. So, as often as possible, stick to frozen organic over fresh conventional produce.
The “Dirty Dozen”
When buying fresh, focus on always buying the Dirty Dozen from the organic side of the store. The Dirty Dozen is a list that comes out every year which indicates the produce grown with the most pesticides and chemicals. In other words, it’s particularly important to buy organic when shopping for these fruits and vegetables. For instance, if spinach and apples are on your list this week, focus on buying these without pesticides. Some heavily-sprayed produce items often include things like tomatoes, lemons and lettuce. If you need to choose which organics are worth spending a little extra on, use this list as your guide. Should you need other produce items that aren’t on the list of top twelve, consider buying frozen organics or conventional for a cheaper option.
Another way to keep costs down is by buying seasonally. When out of season, different fruit and vegetables go up in price due to the lower supply. For example, if you need tomatoes out of season, see if there’s a frozen or canned variety with less pesticides and a lower price point.
When buying in season, it’s a good idea to check out local produce delivery boxes. These subscription services deliver fresh, in-season produce to your door every month. Organic, local and delicious, subscription boxes give you the amount of produce you need and you can usually set your price point. Since these are local and cut out the middle man, you end up paying less per food item than you would at the store. Even better, you support local agriculture while consuming fewer pesticides! If this isn’t an option in your area, check out your local farmer’s market.
Grow Your Own
If you’re really looking to make it cost effective, you can grow your own produce. Planting seeds and harvesting different fruits and vegetables depending on the climate you’re in helps keep you healthy and takes less of a toll on the environment. When you know the producer, you know how it was harvested. This is one of the best ways to cut costs while still eating the freshest, organic items available.
When shopping organic on a budget, there are so many ways for you to do so without spending your whole pay check. Try some of these tips during your next shopping trip and save on healthy food!
Paige Pichler is a writer, speaker, Project HEAL National Ambassador and yoga instructor. She writes about wellness, higher consciousness and health trends for a better life.